Legislative Week 3

The start of the week found legislators south of Interstate 90 struggling to get back to Pierre. Several areas received anywhere from 6 to 14 inches of heavy snow making travel unadvisable. I arrived back in Pierre Monday afternoon in time for session. Other legislators arrived the following day with the exception of some in the far southeast corner of the state.

In 2014 HB1142 passed to allow counties and municipalities to voluntarily contribute money from their general funds, capital outlay funds, or both to any postecondary technical institute. This bill permitted local school boards to appropriate funds from their general fund, …”for the general operating and financial support of technical institution.” The South Dakota Department of Education and the South Dakota Board of Education retained control over the distribution of any such contributions or appropriations, and they would determine how the money was to be used. In 2015 HB1118 was passed in anticipation of Constitutional Amendment R. That law immediately increased the number of Board members from five to nine, further growing the bureacracy.

On November 8, 2016 the voters approved “Constitutional Amendment R.” by a vote of 178,209 in favor to 173,945 against. This paved the way for the legislature to establish a new, unelected and tax funded governing board in SB65.

On January 26, 2017 SB65 was introduced to the Senate Education Committee by Senator Jim Bolin to establish the South Dakota Board of Technical Education and to revise certain provisions regarding career and technical education and postsecondary technical institutes. Among the proponnets were, Representative Mark Mickelson, Will Mortenson (Lobbyist for technical schools), Skilled Workforce Advocacy Council, Avera Health, SD Dept. Of Education, Governor’s Office, SD Chamber of Commerce, SD Home Builders Ass., Associated School Boards of SD, School Administrators of SD, SD Education Association, Associated, General Contractors of South Dakota, SD Society of Human Resouce Managers, SD Association of Cooperatives, Melody Schopp, Dept. Of Education, Sanford Health and SD Telecommunications Association.

On February 14, 2017 I requested a Fiscal Note on SB65. In Section 2 of the proposed legislation the cost would be $16,125 . The break down was, “Per Diem for Board Members $3,375, Board Member Travel Expenses, $11,250 and Supplies and Materials $1,500. In Section 10 of the bill allowed hiring executive director at a total annual cost of $76,502. Total cost analysis, $92,627.

This past week I followed up on the cost budgeted in the FY 2018 and found the cost far exceeded the fiscal analysis done last year. Under the current budget the Board of Technical Education is $29,451, Board of Tech. Administration is $270,322, Travel Expense is $37,669, Contractual Services is $147,335, Supplies & Materials are $9,600, Capital Outlay $2,475 totaling $496,852.

I leave you with this quote,

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!

— Ronald Reagan

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.

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