The busiest week of the 2019 session is now history. Monday was “cross over day”, the day when every bill has to have been acted on and either sent on to the other chamber or defeated. It was a long day, taking until 9:30 to get through all the bills.
Highlights from the House this past week:
HB1265 is one idea to solve the uncertainties left by the “Partridge amendment”. In 2016, that amendment was the final piece of the legislation that raised the state sales tax to 4-1/2% to fund pay raises for teachers. The amendment said that if we were ever able to tax Internet sales, the extra ½% tax would be rolled back one tenth of a percent for every $20 million of Internet sales tax collected. This past summer, when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of South Dakota, taxing Internet sales became a reality. The Partridge amendment, however, lacked details on how to do the role back that it mandated. HB1265 would have us track all sales tax (Brick & Mortar and Internet) together, apply an annual CPI inflation to last years collection figure and then, if the amount collected exceeds that calculation by the $20 million, we apply the decreased sales tax rate for the next year. This is a simple idea that protects needed revenue while making it easy to track and monitor the growth due to Internet sales. Because it has an automatic “trigger”, it also helps ensure future legislatures live up to the 2016 promise. I voted for this bill.
HJR1006 would have sent to the voters a constitutional amendment making legislative terms 4 years instead of 2. Supporters noted the loss of legislative energy and voter fatigue from having an election every 2 years. They also rightly argued that our 2-year terms shift power away from the legislature and increase the power of the executive branch. In spite of those reasons, I voted with the majority and this bill was defeated. While the 2-year terms can be burdensome, they do insure that legislators stay connected to the people they represent. For me, that more than offset any negative implications.
SB55 would require every public school to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in a prominent location. School principals will get to decide if it is a mounted plaque, student artwork or something else. It was interesting to hear testimony that both houses of Congress – and without a single dissenting vote, officially adopted our National motto after decades of use on our money, in 1956. I wonder what the vote would be today?! I voted for this bill, which passed 47/19 and is heading to the Governor for one final look.
In service to God and you,
John Mills, Representative, District 4 firstname.lastname@example.org OR John.Mills@sdlegislature.gov