In the House this week we debated and passed:
HB1006 – This bill is the result of an Ag land assessment work group. It would allow additional Ag land data (beyond the current soil mapping) to be used to improve the accuracy of assessments. This will give assessors more tools and provide our Ag producers the opportunity for a fairer assessment based on their specific use and conditions.
HB1063 – After a long debate, the House passed this one on a 43/24 vote. The bill would increase the age for buying tobacco products to 21. Vaping products are part of the “tobacco” category in South Dakota. Currently you can buy vaping products at 18, and that has proven to be a real problem for our schools. Increasing the age for all tobacco to 21 will reduce the access and help school officials enforce their smoking bans.
HB1057 is the big news bill of the week. Called the “Vulnerable Child Protection Act”, this bill protects children from the irreversible harm of unneeded sex reassignment surgeries, drugs and hormones. It shocked me and others to learn that young children in South Dakota are being given puberty blockers, and mega doses of opposite sex hormones, simply because they “identify” as the other sex. Feelings and identity are conditions of the mind that change over time. The evidence is strong that if kids are allowed to go through natural puberty, the vast majority of those who had “gender dysphoria” when they were younger, will align with their biology. I strongly support this bill. Kids deserve a chance to grow naturally and discover who they are. After a lengthy debate, it passed on a 46/23 vote.
Each of the bills noted above now head to the Senate. Remember, that every bill has to make it through both chambers (House and Senate) and across the Governor’s desk before becoming law. Contact your Senator and the Governor to express your views on any of these that are important to you.
I am still hearing confusion about the loss of “internet tax”. Here is what you need to know. The U.S. Congress decided that states could no longer tax Internet service beginning July 1. This includes your home and business Internet as well as your cell phone service. Congress believes these are basic needs and should not be taxed. South Dakota has been collecting about $23 million annually in taxes on these services. You should watch for a reduction in your monthly bill in August. Internet purchases of products like clothing, furniture, tools, etc. will continue to be taxed.
In service to God and you,
John Mills, Representative, District 4