Last Thursday was the deadline for unlimited bill introduction. After that, any legislator may only introduce 3 bills or resolutions before the hard deadline of next Thursday, February 4th. I have one left that the Legislative Research Council staff are working on, but if it’s not done in time, we’ll move on it next year. The idea for that hit me while sitting in a PUC briefing, and I hope to see it by Tuesday. Many bills were turned in just before the first deadline last Thursday, so I expect the pace of our committee work to pick up dramatically this week, and we’ve got some big issues to tackle.
This Wednesday, our Commerce and Energy Committee is finally scheduled to hear testimony on the bill I’ve definitely received the most feedback on so far this session. HB 1067 was originally scheduled last Wednesday, but a delay was requested by both sides, and a week was granted. HB 1067 is most commonly referred to as the “any willing provider” bill or a re-hash of 2014’s IM 17. The issue at stake is whether the large network health care plans can offer an exclusively in network plan or if they must accept any willing provider. The sponsors claim this is a slightly different issue than IM17, and the opponents believe this bill guts IM 17 that passed by 62% of South Dakota voters. I have been receiving about 6 emails an hour over the weekend, and I expect that to increase dramatically as Wednesday draws nearer. I doubt that we’ll get a chance to hear all of the testimony in one committee hearing, so this could be around for a while.
Also coming up this week, we will finally see the bills that the Governor has been talking the most about. The Blue Ribbon Task Force recommendations and the Medicaid Expansion legislation should be posted this week, so we’ll finally get a chance to see everything in writing, so we can look line by line and evaluate the concrete proposals. I have problems with what I’ve heard about both of them, but I’ve been waiting to see the proposal in writing before I start opining too loudly. As always, you may email me directly with your input and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for the opportunity to serve you in Pierre!