Greetings from Pierre, Once again we have Legislators that evidently think that you voters aren’t smart enough to know what you are voting for...

PETERSON_JAMES_2015Greetings from Pierre,

Once again we have Legislators that evidently think that you voters aren’t smart enough to know what you are voting for when you pass an Initiated Measure. We Legislators are receiving many e-mails from Sanford employees asking us to repeal IM 17, the measure that would allow you to choose your own doctor. The “Patient Choice” Initiated Measure passed by 62%, but House Bill 1067 would overturn the will of the people. I can only hope all will comply with the law so we can see if it works.

We once again have a pile of what I call “postcard bills”. If you oppose these bills, you will be attacked with postcards at the next election. I have always voted pro-life and belong to the NRA, but I think we have way too many gun and abortion bills. Some legislators must not feel safe in the Capitol because there are several bills allowing Legislators to carry guns. I can’t even imagine what would happen if someone shot down from one of the chamber galleries and Legislators shot back with bullets bouncing off the granite walls with students seated in the gallery. We passed a law years ago banning abortion as soon as the Supreme Court allowed us. Now we throw in the transgender bills and the right to refuse service to gays or even pregnant single women. Some of these bills could end up in lawsuits that have a habit of costing the state a million dollars each.

Farmers will want to watch the progress of HB 1058 which is an Act to revise the procedure for recovery of abandoned mineral interests. A group of lawyers brought this bill because of the great difficulty tracking down owners of mineral rights who have not recorded a mailing address. A mineral interest will be abandoned if it has not been used for a period of 23 years and returned to the owner of the surface estate.

The Governor has introduced 4 bills dealing with his plan to provide more funding for schools to raise teacher pay. SB 131, 132, 133, and HB 1182 are the four bills that accomplish the Governor’s plan for education. The bills require schools to use 90% of new funding for teacher salaries and provide $40 million from the sales tax to lower property taxes for all classes of property. Please Google the S.D. LRC and you will find links to these bills. The main downside to his proposal is that statewide 400 teaching positions aren’t funded.

I ended up being the Senate prime sponsor of 16 House and Senate bills. Two dealing with the assessment of Agricultural Land, one bill for overwidth farm equipment, one concerning taxation of buffer strips along lakes, rivers, and streams, one to make sure tax is collected on gas consumed along pipelines by the pipeline company, one dealing with vehicle dealers, and several dealing with eminent domain and surveys of property.  Two bills are about employment applications, one about local government, two concern municipal elections, one to provide access to abandoned cemeteries and one Resolution urging the Federal Government to refrain from enacting regulations that affect the reliability and affordability of electric power.

Senator Jim Peterson



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