Pierre Report: Semi-hectic week at the Capitol

The seventh week of session for the House of Representatives has been semi-hectic. All House bills had to be acted upon by the close of session on Wednesday.  All bills introduced by representatives had to be voted on and passed to the Senate side or killed.

HB 1217 was heavily debated.  It concerned decision of a pregnant mother to terminate her relationship with her child by abortion.  It passed 49-19.

HB 1245 was to revise and repeal certain provisions regarding the salary and travel reimbursements for county veterans� service officers.  This bill is passing another cost to the county commissioners without giving them funding for such expenses.  This bill passed 36-33.

HB 1252 allows discretion to local governments to prohibit certain outdoor signs and advertisements such as billboards.  This bill failed 35-34.  It needed a majority of the representatives to pass, which would be 36.

HB 1236 was to cut the legislators� salaries 10 percent from $6,000 to $5,400.  This bill required a two-thirds vote to pass, but failed 42-26.

HB 1083 revised state education benefits for veterans.  Because this would have to be funded, most likely it would cause another increase in tuition and fees to other students.  It failed 29-40.

A much-discussed bill was HB 1178.  It would restrict the entry of conservation officers onto private land without permission.  This bill failed 21-48.

Thursday started the Senate passed bills and onto the House for consideration.  These early bills were generally unanimously passed from the Senate floor and were fairly easy.

The above bills were the more debated bills in the House that stirred quite a bit of debate.  There were many other bills that were easy to pass, tabled or failed by a large number.

HB 1230 is in the Senate now for consideration. This is the governor�s bill that takes 22 percent from the contractor�s excise tax to form another fund for economic development.

What is so bad about this bill is that it takes monies away from education funding and Medicaid funding.  I�m all for economic development as witnessed by my past association with Viborg�s Economic Development Board, but when it takes money from education and Medicaid, then I have a problem.  Please take time to e-mail your senators and not let this occur.

HB 1044, a bill that concerns the Turner, Clay, and Lincoln Water Flood Plain District,  has hit a snag in the Senate.  It passed through the House 69-0 and passed through the Senate committee unanimously with consent.  A senator from up north took this bill off of consent and now is being referred back to the Senate committee for another look.  This bill helps flood plain districts and hurts no one.  I�m a little baffled by this move.

Lastly, but definitely not the least important, was murmurs of what to do with the budget proposed cuts.  The majority party has had meetings dealing with the issue, especially concerning education and Medicaid.  I�m of the opinion because of the 600+ e-mails and the coffees and cracker barrels I�ve attended that we can spread this over 2-3 years and use �one-time� monies that the state has in its coffers to get through this deficit that has taken 7-8 years to amass.  Please remember two things that I believe in. One, education is the best form of economic development we have in South Dakota, and two, if Medicaid is cut by $30,000,000 from the state budget, we also lose approximately $45,000,000 in matching federal aid.

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