Legislative Column Feb. 2-5, 2013

We are seeing considerable bills coming to the floor from the various committee’s. Some bills of interest, HB 1123 will appropriate one dollar to be deposited in the animal damage control fund and five dollars shall be deposited in a special fund known as the South Dakota sportsmen’s access and landowner depredation fund. This law and fee was already in place and all the legislators did was move $1.00 to the ADC Program. HB 1013 and HB 1015 were brought by the Board of Regents. HB 1013 was for funds of $325,000.00 to construct a multi-storage facilities at SDSU and HB 1015 was for remodeling and renovation of Medary Commons on the campus of SDSU with a cost of $2,250,000.00. Both bills passed the house with 58 yeas and 10 nays and I voted nay. The argument of one-time dollars should be used to fund one-time projects; not ongoing costs evades me when our teacher pay remains 48th in the nation. HB 1126 was brought to repeal the massage therapy licensing requirements and regulatory board. This bill had been deferred from the 15th LD while talks were ongoing. This bill stems from a 2005 licensee requirement and a mismanaged board with a high turnover. After considerable discussion and two lengthy amendments it passed on to the Senate. I find it amazing that legislature’s are put in office to settle disputes of massage therapy boards. HB 1128 was a bill to allow certain students to participate in the opportunity scholarship program. This bill arises after a home-school student was denied when applying for the scholarship. The Dept. Of Education has a standard criteria in place for public school students that doesn’t apply for home school students. We heard testimony from a student attending School of Mines in Rapid who received a 30 ACT score and was denied the scholarship. His first cousin who was educated through a public school and now is attending SDSU received the scholarship with a ACT score of 24. The Dept of Education came out against allowing the home school student from applying for the Opportunity Scholarship. The committee voted to send it to the floor and it passed on to the Senate.

I’d like to report that we are passing sweeping legislation that is going to improve our daily lives, but to date we have dealt with air, water, wildlife and snowmobile tracks for motorcycles. The bills that I thought could make a difference, like SB 125 “Shared Parenting” did not make it off the Senate floor. The Dept of Education is spending plenty of money just not on our local schools. I’m still trying to be optimistic and look forward to the few weeks we have left. I encourage everyone to stay involved with what is going on with your local, state and federal governments.

As always 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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