S.D. legislative update
This was the third week of the 2014 legislature and we’re getting pretty busy. All our House bill drafts with sponsors had to be dropped in LRC by 5pm on Friday, January 31 and legislators were really scrambling to get signatures in time to meet the deadline. At the end of the day on Friday there were 210 House bills and 155 Senate bills filed, but guessing from the activity the last couple days, those numbers are going to increase.
There are currently over 40 bills that have been introduced regarding education. The bills cover a broad array of topics, including Common Core standards, use of capital outlay funds, regulation of the SD High School Activities Association, adjustments to the education formula, and requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in every public school classroom at the start of the day. Much debate will occur about education issues throughout this session.
Landowners and sportsmen have had several meetings since the start of session regarding non-meandered lakes legislation that will determine public access to such bodies of water. This is the result of a SD Supreme Court Decision in 2004 (Parks v. Cooper) in which the Court ruled it is ultimately up to the legislature to decide how water resources are to be beneficially used in the public interest. The legislature debated legislation regarding the matter in 2005 and again in 2013, however, legislation was not passed. This will be the third attempt.
A meandered lake is a body of water, except streams, located within the meander lines shown on plats made by the Federal Bureau of Land Management. A meander line is a series of courses and distances to delineate the area of a body of water. It is not a boundary line, nor does it convey land ownership information. Water levels have increased in northeast South Dakota over the past decade. As a result, many small lakes that were once exclusively on private property and never designated as “meandered” have grown into much larger bodies of water that have become attractive to the public for recreation. These property owners pay taxes on the land that is under water, but are not able to stop trespassing over their flooded land. Under current law, the public has access to water resources so long as the water adjoins public property – including roads and section lines. The new legislation will clarify which bodies of water on flooded lands the public will have access to.
These are the bills that passed out of House Ag and Natural Resources Committee this week: My bill, HB 1068, to allow the use of dogs to hunt mountain lions outside of the Black Hills passed unanimously and was put on consent calendar. HB 1076 to revise requirements relating to party fishing was also put on consent. HB 1081 to revise the computation of the promotional fee on wheat passed and will come to the House on Tuesday.
Only two bills were passed in the House Local Government Committee this week: My bill, HB 1066 to revise provisions restricting the presence of firearms in public buildings passed out of committee, but was defeated on the House floor.
HB 1074 to revise provisions concerning actions prohibited near polling places also passed.
These are some of the bills that passed the House and have been sent to the Senate:
*HB 1012 to provide for free resident fishing licenses for entities teaching basic fishing skills.
*HB 1014 to increase the nonrefundable application fee for resident bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and elk licenses.
*HB 1015 will create an equitable process to handle water right applications submitted for aquifers determined to be fully appropriated by the Water Management Board.
*HB 1028 revises the amount counties may be reimbursed for the detainment of parole violators.
*HB1031 to revise provisions related to the definition of and the diagnosing of autism and to revise the definition of a level five disability for purposes of state aid for special education funding.
*HB 1032 to revise provisions regarding children placed in residential treatment centers or intensive residential treatment centers.
*HB 1033 to revise provisions regarding the open enrollment application review process of siblings of open enrolled students.
*HB 1034 to revise provisions relating to dam maintenance and repair funding and to declare an emergency.
*HB 1041 to make an appropriation for the railroad trust fund and to declare an emergency.
*HB 1079 authorizes emergency lighting on vehicles operated by ambulance service personnel.
The Governor’s Office has released two audit reports that were commissioned as a result of the investigations regarding Northern Beef and its utilization of the federal E-B5 program. The two audit reports that have been completed are from Eide Bailly & Stulken Peterson. The reports are available to the public at http://www.sdreadytowork.com/Financing-and-Incentives–Public-Records.aspx.
The Department of Legislative Audit is also performing a financial and compliance audit of the financial statements for all government funds in the economic development office. In addition, the legislature is considering a resolution that, if passed by both houses, would activate the Joint Committee on Government Operations and Audit to hold hearings on GOED to further review the matter.
To contact me in Pierre, call the House Chamber number 773-3851. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org during session. You can keep track of bills and committee meetings at this link: http://legis.sd.gov/