We’ve completed the 7th week of session and things are moving full-tilt. Monday was cross-over day. That’s the deadline when all voting must be done on bills in the chamber of origin before they “cross-over” to the other chamber. Those bills that don’t, automatically die. In commemoration, the decades-old tradition is to wear black. If you see a picture of the legislature from Monday and it looks like everyone’s going to a funeral, now you know why.
Major bills heard this week include:
Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-2 to recommend repealing current law for presumptive probation for many lower-level felonies. On the Senate floor the measure failed on a 12-18 vote. Governor Noem opposed the repeal because it would have cost state government an estimated $4 million per year to care for an estimated 280 more inmates and $14 million to build a second prison for women. The measure is dead for the year.
A bill to strengthen state laws banning texting while driving previously passed through the House and Senate committee but died on the Senate Floor when the vote tied 17-17. Tied votes mean the issue fails. The issue is now dead.
The House State Affairs Committee amended a bill on an 11-2 vote over the wishes of the senate sponsor. The sponsor’s original bill mandated pregnant mothers hear the heartbeat of their unborn baby before having an abortion. The amended bill, supported by Right to Life, requires the abortionist to “offer” the pregnant mother the opportunity to hear the heartbeat, but strikes the mandate the pregnant mother must hear it. I believe the amendment is reasonable, but the sponsor is not happy. The bill next heads to the House Floor.
Local Gun Violations
The Senate gave final approval to direct the state attorney general to take action against any local government like cities or counties that enact firearm and ammo ordinances in violation of state law. Current state law requires local governments comply, but does not authorize the AG to take action if a violation occurs. This bill fixes that. It now goes on to the governor for her consideration.
The Senate approved a bill prohibiting misbranding of meat products 33-0. The bill now moves to the House for a hearing.
The Senate voted 20-13 to allow people with enhanced permits to bring concealed firearms into the Capitol if they notify security beforehand. It now heads to the House for a hearing. I have questions about the bill and have not yet made up my mind.
The Senate rejected a bill to allow firearms on all state universities and technical school campuses on a 10-24 vote.
Governor Noem’s idea to raffle hunting licenses for South Dakota big game animals passed the Senate on a 29-4 vote. The measure now heads to the House for a hearing. If passed, the measure will raise money to boost wildlife habitat.
Compulsory Education Age
The House Education Committee voted 8-6 to lower the compulsory age for school attendance from 18 to 16. I voted to keep the age at 18 since I don’t believe it’s right to give up on our kids, even if they are disruptive. The state just implemented a new dual education track to allow high school students to select a more vocationally-oriented graduation track that will hopefully stimulate the interest of some students that otherwise would drop out. The bill now goes to the full House for a floor vote. I think this bill is a bad idea.
That’s it for now. Please feel free to contact me at any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you make it to the Capitol, please look me up.
Life is good. Have a great week. – Fred