Lawmakers restore public broadcasting funding on final day

Lawmakers restore public broadcasting funding on final day
A day's delay in getting to Pierre because of a snowstorm didn't deter lawmakers from tackling a full agenda as they concluded the 81st session of the South Dakota Legislature March 21.

The 35th day of the session was originally scheduled for March 20, but a late winter snowstorm affecting western and central South Dakota caused legislative leaders to postpone the final day, normally set aside for consideration of vetoes by Gov. Mike Rounds.

The item of business attracting the most attention during the last day was restoration of $500,000 in funding for South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Lawmakers had reduced SDPB's budget by that amount during the final hours of the main run of the session Feb. 28. A storm of controversy erupted between then and last week when lawmakers returned to Pierre, causing them to suspend their rules and introduce a bill to reverse that action.

Legislators said they had received many calls and comments from constituents during the interim urging them to restore the funding. SDPB officials had said that without the funding they would be forced to shutdown broadcast transmitters in certain parts of the state.

The Senate voted 29-4 and the House voted 63-3 to restore the $500,000 in SDPB funding.

Other action taken by legislators March 21 included:

? An override of a veto of a bill that could eventually reimburse retailers for collecting sales taxes. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Shantel Krebs, R-Sioux Falls, would allow retailers to keep 1.5 percent of the taxes they collect, up to a maximum of $70 per month. The provision doesn't take effect until a special depository fund for taxes paid voluntarily by Internet and through-the-mail merchants reaches $10 million.

? Accepted a change that Rounds had suggested in a bill that would provide an extra $1 million for career and technical classes.

? Sustained a veto of a bill that would have required state government to help South Dakota businesses make business connections in other countries. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Joel Dykstra, R-Canton, asked fellow lawmakers to uphold Rounds' veto of the bill, saying that the intent of the bill had already been achieved because of the debate the bill sparked.

? Approved a bill that added $21,611 to the state Banking Division budget. The Appropriations Committee had originally cut the money during the main run of the session. The money will help train state bank examiners.

? Approved a bill that will provide regulations for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Except those bills approved and signed by the governor with emergency enacting provisions, all new laws are set to take effect July 1.

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