Pierre Report: Budget still main concern

We have now finished our fourth week in the legislative session.  We still have lots of unanswered questions regarding everyone�s main concern which is the budget!  The appropriations committee has been working with agencies/departments to find any extra dollars that are not being used.  This continues to be a very long and tedious process.  The departments themselves are working hard to come up with their 10 percent budget reductions requested by the governor.  It will still take about three more weeks before the appropriators determine what will be allowed in our budget recommendations.  This is nothing new.  It has always been till the last two to three weeks before we have this information.

The reactions to the budget address, the governor provided on Jan. 19 have started to increase as observed by my e-mail account.  I am sending pre-written replies to most everyone who e-mails trying an attempt to try and explain part of the situation.  You are going to hear so much rhetoric regarding the 800 billion dollars in reserves the state manages. The point to remember here is that the state �manages� them through the investment council. 

This money is comprised of all kinds of associations and organizations who collectively pool their money together in order to get a bigger return on their money, as compared to trying to invest it on their own.  So when you hear people saying they want to use this money, remember it consists of corn grower association, medical associations, many of your local associations, etc�dues and money.  So by all means, if you want to raid these accounts, I�m sure the soybean growers wouldn�t mind (that is until their expenses/bills have to be paid!).  I believe there are 290 or so groups/associations that put their membership dues/money into this fund balance; not a one of them would be happy raiding it for other purposes.

Bills this year have been had a tough time finding their way out of committee.  As a result, the action on the House floor has been pretty limited.  One bill that passed out of the Health Committee that I chair, was HB 1061 which is the Midwifery bill.  Again a reminder what this bill does, is that it allows lay persons who have received training for assisting mothers give birth at home, to be able to practice independently in the state. 

Obviously, the reason I was and continue to be opposed is safety reasons, but also for the liability reasons.  Sure the bill says nobody is liable for actions of the midwife, however, do not think for a second that some attorney will not sue the hospital or doctors who are forced to assist when those unfortunate cases come into the emergency room.  In the bill the midwife is not required to carry malpractice insurance.  So what do you think the verdict is going to be when the wheelchair-bound child is brought into the courtroom with 12 jurors watching this?  This bill still has a tough battle on the House floor which we will take on next week.

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.

Remember our troops!

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