The saying goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but that is exactly what is happening in Pierre. You see in 2020 we are making the leap to 100% digital. Going digital means that many traditions and processes are gone. As you can imagine, there is some confusion and a little frustration. My assessment is that the bugs are being worked out nearly as fast as they are discovered, and I believe in the end, we will have a better system. For example, when an amendment was introduced on paper, only those present could see it. With the new system, anyone, anywhere, with a computer and a connection will be able to follow along. These kinds of changes will improve communication, transparency, and hopefully public confidence. I encourage everyone to start a MyLRC account and learn along with us. Just Google “SD MyLRC” and you will find it. If you have trouble doing that, just do what I do, ask the youngest person in the room to show you .
HB1057 is the big news bill of the week. Called the “Vulnerable Child Protection Act”, this bill will protect children from the irreversible harm of unneeded sex reassignment surgeries, drugs and hormones. District 4’s own Representative Fred Deutsch is the bills prime sponsor. I am a co-sponsor and strongly support this bill. I will let Rep. Deutsch explain it further in his column.
A highlight of the week included a visit from the Sioux Valley senior Government class. They, and their instructor, Jordan Fast, looked sharp when I caught up with them in the hall outside the Governor’s office. We had a great question and answer exchange right there. Later, it was a privilege to stand with them in the House chamber to hear the session opening prayer and recite the pledge of allegiance. I never tire of that tradition. Their classmate, Austen King was there as well, finishing out his service as a legislative Page. It was great to watch them witness their government in action. In their “language”, it might read something like – #bestcivicslessonever
Another highlight was Thursday’s Legislative Memorial service, where families of former legislators (who died in 2019) joined all current legislators in a reflective time, remembering their service to South Dakota. T. Loren Christianson (Representative 1977-1994), Gary Drake (Representative 1975-1978) and Joyce Hodges (Representative 1987-1994), were among the 15 former legislators we lost this past year. They each served parts of what is now legislative District 4. As their names were read and their picture displayed, a rose for each one was carried silently across the front, from one vase to another.
The reminder in the hushed chamber was clear – we live to serve those who follow.
In service to God and you,
John Mills, Representative, District 4