LEGISLATIVE COLUMN FEB. 11- 15
Well another busy week! Due to the snow storm Monday session was cancelled and we met on Friday for a make-up day.
HB 1151 extended the general immunity from liability for directors and officers of certain nonprofit fire and ambulance departments and to limit certain actions for personal injury or death. This bill will ensures our local voluntary firemen and EMT providers will not be held responsible for accidents going to emergencies in private vehicle.
HB 1128 was brought to the floor to allow home school students the opportunity to participate in the Opportunity Scholarship program. After considerable debate on the floor the bill did not pass with a vote of 35 yeas and 35 nays. South Dakota Non-Government funded schools save taxpayers $128,985,528 with 16,639 students enrolled in over 97 non government schools. The SD Dept of Education expenditures per average daily member, 2011-2012 school year was a state-wide average cost per student was $7,752 and this cost does not include capital expenditures and bond redemption. I voted to pass HB 1128 feeling strongly that all students are part of South Dakota and saying other wise is hypocritical.
HB 1135 was a highly contentious bill that caused a lot of debate on the floor. It regulates access to and use of non-meandered waters on private property. SD Wild Life Federation and the SD Game Fish & Parks were highly opp0sed to this bill. It is the result of flooding in the Northeast part of the state in the past few years. We heard testimony from land owners that corn fields were being damaged by sportsmen and concerns about the safety of their self and private property was in question. I confer with the V Amendment of the US Constitution that reads,” No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Had the sportsman or Game Fish and Park asked for permission to carry out hunting and fishing on private property and allowed compensation to the land owner either through tax relief or hunting fees I think this could of been settled. The problem has been on going for nine years with no action. It passed the floor with a 37 yeas and 32 nays.
HB 1089 an act to require statewide livestock ownership inspection was brought to the committee by Rep. Dean Schrempp. He stated his ongoing concern with the lack of inspections that are being conducted. Currently there is no brand inspection east river. Last year there were only eleven inspections of livestock crossing the river and eight inspections the year before. SD Dept of Agriculture, NCBA, Farm Bureau and SD Livestock Markets all came out in opposition to this bill stating it was cost prohibitive. After considerable debate was heard it passed on to the floor by a vote of 7 yeas and 6 nays. I feel strongly that state wide brand inspection would help with the on going problem of livestock being transported across the river without proper documentation of ownership and curb livestock rustling. I argued that agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry and we need to look at all possible steps to protect the livestock producer.
HB 1187 also was to provide alternative brand inspection procedures for certain rodeo livestock. This bill was brought to the committee by Rep. Heinert. It would put in place a permanent brand inspection for rodeo company’s that are moving livestock to different areas of the state on a regular basis. It passed out of committee with 13 yeas and 0 nays.
This week we were entertained with a banquet by the Independent Community Bankers of South Dakota Association. I have to say that the information I came away with was enlightening to say the least. I want to leave you with some facts that I’m sure many people are not aware off. 39% is the effective tax rate of most South Dakota Banks, 2.32% is the effective tax rate of Farm Credit Services in South Dakota, 0.00% is the effective tax rate of all SD Federal Credit Unions, $89,386,262 is the total income of Credit Union’s and Farm Credit Services in 2011, $21,735,593 is what the SD General Fund did not receive over the last 6 years from not collecting the 6% Bank Franchise Tax from Credit Unions and Farm Credit Services. As regulations bears down on community banks and small towns lose access to financial services I have to wonder why Congress continue’s to allow expansion of tax exempt entities at the expense of the taxpayers. As these entities expand tax revenue coming into the state general fund will continue to decline which will directly effect our schools, roads and government services.
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 email@example.com 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.