Notes from Pierre

Notes from Pierre
One week and a couple of days left for the state Legislature to finish the work of the state. Not every one will be satisfied with what was accomplished. Some will say we didn't do enough and some will say that we passed unnecessary laws. But rest assured we all tried to do our very best.

House Bill 1054 passed the Senate that increases the monetary amount of prizes for raffles. This allows charitable organizations to raffle off items like custom motorcycles that are over the $30,000 cap. The bill would

eliminate any caps on prizes for charitable raffles by religious, fraternal, veterans and political organizations. Now the governor has to sign it.

There have been many retirement bills passed. I will try to give just a short explanation of some of them.

Senate Bill 5 adjusts certain participation standard for the special pay retirement program. You may participate if you have reached the calendar month prior to your 55th birthday and have received $600 or more in special pay.

Senate Bill 6 defines certain terms such as "comparable level positions," "covered

employment," "military service," "other public service" and "plan year."

Senate Bill 7 says that "any member who retires before being eligible for Social Security retirement benefits may elect to receive initial retirement benefit payments from the system in an amount greater than the standard benefit payments computed on the basis of the member's age and earnings at retirement. The greater amount shall be paid until the member reaches the age of 62, at which time the payment from the system shall be the reduced amount so that, as far as possible the member's combined monthly retirement income from the system and Social Security shall approximately equal the greater amount paid prior to the age of 62.

Senate Bill 8 adds custodian to whom the retirement system benefits could be made in behalf of minors.

Senate Bill 66 exempts water distribution systems from having to be 250 feet away from a dwelling or other buildings on the premises or across any non-commercial orchard or garden without written consent of the owner. This bill allows the Lewis and Clark water development to continue the work in areas where it would be prohibitive to do so.

Senate Bill 122 exempts certain breeding stock animals, products, and facilities from certain corporate farming restrictions. These are operated primarily for the purpose of producing animal breeding stock or reproductive products from animals.

There is still time to send me your reasons to pass or veto a bill. Thanks to all of you who have written. I especially wish to thank the civics class members from the Vermillion High School who e-mailed me for information concerning certain bills. They may some day be your legislators representing you and your needs.

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