Legislative Week One

The 2018 legislative session is off and running. So far, 146 bills have been introduced compared to 108 filed this time last year.

Expected state revenues are down mostly 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 last year that Amazon will voluntarily start collecting sales tax receipts on all sales made by South Dakotans starting February 1, 2017. The amount collected from Amazon has not been shared with the legislature to date. 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

Governor Daugaard set forth in his State of the State Address to reduce trafficking of methamphetamine before it enters South Dakota. 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. 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 11th, Chairman Boyd Gourneau from Lower Brule 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.

I’ll leave you with this thought. South Dakota’s state’s general fund expenditures has grown by more than 35% over the last 10 years (’08-’17)…did your income grow by more than 35% during that same time period?

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

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