Legislative Column January 28-31 2013

Another busy week at Pierre. On Tues HB 1119 & HB 1133 were brought to the education committee. HB 1119 was brought before the education committee by prime sponsor Rep. Kathy Tyler, District 4. This bill would have established a school-to-work grant program in the Department of Education. The purpose of the grant program was to support partnerships among school districts, local employers, and communities that are formed to assist high school seniors, who may not pursue post-secondary education, in their transition from high school to the workforce. HB 1133 was presented by prime sponsor, Rep. Munstrom, District 7. This bill was to establish an innovation grant program for school districts. Both bills had positive points, but neither bill had a dollar amount to implement the programs. Both bills were moved to the 41st day.

I was scheduled to introduce a bill to Education Committee on the 6th of February, but due to another bill being moved from the schedule I was asked to present it this week. HB 1176 was to define the word truant. The state of South Dakota does not have a definition of truant on the books. Twenty-six states have a definition of truant and three of those states are North Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming.  The Department Of Ed. came out to oppose the bill, stating, “They want it left up to local control.” My intent was for the State of South Dakota to send a clear message on the importance of children attending school on a regular basis. Our teachers are expected to meet standards on mandated student assessment tests and we need to give them every opportunity to meet those expectations. HB 1176 was a bill that was no cost to the taxpayers while sending a strong message of importance on regular student attendance. The bill was moved to the 41st day by a vote of 10 yea and 5 nay. I will reintroduce it again next year.

Other bills of interest that passed from the house floor.

HB 1049 FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to transfer the value added agriculture sub-fund from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to the Department of Agriculture.

HB 1028  FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to repeal the requirement that a minor be accompanied by an adult while hunting mourning doves.

HB 1059    FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to repeal and revise certain obsolete and unnecessary statutes and rules relating to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. HB 1059 removed 29 pages or 2870 words from the books.

I enjoyed a evening with Gov. Dauugard and his wife Linda for dinner and a personal tour of the South Dakota Governors Mansion. I want to encourage everyone to schedule a visit to see the beautiful mansion built with donations that reflects the great history of South Dakota. I also enjoyed attending the SD School Superintendents Reception, Community Healthcare Association of the Dakota’s, Habitat For Humanity/Home Builders/Realtors and SD Land Title receptions. It was great to see faces from back home!

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate Kevin Ellis, Black Hills State University chemistry major from Oglala. Kevin worked with Dr. John Dixson, assistant professor of chemistry, to investigate medicinal plants that American Indians used to treat a variety of diseases as a new source of new, natural products to treat antibiotic resistant diseases. Kevin is one of South Dakota’s future leaders!

You can contact me at the House Chamber number 773-3851. Leave a phone number and I’ll call you back. The fax number is 773-6806. If you send a fax, address it to Rep. Elizabeth May. You can also email me at rep.may@state.sd.us during session. You can keep track of bills and committee meetings at this link: http://legis.state.sd.us/ You can also use this link to find the legislators, see what committees they are on, read all the bills and track the status of each bill, listen to committee hearings, and contact the legislators.

 

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