Legislative Week 6
Someone asked me, “How’s everything going this session?” My response, “I feel like I’m in a blender!” We’re all running from room to room testifying on bills that someone’s bringing or the ones we’re sponsoring. I have to say, “It’s refreshing to have Rep. Livermont on my team.” He’s done an excellent job informing me on bills that are coming in front of the Ag. Committee. Steve’s help answering the overwhelming amount of calls and emails from constituents concerning specific pending legislation has made the process run more smoothly.
I currently serve on the House Commerce/Energy Committee. This year we have twenty-one different bills related to alcohol.
Last year the legislature enacted a law that created a new license allowing off-sale liquor licensees to deliver alcohol purchases. The law stipulates that the deliveries can only be made to locations within the boundaries of the municipality that issued the license, the customer must place the order in person and show proof of age, the person receiving the order must show proof of age, and the minimum order is $150.00 of alcohol. HB 1125 would have amended that statute to provide that the $150.00 minimum purchase could be made up of a combination of alcohol and other items. So, for example, if the off-sale liquor licensee sells items such as ice, pop, water, corkscrews, snacks, paper products or other non-alcohol items, the order for those items could have made up part of the $150 minimum purchase. I believed this was a reasonable change to the law. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 8 to 5, but was rejected by the full House on a vote of 26 to 41.
I’ve had several calls regarding the “Tobacco Tax Increase, HB 1274. This bill would allow raising the tax on tobacco products by a dollar a pack. Currently, revenue generated from the tobacco tax is deposited as follows. The first $30 million goes to the general fund; the next $5 million goes to tobacco prevention and anything over $35 million goes to the general fund. HB 1274 would revise the allocation of dollars as follows. The first $5 million to tobacco prevention, the next $20 million would be allocated to postsecondary technical education for tuition lowering, scholarships, the next $10 million to nursing facility reimbursement fund and anything over $90 million would go to the State General fund. HB 1274 was heard in House State Affairs and defeated by a 9 to 4 vote.
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.