Legislative View

Legislative View
This week saw the halfway point for the 81st legislative session. We've had a lot of bills up but still have the bulk of our work in front of us.

Some bills of interest:

My education bill, SB 120, came up for testimony this week. As the prime sponsor, I led off the testimony and was followed by lobbyists from every education association and several school superintendents. I thought the testimony they gave was very convincing. The only opponents to the bill were the Bureau of Finance and Management and the Secretary of Education. The bill went down on a party line vote.

That afternoon I was joined by all of my fellow Democrats from both chambers for a press conference on the capitol steps. We were attempting to bring attention to this issue and let the people of South Dakota know that we have not given up. We will use a procedural move to allow for debate and a vote in both houses of the Legislature. Every legislator will have an opportunity to have their vote recorded on this bill.

I had SB 194 up in the commerce committee this week. The bill is to allow farm wineries, like the Buffalo Run Winery in Vermillion, to produce different types of wine. When the committee first heard testimony on the bill it faced some opposition from the revenue department and representatives of the liquor industry. The committee put off action for two days to allow us to come to a compromise. We got together with the opponents and were able to amend the bill to everyone's satisfaction. It passed out of committee on a 7-0 vote and I expect smooth sailing from here on out.

Another interesting bill that is coming up for debate is HB 1147. Currently if a high school student is caught using marijuana or other drugs he or she is banned from extracurricular activities for one full school year. HB 1147 would reduce that to 60 school days if the student completes an accredited intensive prevention program.

I have supported this legislation in the past and will do so again this year. Often for troubled youth, these activities are the only thing keeping them in school. I believe that extra-curriculars provide a positive influence on the lives of young people and that the state should find a way to get them back in if they met these requirements.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about legislation, please contact me during the week at (605) 773-3821, on the weekend at (605) 624-6178 or anytime by e-mail at sen.nesselhuf@ state.sd.us.

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