Legislative Report

Legislative Report By Rep. H. Junior Engbrecht It is hard to believe that the 1999 legislative session is one-half finished so far as the time is concerned. However, I do not believe that more than one-fourth to one-third of the work load has been finished.

One of the bills that was hotly debated on the House floor was to repeal the taxes that railroads are charged. I voted against the bill. It did fail. However, I look for it to be revived, amended and it will pass. I remember too well what happened to our state roads in the 1970s when many railroads ceased to operate. I do not want this to happen again. We are still paying for the problems caused.

Another hotly debated bill was written to raise the speed limit of a loaded truck going from a harvest field to a nearby elevator, within a 50-mile radius of the field, from 40 miles per hour to 50. They attempted to amend the bill to read: 100 mile radius to only 5 percent overload. We killed the amendments and passed it out in its original form. It is now over in the Senate for consideration.

The way things look at this time we may see a three cent increase in gas taxes and an increase of no more than $12 on the highest price license plate scaled down to about $2 on a motorcycle. However, there are a lot of legislators that do not want any license plate fee increases. This legislation will need a two-thirds majority. It may be very difficult to pass in the Senate. Remember, the state and counties need the extra dollars for repair of our roads.

SB 5, an act to establish the value added subfund and provide for its funding and disbursement, has cleared the Senate and has been referred to the House State Affairs. Three million dollars would be made available from the REDI fund for grants or loans to agriculture projects for development, feasibility studies and marketing. It has strong support from the governor and the legislature.

HB 1140 is a bill to return the tax certain manufactured homes paid to school districts as "other revenue." This apparently was taken away on the last day of the 1998 session. It has to be frustrating when a funding source is in place and all of a sudden it is dropped.

I need your input. Call 773-3851 in Pierre or 648-3635 on weekends and we will discuss your concerns.

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