SD Stockgrowers Association Legislative Update
March 3, 2017
How to balance the budget for the coming year remains the big question in Pierre. Next week is the last week of session and the state constitution requires a balanced answer before legislators may go home. Several topics will likely fly back and forth quite rapidly in the closing days.
Stockgrowers' Legislative Issues
This Week's Activity
SB 130, to increase the fee for licensing agents, created an opportunity to beef up funding for depredation and animal damage control. We worked with Representatives Bartling and Rhoden in support of an amendment to also increase the fee that may be charged by GF&P. Those increased fees will be deposited directly into the Animal Damage Control fund and the Wildlife Damage fund to help reimburse landowners for damages caused by game animals. Per the amendment, GF&P shall provide a report to the Legislature each year concerning the use of the money deposited in the funds. The House Ag committee passed the bill as amended.
The discussion to fund the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab came to a head this week. The original fees proposed by the Governor's office have been deleted and replaced with a proposal to use the monies generated by last session's half cent sales tax. Some of that money was intended to be used for property tax relief but will now be used to fund the ADRDL facility and is moving forward. However, the issue has been clouded with inclusion of a permanent agriculture development fund in the legislation which would set aside additional money. Stockgrowers' lobbyist testified against the bill (HB 1157) on Thursday in the Senate Agriculture committee. This entire discussion will continue and Stockgrowers will be a part of those.
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Next week's activity
We will be supporting SB 130 as it goes to the House floor and then back to the Senate for concurrence. We're excited for this opportunity to increase funding to the ADC and WDM programs.
Following our testimony against HB 1157 we are working with Senate leadership in an effort to press our case regarding the ag development fund.
SB 176 which is the Governor's public safety bill will be considered by the House State Affairs committee on Monday. Stockgrowers offered amendments that would pull back some of the Governor's authority to declare these new "public safety zones". We encourage members who are concerned about this legislation to contact committee members by CLICKING HERE.
If you have any questions or comments about this week's report or about activities in Pierre, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
–South Dakota Stockgrowers Association