Notes from Pierre

Notes from Pierre By Rep. Donna Schafer We are back in session and it looks like it will be busy. The new legislators, including our new Rep. Jamie Boomgarden, are in the swing of things and will do well. I am very glad to be back and working for you. If you ever need to reach me you may do that by calling me at 773-3851, by fax, 773-6806, or by e-mail rep.schafer@state.

The main piece of news for this week, according to Gov. Rounds, is that revenues are up by 4.7 percent and that ongoing expenses are up 4.3 percent. Also, the Gross State Product has risen from $25 billion in 2002 to $26.5 billion in 2003. It adds up to a 6.3 percent increase. The increase is the ninth highest in the entire country.

In the area of agriculture, the governor informed the Legislature that livestock prices are higher now than they were a year ago and that crop prices are lower. However, yields this past year were much higher than previous years. The Certified Beef Program is moving forward.

The two committees on which I serve, Education and Commerce, have met for organization and briefings from the different agencies, so we will be ready to work on bills next week. Please contact me with your positions and your reasons for them as often as you deem prudent.

I will be trying to keep you informed by writing to you on a weekly basis.

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