All of the bills are entered into the legislative process now. Over the course of the next month, we will finalize, debate, and determine whether legislation will become law or wait until next year to take that action. I appreciate hearing from many of you who have contacted me to express your opinions on removing daylight savings time and the student restroom privacy legislation.
House Bill 1008 is the transgender restroom privacy bill that we will have up for a hearing in the Senate Education committee, where I have the privilege of serving along with six fellow Senators. I respect those of you who think this bill will be a cure-all to every situation; however, I am troubled by the extra costs that may be shifted to school districts to accommodate the requests of HB 1008. I am in support of local control and if school districts see a need to deal with this issue, they have every ability to handle the restroom and locker room situations for potential transgender students and their peers.
Many of you have contacted me expressing your disappointment with HB1067. This bill was introduced by those in the medical insurance industry who are trying to overturn Initiated Measure 17 from the last election, against voter’s wishes. I will not support HB1067. Instead, I shall respect the will of the voters and the ability of health insurance customers to be able to choose their health care provider as much as possible.
I introduced three pieces of legislation recently. One will put in place landowner protections for the use and threat of eminent domain. Another would create a special cleanup fund for the Keystone tar sands oil pipeline. Finally, I introduced a bill to give more credit to the number of axles in determining truck weight limits.
Recently in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, I introduced legislation authorizing the usage of night-vision equipment for hunting on farmland. I have heard concerns from folks in our district regarding coyotes and other predatory animals venturing onto their property and the dangers that poses for livestock. I previously had worked to pass Senate Bill 104 in 2014, which authorized the use of night-vision. This bill adds to the previous bill by changing the weapon used. Previously, people would have been required to use rimfire cartridges, which is unlikely to kill a coyote. Instead, I am proposing an update for rifle cartridges with a bullet diameter up to .225 inches. Under the provisions of SB 58 the landowner or tenant would be required to join up to four guests when they utilize the tools of night vision equipment. The reason for increasing the caliber of weapon to be used is to ensure that an ethical taking of the predator happens. Currently with a rimfire/.22 limit, it is tough to take down coyotes especially when the fur is prime in the middle of winter. We want to ensure that we are killing these animals ethically, not hitting them and then allowing them to run off and die long, painful deaths. We also want to save our livestock from potential harm. Some people may wonder why farmers and ranchers wouldn’t invite the state trapper in for these situations. The reasoning behind this is the animal damage control officers are covering multiple counties and can’t always help to respond to livestock killing coyotes. This bill passed in committee and if passed by the Senate, this bill will help keep our livestock safe.
In Senate Education this week, we heard legislation for a math pilot project at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. This program was attempted last year as a way to prepare many of the students who attend the School of Mines and are required to take several advanced courses in mathematics. The school discovered in recent years that students were not performing well in these required courses for their degree. I advocated for pre-collegiate courses that help students be more successful, especially courses that don’t put more financial burden on our college students. I wish we could accomplish this across the entire Regental system. The bill passed in committee and will move on to Appropriations with a “Do Pass” recommendation.
Over the course of the past two weeks, I am proud to report that the Governor’s Office, along with the Department of Transportation, plans to develop a program to help replace small bridges that are scattered on township and county roads. These small bridges are not covered by the road and bridge funding we approved last year. If everything works as planned, there will be roughly $1-2 million of state funding. A county assessment program will be put in place to identify these dangerous structures and get them replaced with culverts, which will have few limits as the existing bridges. Please keep in touch on the issues that are important to you. I can be reached at 605-949-2204 and firstname.lastname@example.org