SDCA Legislative Report, March 4, 2016
March 4, 2016
Legislative report from the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association
The Legislators are enjoying a final three-day weekend before returning on Monday for the last week of Session. Major issues remaining are setting the State Budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, ironing out details on the new education funding formula, and giving final consideration to two county funding proposals.
The House State Affairs and Judiciary committees still have several bills to take up, as do the Senate Local Government, Health, and Taxation committees. As always about this point in Session, there is idle speculation that the legislature could wrap up its work and head home earlier than its scheduled Friday end date. That idle speculation generally proves to be, well…idle.
Livestock Development: Agriculture groups worked together for successful passage of HB 1140 to improve the county zoning process on the Senate floor. SB 98, to treat hog production the same as other livestock under the Family Farm Act, also passed out of House Ag this week.
COOL: Despite our efforts in opposition, HCR 1016, a resolution expressing and encouraging support for the continued use of country-of-origin labels on meat products sold to consumers, passed both the House and Senate floors.
Education Funding: This past week the Senate passed the half-cent sales tax increase, sending the measure to the Governor's desk. However, conversations continue about ways to adjust the impact of that increase. For example, an idea was proposed to establish a farm machinery tax rebate program for beginning farmers and ranchers. The idea was not endorsed by the ag groups as it could potentially jeopardize current exemptions for agricultural inputs.
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Two more bills in the Governor's Education Reform Package are on the House calendar for Monday. SB 133 directs funding for school districts to use innovative education options, such as e-learning and shared services.
SB 131 establishes a target teacher salary and target teacher ratio. The bill also sets caps on school district reserves, moves the pension levy into the general education levy, adjusts the Capital Outlay levy, and establishes accountability measures to ensure teacher salaries go up. The House Appropriations committee amended the bill to change the teacher ratio slightly. It also made changes to the piece of the bill that equalizes other revenues (gross receipts tax on utilities, revenue in lieu of taxes, wind farm tax, bank franchise tax, apportionment of revenue from traffic fines, wind farm tax, and bank franchise tax). Schools that would lose money from this switch have an opportunity to opt out of the new formula and keep their current funding, which will remain frozen. When the inflationary increases to the new formula catch up with that school district, it can opt into the new formula.
Property Taxes: SB136 will permit cropland that is seeded to permanent vegetation along lakes, rivers, and streams to be assessed as noncropland and passed the House Ag Committee 11-0 and awaits floor action.
Appropriations: SDCA has been supporting several appropriation bills. HB 1007 seeks funding of $175,000 to revise and update the values and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity. It was amended on the House floor to direct the funds to SDSU through the Department of Revenue, passed the Senate 35-0 and has been delivered to the Governor.
HB 1080 appropriates $1.575 from the livestock disease emergency fund to continue design work for a potential expansion and upgrades to the state Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL) and to declare an emergency. HB 1080 passed the Senate 35-0.
SDCA Bill List
HB 1007 appropriates $175,000 to SDSU to update the values and methods used to determine the agricultural land production capacity. Delivered to the Governor.
HB 1018 defines 'manipulated manure' as it relates to commercial fertilizer and soil amendments. Passed the House 67-0. Signed by the Governor.
HB 1024 requests a $250,000 appropriation to School & Public Lands for the maintenance and repair of state owned dams. Signed by the Governor.
HB 1064 apply certain penalties for malicious acts or tampering with passenger railroads. Passed Senate Judiciary and placed on consent calendar.
HB 1080 appropriate $1.575 million from the Livestock Disease Emergency Fund for design and planning of the ADRDL in Brookings. Passed Senate, delivered to the Governor.
HB 1084 define when concurrent employment may be used to calculate earnings in workers compensation cases. Signed by the Governor.
HB 1094 increase the commercial fertilizer inspection fee for fertilizer-related research and education. Passed the Senate 28-6.
HB 1140 revise certain provisions regarding county zoning. Passed Senate State 20-14.
HB 1182 increase the state sales tax, state use tax and others to pay for the purpose of education funding. Passed the Senate 25-10.
SB 3 revise the income criteria for determining if property is classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes. Passed House 59-9.
SB 58 revise certain restrictions for the use of night vision equipment for hunting under certain conditions. Passed the House 51-16.
SB 98 revise and repeal certain anti-corporate provisions regarding pork production. Passed House Ag 11-0.
SB 107 clarify the 660' safety zone restriction on hunting. Amended on the Senate for to provide more clarity for landowners, passed Senate 33-0. Passed House Ag and placed on consent.