Legislative Report by Rep. H. Junior Engbrecht The first week of the 1999 Legislative Session got off to a quick start with the governor delivering his State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 13. It was a short speech that outlined many of the programs and policies that the governor would like the Legislature to pursue during this session.
The governor's speech centered on the need for the state to provide our children with the opportunities they need to excel and learn in South Dakota. The governor called for an expanded system of day care in South Dakota that would allow children as young as 4-years-old to enter a structured and nurturing day care program that would give the educational opportunities and experiences that will allow them to learn and excel.
The governor also called upon the Legislature to strengthen laws that protect our children from sexual predators and pedophiles. In the words of the governor we must treat them like the animals they are!
The governor also explained the problems that overweight trucks were causing for South Dakota's roads and highways. It is a real problem that must be addressed because we do not have the money to keep up with the repairs that these overweight trucks are causing to our roads. The governor said that a video would be made available to truckers and the public to explain the need for stricter enforcement of the highway weight limits.
The governor tackled the issue of wages by proposing a wage commission to get the facts on the status of wages in South Dakota and the reasons why wages are low in some areas of the state. This commission will help the governor and local communities to fine tune and concentrate their economic developement efforts on bringing in businesses that will raise wages and benefit the community.
The governor updated the Legislature as to the status of the state's plans to handle the potential problems caused by the Year 2000 computer problem. Governor Janklow reported that as of July 1, 1999 the state would have fixed the Year 2000 problem in all of its computer systems. The governor also will create a Year 2000 committee to monitor the progress of private companies and essential public services as they prepare for the Year 2000. This commission will make regular reports to the people so that they can prepare for any problems.
This year the Legislature will tackle many issues that will directly benefit your daily life and I would like you to contact me with your concerns on any bill or issue that you feel is important. I was elected to represent all of the people of my district and I want you to feel that my door is always open to you. You may contact me at the House lobby at 773-3851 or at my home number of 648-3635 on weekends.
I hope to see many of you when I return home from the session on the weekends. Please stop me if you see me and say hello and talk about the issues.
I would also like to take this time to thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you and your family in the State Legislature.
Wishing you all the best in '99.