Legislative Report

Legislative Report
Time is flying by in the Legislature. We have 3 weeks remaining along with a final day to reconsider Governor vetos in mid-March. Cross over will occur on Feb. 13, which is when all bills from the House must be passed on over to the Senate. If the bill is not passed over or is not heard on the House side, it automatically fails. The same process goes for the Senate.

We have had a busy week, along with many bills that require a lot of debate and have legislators up in arms in terms of their position on the bills. One such bill was HB 1155, which was smoked out of committee. A smoke out is a process to bring a bill, that has failed in committee, to the House floor to be heard by all members of the House. If it receives enough support it can then go to full debate on the floor. HB 1155 is a bill to allow persons certified in midwifery to attend/assist at home births. The principle is good in that it is better to have a home birth having someone with training verses going without any assistance, other than family or friends. The problem I still see is the liability issue, who is going to pay for the complications of a home birth gone bad? The majority of births do go without complication but as many people are aware things can go from good to bad in a matter of minutes. It is my opinion that when things go bad, the mother and child will be referred to the closest hospital and they will have to assume care and responsibility for the situation. Then when it comes to having to pay for the liability, it will be the State, Hospital and/or the Doctors because they have the resources to pay up. The midwife in this bill does not have to carry medical malpractice and only has to tell the family if she does or does not have coverage. Due to costs it will be unlikely insurance will be maintained by the midwife. Also there is not a board willing to accept the responsibility for midwifes due to potential damage to their reputation and due to the costs of maintaining a separate board. It will be heard again next week.

Payday loans were under attack again through HB 1297. The bill would cap interest rates at 36 percent for short term payday loan companies. There are some people who do not make the right decisions/choices when it comes to finances. On the surface there appears to be no real reason for any person to become involved with a high interest rate loan of 400 to 500 percent. Once you hear how these loans are actually intended to be used you can then see the purpose of a payday loan. These loans are only to be used from paycheck to paycheck in situations when unforeseen bills/expenses come up and money is needed right away. It is better to take out a pay day loan rather than bouncing a check and taking a non-sufficient fund check charge from both the store and from bank, 40 and 25 dollars, respectively. So taking out a 2 week, 100 dollar loan that would cost 20 dollars would be a much better choice than paying out 65 dollars in insufficient charges along with the criminal aspect. Bankers I have spoken to do not want to make these short term unsecured loans. It was reported in committee that a $100 loan at 36 percent for 2 weeks, would allow the payday loan site to make only $1.36. After the expenses were taken out to process the loan they expect to lose over $11 per loan and would not be able to stay in business. Due to banking regulations, I cannot get a loan without putting down collateral and completing a financial condition statement. How does someone with poor credit and/or no assets get a loan from the bank. They can't. Remember the owners of the payday loans use and risk their own money on an unsecured loan. If someone goes bad on the loan, the payday loan owner is out of luck. These were the reasons I went against the bill, but in committee they also advised that automobile credit, agricultural credit companies along with 4 pages of other credit agencies would also be affected by the bill. Not sure if this was a bluff or not but it worked and swayed the committee to go against the bill 11-2.

There were a great deal of other bills of interest that came on the House floor this week, some of which included placing a minimum number of students that must leave or enter a district before the school could receive declining or increasing enrollment. This bill failed. HB 1250 was a bill to increase Legislators salaries from six to ten thousand dollars per year. Salaries for legislators have not been increased for 10 years. It was amended to eight thousand, and then passed the House. The problem for most legislators is the out of session expenses mainly fuel and time away from work to attend meetings and community events. The yearly stipend we receive for expenses when in session does not cover all of our out of session expenses. HB 1171 is a bill to consider mountain lions outside of the Black Hills to be considered a predator. This would permit shooting of a mountain lion outside the Black Hills. Currently Game, Fish and Parks say they will not arrest a property owner if they shoot a mountain lion "if it acts aggressively" towards animals or persons. Because the GF&P does not plan to manage the population outside the Black Hills, the bill passed the committee 11-1.

These bills can all be viewed and the committee meetings can be heard on the archive links on the Legislative Research Councils web site.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at: Rep.Boomgarden@State.sd.us

As always please keep all the American and Coalition Troops and their families in your thoughts and prayers as they are away from their homes in order to perform their duties.

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