Report from Pierre By Sen. Ben Nesselhuf
District 17 Session has begun in Pierre. As I begin my ninth session of serving District 17 in the Legislature, I realize that this is going to be the most difficult. With the budget issues that we are facing, tough decisions will need to be made. On Thursday, the governor gave his second budget address. He laid out his plan to cut millions of dollars out of the state budget. I commend the governor on making some difficult choices with his cuts but I do not agree with all of them. He wants to make deep cuts in education by eliminating the scarcity factor as well as the increasing and decreasing enrollment money but not cut any of the budgets for tourism and economic development. I strongly disagree with that policy. I view education as an economic development tool as well as a good investment for the state. I think that some of those cuts should be spread over areas that the governor does not want to touch in order to make sure that we have enough to fund our schools. I am being very selective in the bills that I sponsor this year. I believe that the Legislature is in the mood to say â�?�?noâ�?�? a lot this year. Any bill that looks like it could cost any amount of money is going to be dead on arrival. I am working on a couple of pieces of legislation that are not ready yet but I will update you on these bills as they are scheduled for committee. After the budget address, we had the annual memorial service for former legislators who had passed away during the last year. One of the people that we honored was Sidney Knutson from Viborg, who served in the House of Representatives for three terms in the mid-80s. I had met Sidney a couple of times when I was in Viborg. During my first campaign, in 2000, I knocked on his door and he invited me in and told me stories about his years in Pierre. It was a highlight of my door knocking that year. Even though I did not know him well, I was glad we were able to take a few moments to honor his life and service to the people of South Dakota. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of Clay and Turner counties. I enjoy hearing from constituents and can be reached in Pierre by email at email@example.com or by calling 605-773-3821.
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