Pierre Report: Budget woes are keeping inbox full

This week has been much quicker in committee meetings and in the House.  Many House bills have been heard and acted upon in committee and in the House.  There are a few bills from the Senate side of the legislature that have passed their side and now are up for consideration from the House.

House Bill 1044 is a bill that I introduced on behalf of the Turner, Lincoln, Clay Water District.  The bill is an improvement on qualified voters concerning the flood plain on the Vermillion River.  It passed the Local Government Committee 13-0.  Upon presentation in the House, it passed 70-0.  Now it goes to the Senate for them to act on.

Before I go any further, the e-mails that I have received have been fast and furious.  This past week I have received over 250 e-mails from concerned people.  They are ALL asking for help with the governor�s proposed budget.  The 10 percent cut (or shift) for all departments has all of US very concerned.  The mail is from all walks of life.  Everyone is concerned.  We must come up with an alternative.

Education and Medicaid comprise of 90 percent of the mail.  All of the mail I received from our district I responded to.  Our cracker barrels attendance has been large to very large.  It appears the vast majority of you want to increase our revenue in one way or another � as well as cut the �fat� in our existing department budgets.  Together we can do this.  Keep hammering on me and other legislators that a 10 percent shift of responsibility isn�t acceptable. 

Now back to this week�s business in Pierre.

House Bill 1077 was to establish standards for evaluating school principals.  It was defeated in the House 18-52.  On this bill I voted against as I felt this should be done at the local level.

House Bill 1119 was to revise the procedure for reissuing certain alcoholic beverage licenses.  It passed 48-22.  I voted no because there was resistance from towns in our district that felt that if it passed, they would have to reissue a license unless the applicant had been subjected to a criminal penalty.

House Bill 1052 revised the allowable ratio of pharmacy technicians to pharmacists.  In a close vote it passed 36-34.  I voted yes on this bill.

House Bill 1070 prohibits school districts from employing school counselors who are not certified.  It delayed implementation until 2016 to enable certification.  This past year 89 students from USD, SDSU, and NSU graduated with this master�s degree certification.  This bill failed 35-35.  The bill was re-entered for reconsideration with an amendment and this time passed 46-23.  On both votes I voted yes.

These are the bills that had a lot of conversation.

The meetings held in each of our towns on Saturdays keep me in touch with your views.  I will know your views if you show up and speak your peace.  Let�s get together and come up with solutions.

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