Legislative Update By Rep. Jamie Boomgarden
District 17 I couldn't wait and tell you all in this week's update how miserable I was in Pierre. Not because of the bills that we had to address, nor the budget issues. The problem I was suffering from was that I had a cold. I had no energy, lost my voice, coughing, and simply put, I just did not feel good. I was going to let you know that, this last week seemed to never end, and it seemed like this last week in itself took the equilivant of a month to get over with. However, the news of our Turner County Deputy Chad Mechels, who was killed in the line of duty Sunday morning around 9 a.m., changed all that. Suddenly my self pity no longer mattered and I realized to myself that maybe I'm not as bad off as I thought I was just a few days earlier. My very sincere condolences goes out to the family of Chad Mechels, his partners in the sheriff's office, his friends and the state of South Dakota as well. For we lost a great person, a father and a protector. I sit here in complete disbelief that all of this could have even happened. The officers in Turner County, every County for that matter, perform many, many, many of these "welfare checks" on people every year, including the elderly person who haven't been heard from, to checking on someone involved in any type of incident. Many questions will sit in people's minds for many years to come. Why here, why now, and why Chad? I must also throw in a plug for the family of the person who allegedly shot the officer, for their lives will be turned upside down from people taking out their anger and frustration on them, not to mention they too have basically lost a son in this whole matter as well. This whole situation is just a bad deal all around, and the most we can do as believers in God is to pray for the families! As for the legislative issues, the budget passed both the Senate and House, mostly by party line votes. This was primarily due to the Democrats block voting and giving stump speeches about wanting to give extra money to sparse schools, and employees of "community support providers." Basically they knew the budget bill — HB 1300 — was going to pass anyway, so it was a good time to try to add some additional spending in a time of economic recession, to get ammunition for the next voting cycle. This has been pretty much the theme all year, trying to position the Republicans in situations where programs need to be cut and fees raised, then the Democrats cry out the Republicans are cutting essential programs and putting fees on the most vulnerable. As I pointed out in my last letter, the stimulus money, will not fix our problems, only prolong when we will have to deal with them again. It will give us a bridge to the 2012 budget year. Hopefully by then all our prayers will be answered and the economy will be clicking along and creating spending by consumers and creating jobs for the people. So keep your fingers crossed for our future as a state. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me by e-mail: Rep.Boomgarden@state.sd.us or by calling and leaving a message at 773-3851. As so many of our prayers are focused on the family of Chad Mechels as they should be, still keep in mind the American troops, the coalition forces and all their families in your thoughts and prayers as they perform their duties for our nation.