S.D. Legislative update
February 25, 2015
We've finished six weeks of the legislative process and there are three weeks left before the end of the 2015 session. So far of the 429 bills that were introduced, 19 have been withdrawn, 42 have been signed by the Governor, 10 are on the Governor's desk, and the rest are either in process or have been killed. February 25th is Crossover Day, the last day for a bill or joint resolution to pass the house of origin. It is also the last day for introduction of concurrent resolutions and commemorations.
This has been a really rough week for several legislators. Rep. Jim Schaefer lost his wife Gloria to cancer this week and most of the legislators attended Gloria's memorial service at Faith Lutheran in Pierre Friday morning. Sen. Jim Peterson was hospitalized for a couple days and then sent home to recover from pneumonia. Sen. Jim White has a bad case of bronchitis and he also spent a couple days in the hospital before he was sent home to recuperate. Sen. Brock Greenfield missed this whole week of session after falling on the ice and breaking his arm so bad that it required surgery. Please keep these legislators in your prayers and hopefully all of them will be able to return to Pierre soon.
The Canadian Consulate General Jamshed Merchant and several members of the Canadian government came to Pierre this week to visit their economic partner to the south. Forty percent of South Dakota's foreign-bound trade goods are sold to Canada and annual trade between our state and Canada totals $1.2 billion.
Tuesday the Senate passed a Joint Resolution to make a formal application to Congress to call an Article V convention of the states for the sole purpose of proposing a federal balance budget amendment. South Dakota is the 25th state to call for a convention to balance the federal budget. Nine more states must take action for a convention to be called. With a national debt over $18 TRILLION and climbing by the minute we have to balance the budget, but what worries me is how the "progressive" politicians in DC would go about balancing it. Representative Kristi Noem and Senator Mike Rounds visited the South Dakota Legislature this week and they both talked about the political dysfunction in Washington, DC. I can't imagine the spendthrift Congress cutting any spending programs, which leaves raising our taxes as the only method Congress would use to balance the budget. Does that scare you as bad as it scares me?
On Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 177 to establish a youth minimum wage on a party line vote 26-7. The bill exempts employers from paying the full minimum wage to minors under the age of 18, thus saving jobs for these young entry level and part-time employees. Currently the minimum wage is eight dollars and fifty cents an hour. This bill would set the youth minimum wage at seven dollars and fifty cents an hour, twenty five cents higher than the former minimum wage.
Senate Local Government committee passed one of my bills on Wednesday. HB 1081 repeals provisions regarding county officials and the board of county commissioners. I'm the Senate prime on this and if it passes the Senate like I think it will, county commissioners will no longer be required to make a map of the county and to visit every jail in their county each year.
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Here are some of the bills that passed the Senate this week:
*SB 2 provides for the establishment of river basin natural resource districts.
*SB 90 requires school districts to provide veterans a preference in employment.
*SB 95 revises provisions related to human trafficking.
*SB 124 revises the requirements for a petition for a minor boundary change.
*SB 126 revises the provisions concerning the general requirements that vehicle owners must satisfy before applying for military plates.
*SB 131 establishes provisions regarding stray electrical current and voltage remediation.
*SB 136 excludes municipal taxes from the gross receipts used to determine the tax liability for customers served by electric cooperatives.
*SB 186 revises the procedure for the execution of a warrant.
*SB 191 revises provisions regarding capital outlay certificates and lease purchase agreements of school districts and the pledge of foundation program aid to secure such obligations.
*HB 1136 revises provisions concerning the administration of un-locatable mineral, leasehold, or royalty interests passed both the House and Senate on consent. Rep. Marty and I are the prime sponsors of HB 1136 that we brought on behalf of the counties where there is mineral activity.
To contact me call the Senate Chamber at 773-3821 and leave a message. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and the FAX number is 773-6806. Address the fax to Sen. Betty Olson.