Increased teacher pay is an issue that has been front and center this entire legislative session and I am proud to have been a...

FRERICHS_JASON_2015Increased teacher pay is an issue that has been front and center this entire legislative session and I am proud to have been a part of the solution. We all know the increased sales tax will affect every South Dakotan, but I am confident we can build from the success of HB 1182 and address the impact on poor people. I also know that we have to find some relief for beginning farmers and ranchers who will be subject to the extra sales tax on large machinery purchases.

Medicaid Expansion will still be an ongoing issue that we unfortunately don’t have a finalized plan as we approach the end of this legislative session.  I am disappointed and impatient when it comes to taking advantage of this Federal investment to South Dakota along with making necessary changes to Indian Health Services care for our fellow South Dakotans.

Thank you to my friends in the House of Representatives for giving their support to Senate Bill 58 which is an effort I have sponsored to increase the caliber up to at least .225 for night vision hunting of coyotes and other predators. I will ask for concurrence in the Senate on the changes made in the House to the bill to make it more focused.

HB 1182 increases the sales tax one-half percent on sales and use tax along with machinery excise and amusement devices. This increase in taxes will be dedicated roughly 60% to teachers and 40% for property tax relief in all classes of property. Machinery excise tax should not have been included with this increase because it is a separate excise tax that roughly 10 years ago was raised from 3 to 4% in a trade for taking the tax off parts and repairs. This is bad policy to roll the machinery excise tax in with all sales taxes; especially when very few states even tax farm equipment. Farmers and ranchers will pay a disproportionate part of this tax increase at a time when we struggle to bring the next generation into the production agriculture business. I have drafted an amendment which will be attached to a different bill (HB 1144) that will correct this wrong and remove the increase to farm machinery excise tax and yet still maintain the teacher pay investment. I want to thank equipment dealers and fellow farmers and ranchers who have expressed to me their wishes to maintain the separation between sales taxes and excise taxes.

Country of Origin Meat Labeling (COOL) is an issue that has been relevant for the past fourteen years mostly at a national level but also at the state level. I am proud to report that a majority of the South Dakota Legislature has given solid support for HCR 1016 in support of country of origin meat labeling. 69 of the 105 total legislators voted for the resolution which is great news for fellow beef producers and consumers. This past fall the World Trade Organization ruled against country of origin labeling (COOL) but the work continues at a state level to explore our options to get COOL back into law.

It is my pleasure to continue to represent northeast South Dakota in the State Legislature. As we wrap up the 91st Legislative Session and pass a budget, I will be realistic of the fact that we have a fragile agriculture economy. Sales tax collections recently are decreasing and we have uncertainty throughout rural South Dakota. We still need to look for optimism on the horizon and I am confident we will grow our way out of these tough times in production agriculture which will in turn help out our State economy. Please keep in touch on the issues important to you. My cell is 605.949.2204 and email is and my website is


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