Feb. 17-21, 2014

Every time I cross the Capitol’s threshold, it’s with the knowledge that I report to the people, not Pierre.

That’s why I brought forth two bills: HB 1234 and HB 1214. The first supplants the Common Core standards, because there’s nothing standard or common about our children – nor should there be about their education. The second would require an analysis of the financial impacts incurred by Common Core’s implementation.

In 2010, before I ran for office, a drastic overhaul of South Dakota’s educational system happened without a vote from the legislature or a voice from the people. Shrouded in secrecy, Common Core remains an issue propped up by special interests that reward a blind eye over a clear vision. I attempted to shine a spotlight into the depths with a bill that would determine the potential costs local school districts faced.

Friday, eight members of the Legislature opposed that measure, preferring the shadows that spawned an irresponsible program with the potential to squander millions as opposed to a sunshine law that would protect the people we all purport to represent.

Their refusal to even consider the costs of Common Core has laid a heavy burden on the backs of taxpayers.

Following are some other bills that were voted on this week.

One of the major topics of discussion this week in the Senate was SB169- An Act to provide for access to and use of public waters on public and private property and to protect private property rights for the citizens of South Dakota. The bill is also known as the non-meandered lakes bill. The bill passed the House and Senate State Affairs Committee, however it was tabled on the Senate floor with a 31-3 vote after sportsmen and landown-ers were unable to find enough common ground to compromise. This is the third attempt over the past 8 years to pass legislation about this issue and it will likely return next year for a fourth attempt.

The Senate passed SB 90 stating the South Dakota High School Activities Association should be subject to the same open government laws as the school boards that authorized it. The bill passed 29-5 and will now go to the House for further consideration.

The Senate also passed SB 180 to authorize the increase in the number of video lottery machines that may be placed in a licensed establishment under certain conditions. It would increase the limit from 10 to 15 per licensed establishment. The bill passed with a 22-12 vote and will now go to the House.

Highlights from the House

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed HB 1244 with an 8-4 vote. The bill would provide health insurance for some South Dakotans below the poverty line by taxing the property of currently tax-exempt hospitals. It would apply to people earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line — $11,670 for an individual or $23,850 for a family of four. To receive the health care coverage, individuals would have to not be eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service, and would have to work 40 hours per week. This bill has already generated a lot of press attention.

House Taxation Committee defeated HB 1227 with a 9-4 vote. The bill was intended to wean the state off of video lottery revenue. The House also voted 70-0 to require all public schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
Three smokeouts were attempted in the House this week . A “smokeout” is a procedural move to attempt to force a bill that was defeated in committee to the floor. In the House, 24 votes are needed to “smokeout” a bill.
-The smokeout for HB 1215 was successful and necessary to fix a procedural error. The bill would provide for the issuance of free fishing licenses to residents aged eighty-five and older. I brought this bill on behalf of senior citizens.

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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