Legislative Thoughts by Rep. H. Junior Engbrecht Week two of the 1999 session has seen many legislators scrambling to get signatures on proposed bills. Historically there are many frivolous bills and apparently this session will be no different. The committee workload has been relatively light but will become very heavy this week and will continue heavy until the last week of session.
Most bills acted on by the House or the Senate have been agency bills. The governor will begin filing his bills this week.
A few of the bills that may be of interest to you may be the funding of a new roof for the Dome, drivers education, a gas tax to fund state highway projects, vehicle license plate fee increase to fund county, city and township road and bridge work, midwifery, real estate assessments, video lottery, rate reduction of inheritance tax, etc. Many do not have a number at this time, but will after they are filed. When all is said and done the biggest issue at the end of the session will be how the funds available are to be divided.
As the days go by committee meetings will become more hectic (I serve on Health and Human Services and Local Government committees); and afternoon sessions of the House more grueling. More pressure will come from the lobbyists and hopefully more constituents will call about their concerns. There will be a legislative cracker barrel in Vermillion on Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 and on Feb. 6 in Marion. If you would like one in your town please call 773-3851 in Pierre and ask for me or 648-3635 at my home on weekends. I will appreciate hearing from you.