The weather has been very nice out here. Things are starting to get busy out here and the bills are becoming more personal to legislators which usually adds more controversy to them.
In November's general election, most all of us voted on the governor's use of state- owned or -leased aircraft, so we thought. All the advertisements and even the information sheet providing the description of the initiative had only aircraft in the language. Unfortunately, "or vehicles" was included in the initiative/bill that we voted on. This has created a lot of unrest due to any state employee who during a work day uses a state vehicle who during their daily activities. If they stop for anything considered personal, they would be subject to a $1000 civil fine and 10 times the cost of the trip expense. House Bill 1004 took out "or vehicle" and left the bill worded the way most voters thought they supported, which consisted of aircraft only.
House bill 1031 moved to the Senate which helps to utilize technology in combination with pharmaceutical services in more remote and underserved areas. There have been several underserved areas identified due to retirement ages of some pharmacists and low desire to work in some areas of the state. Remote pharmacies come to life with HB 1031, which will allow a pharmacist in a central location, to fill prescriptions for medications at a distant location using a registered pharmacist technician. The key component is that there must be computer, video and audio links in multiple areas of the remote location where the pharmacist can observe the proper filling of the prescription and be available to give instructions to the patient regarding the medication.
My concerns are the lack of a definition of "underserved areas" and no requirement that the central location has to be in South Dakota, therefore meaning a pharmacist from another state or country could fill these prescriptions.
House bill 1110 – passed the House 46-24 and in my opinion is a bad bill. Presently municipal ordinances or regulations have a cap of $200 for any fines it imposes. This bill permits municipalities to increase these fines. Can you imagine a $500 fine for failure to clean a sidewalk, mow a lawn or keep up property or any other ordinance? Obviously, there may be a few instances where this may be needed. However, I fear some towns may be tempted due to budget crunches to try to use the power of city ordinances as a method of funding city government.
Most everyone has heard about automatic external defibrillators (AED) which are the devices used on victims of heart attacks. House bill 1105 removes the civil liability which companies, organizations and people have been afraid of when considering the use of one or whether a facility should have one on site. These AEDs have become easier to use – apply two patches, the machine detects if a shock is needed and all the user has to do is then push the button to shock. These machines also do their own self check/testing and alert the staff when maintenance is needed so there are fewer concerns regarding upkeep. It passed in the House and is off to the Senate side.
Another floor action bill allows for three types of squirrels and cottontail rabbits to be legally hunted on private property by the owner without a hunting license during the hunting season.
I must warn everyone there are rumblings of the return of the abortion ban bill coming up again, this time with exceptions. I believe this is very bad timing and will erode the base of support it has if it does come up again this soon. Other rumors in the works is a possible universal type of health care to try and provide insurance to all South Dakotans. I believe it has some legs and sounds promising but I'm not sure how far it will make it.
Lastly is the removal of the 150 percent rule to determine assessed values of properties. Bills are coming forward regarding this and we are just beginning to hear parts of it right now. A minimum wage bill to increase hourly wages from 5.15 to 7.25 an hour has been proposed.
Feel free to contact me if any questions arise or if you would like to make any comments. I can be reached through e-mail: Rep.Boom firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, please keep our American troops in your thoughts and prayers as they perform their duties and are away from family and friends.