Legislative Week 3

Legislative Week 3 January 26, 2017

It was my honor this week to carry SCR 5 in the House endorsing the induction of Howard Hunter Sr. into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. I encourage everyone to read the full Resolution. The last paragraph of the resolution sums up Howard’s life.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, due to his talent, superb skill, and integrity, the induction of Howard Hunter Sr. into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame would honor a South Dakota Plains ranch lifestyle, a set of solid values, and a life well lived that are as relevant today as at any time in the history of our nation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that through the nomination of Howard Hunter, Sr., the Selection Committee of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame has the opportunity to honor one of the most talented and deserving bronc riders that ever measured a bronc rein or nodded for a gate.

http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?File=SCR5P.htm&Session=2017

SCR2 (Senate Concurrent Resolution) supporting the Electoral College system was brought to the floor for consideration the Electoral College is a process not a place. The Electoral College was established as an essential part of the United States Constitution in 1787 Most of us have a basic understanding of how and why the Electoral College was set up, but I found it interesting to actually see the numbers. Electoral votes are allocated among the states based on the US Census. Because South Dakota is small in population are votes are twice as influential as those in larger states such as California, Texas, New York and Florida. Following is a list from greatest to least impact of single voter influence toward electoral vote. VPEV stands for, VOTERS PER ELECTORAL VOTE

SOUTH DAKOTA: 370,047 TOTAL VOTERS/3 ELECTORAL VOTES=123,349.0 VPEV
TEXAS: 8,969,226 TOTAL VOTERS/38 ELECTORAL VOTES= 236,032.3 VPEV
CALIFORNIA: 14,181,595 TOTAL VOTERS/55 ELECTORAL VOTES=257,847.2 VPEV
NEW YORK: 7,707,363 TOTAL VOTERS/29 ELECTORAL VOTES=265,771.1VPEV
FLORIDA: 9,420,039 TOTAL VOTERS/29 ELECTORAL VOTES= 324,828.9 VPEV

As you can see, South Dakota had a greater impact per single vote than did the other four largest states. So when you’re told, “Every vote counts” this is something to keep in mind. There have been efforts made to eliminate the Electoral College in recent years by seeking to persuade states to mandate that electors may only vote for the winner of the popular vote nationally. South Dakota and other states with small populations would be at disadvantage to have our voices heard.

I have more information available to report on IM22. It was brought to our attention that an on July 29, 2015 the South Dakota Research Council informed the drafters of IM22 there were two unconstitutional provisions. Following are the Sections of IM 22 that are in question regarding the constitutionality of the initiated measure passed by the voters.

Sections 39 and 40 on page 35 provide an appropriation to the “Democracy Credit Fund.” SD Constitution. Art. XII, 2 states that appropriations shall be made by separate bills, each embracing one object, and requires a two-thirds vote of all the members of each branch of the Legislature. The proposed annual appropriation may be unconstitutional.

Section 68 of Initiated Measure 22: There is hereby appropriated from the general fund on July 1, 2017, and every July first of each year thereafter, the sum of nine dollars, to be adjusted every year for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for the Midwest Region. All items, as determined by the United States Department of Labor, per South Dakota registered voter as most recently determined by the Secretary of State, to the democracy credit fund for the identified purposes of that fund.

Despite the constitutional defect(s), the drafters chose to include the unconstitutional provision in the final version of IM22 that was filed with the Secretary Of State. The supporters of IM22 claim voters knew what they were voting for. How many voters took the time to read 14,000-word ballot measure?

Following is the link to read the Pros and Cons given to you at the ballot box.

https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2016%20BQ%20PamphletCover.pdf

The next link will take you to the IM22 complete 34-page ballot measure.

https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2016_IM_CampFinLobbyingLaws.pdf

The Senate invoked Rule 517 on Thursday to allow more time to discuss HB1069 to repeal IM22. Rule 517 can be used twice on the same bill and I suspect they will inevitability use it again next week to allow for even more time. This piece of legislation will be delayed at least through next week, which will allow both sides to find the language necessary that will satisfy both sides.

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 Elizabeth.May@sdlegislature.gov 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 legislators.

Legislative Week 2 January 20, 2017

Well the legislature has completed the second week of session. The weather conditions cooperated better making the trip back and forth more enjoyable.

So far, 124 Bills have been introduced for the 2017 session, 64 in the Senate and 60 in the House.

Most of the session so far has focused on addressing the unconstitutionality of IM 22.  Well over $5 million would be appropriated every year to pay for political campaigns. Also, the law could potentially prohibit teachers, nurses, business owners and others from serving in the legislature due to conflict of interests.  Over $1 million was used from out of state group to promote IM 22. The Secretary of State has introduced SB53 and SB54. SB53 would create a Campaign Finance Ethics Commission and SB54 would revise certain provisions regarding campaign finance requirements.  May concerns are not “Campaign Finance Ethics” but concerns over the lack of over sight on state agencies. Millions and millions of dollars come into the State of South Dakota every year with no Agency Ethics Commission. EB-5 and Gear Up could have been avoided if an Ethics Commission would have been in place assuring no conflicts of interest.  We have GOAC (Government Operations and Audit Committee) made up of legislators. I would like to see this expanded to include an ethics commission. We seem to have a bigger problem with Governor appointments using the experience and knowledge obtained while in government to enrich themselves off the backs of the taxpayers once they leave their position. Four years I sat on the Education Committee and not once was the committee informed on Gear Up. I look back now and guess there might have been a reason for that. I personally think South Dakotans voted for IM 22 thinking this would correct the wrongs of EB 5 and Gear Up and I haven’t seen any bill yet that addresses that concern.

SB25 has passed out of Senate Judiciary and the complete Senate. It now will make its way to House Judiciary this week. This bill would allow for “Mug Shots” to be made available to the publishing industry that is emerging across the country. The industry consists of private companies that publish mug shots and booking details of individuals arrested by law enforcement agencies. There has been over 60 new mug shot websites created in the last two years. The “Reputation Management Industry” profit when individuals pay a fee to have their mug shot removed from one or more websites.  On occasion the same company resulting in a combination “Business Model” sometimes operates the two types of businesses. It might be legal, but is close to extortion in my mind.  I still believe you’re “Innocent until proven guilty” and will work this week against SB25. I’m including a link to the House Judiciary committee members if anyone would like to weigh in on SB25. http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Committees/CommitteeMembers.aspx?Committee=359&Session=2017

There has not been much legislation reaching the floor this week. I expect starting next week we’ll see more bills coming out of committee and to the floor for our debate. The longest debate on floor this week was to allow hair braiding without having cosmetology license. It turns out that we still have some common sense left and passed if off the floor with only a few NO votes.

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 Elizabeth.May@sdlegislature.gov 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 legislators.

January 13, 2017 Week One

The 2017 legislative session is off and running. So far, 110 bills have been introduced with 108 filled by different State Agencies.

Expected state revenues are down $31.9 million just since the Budget Address in December. Due to down turn in farm and ranch markets, low inflation, lower tourism numbers compared to records set in 2015 has resulted in less spending making consumers cautious.  Governor Daugaard announced that Amazon will voluntarily start collecting sales tax receipts on all sales made by South Dakotans starting February 1, 2017. No projection were given to the legislature on the amount they expect to take in, but it will fall short of the loss endured this past year. I take every opportunity to remind citizens, South Dakota’s number one industry is agriculture to the tune of $20 billion.  When this industry suffers so do the state’s ability to meet basic functions of government.

Our Governor reminded the legislature once again that we have a AAA bond rating from three major credit agencies. To understand the importance of AAA rating I like to use the analogy of credit cards for the average person. The higher rating received the higher limit  available to spend. There’s really no different in the states ability to use bonding authority. In the last four years the state of South Dakota has increased it’s bonding authority $202 million with a total of $1.9 billion just under the SD Building Authority. If you would like to review any of the bonding you can do so at: http://sdlegislature.gov/Reference_Materials/RequiredReports.aspx

Three goals Governor Daugaard set forth in his State of the State Address to reduce trafficking of methamphetamine before it enters South Dakoa. A state wide campaign to educate people to prevent use and help those addicted to stop using meth. Some of the new proposal to address the increase in meth usage is a change to Public Safety Improvement Act to encourage treatment/more directly targeting meth usage. Establish a short mandatory sanction of required jail time for anyone on probation or parole who fails a drug test. Also, incentativizing the effective completion of treatment. Work to propose grants to expand HOPE 24/7 probation to all counties. I’ll be actively involved in supporting legislation to require “Random” drug testing for anyone receiving state assistance. No matter the geographic’s of our state the number one concern of local, tribal, state governments and citizens is the ongoing crisis facing our communities regarding “The meth epidemic.”

On Thursday, January 12th, Chairman Robert Flying Hawk delivered the State of the Tribes address. He called for continued efforts for unity between local, state and tribal governments to address the challenges facing the reservations by methamphetamine addiction and also the rise in heroin use.

I’ve been assigned to Transportation and Commerce/Energy committees.

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 Elizabeth.May@sdlegislature.gov 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 legislators.