The Sly amendment and small school district consolidation

Yesterday Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) attempted to introduce a new bill in the Senate on veto day in order to fix the “Sly amendment” to SB 131 (SoDakLiberty Posts). In order to do so he had to get his motion to suspend the rules approved by his fellow legislators. I didn’t think his little move would work, and it didn’t. In this post I will look briefly at the Sly amendment and my speculation as to what it means.

SD House Gallery during the debate of HB 1182. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.
SD House Gallery during the debate of HB 1182. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.

Before speaking of SB 131 it might be worth taking a few sentences to talk about HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HB 1182 was the sales tax increase to give more money to teachers and reduce property taxes for everyone but farmers (actually HB 1044 (SoDakLiberty Posts) has the policy that screwed over ag land). The teachers union and school administrations did a good job of bringing a lot of attention to this bill. Included in this post is a picture of the House gallery as HB 1182 was being debated. The gallery was full of teachers and administrators. A LOT of attention on was placed on this bill, and away from SB 131. HB 1182 had little or nothing to do with whether teachers got a pay raise. It was one of almost a half dozen proposals to fund a pay raise, but it did nothing to actually control that pay raise. Teachers should have been more interested in SB 131 than worrying about which revenue increase to back.

SB 131 is the bill where attention should have been placed. Yet the galleries were basically empty in each chamber as SB 131 was debated. This bill actually sets the policy as to how the new revenues will be handled to increase teacher pay. At the most basic level this is being done by allocating money to schools on a per teacher basis instead of a per student basis. That means schools will have to maintain certain ratios to actually give the intended pay raises to teachers. The bill originally had small schools maintain a ratio of 12.5 students per teacher; that was later amended to 12 students per teacher to ease the suffering of small schools.

It my opinion, and the opinion of many others I’ve spoken with, this ratio is being used to force consolidation of school districts. Maintaining teacher pay for small school districts will be difficult, if not impossible, under this new formula. These small schools simply will not be able to compete with the larger districts for teachers. Personally I am a fan of consolidation and think it should happen. But I don’t think consolidation should be forced utilizing this dishonest method. There have already been signs of school administrators from smaller districts realizing what this new student/teacher ratio will do for them.

SB 131 did have one provision to slow down the pain of this forced consolidation. This bill used the definition of “fall enrollment” from § 13-13-10.1 to calculate this student/teacher ration. Here is the current definition of fall enrollment, which is also used up until the Sly amendment:

(2A)      “Fall enrollment,” the number of kindergarten through twelfth grade students enrolled in all schools operated by the school district on the last Friday of September of the current school year minus the number of students for whom the district receives tuition, except nonresident students who are in the care and custody of a state agency and are attending a public school and students for whom tuition is being paid pursuant to § 13-28-42.1, plus the number of students for whom the district pays tuition. When computing state aid to education for a school district pursuant to § 13-13-73, the secretary of the Department of Education shall use either the school district’s fall enrollment or the average of the school district’s fall enrollment from the previous two years, whichever is higher;

I have bolded the key part above. Currently there is a two-year average calculated for each school district. Then either the current fall enrollment or the two-year average, whichever is higher, will be used for state aid to education purposes. That technically helps to insulate a school if there is a year where there is an abnormally low enrollment rate that does not fit with the normal enrollment trend. It also slows down the bleeding of money for school districts that are continuously losing students, which is currently happening in many small school districts. The simple fact of the matter is people are moving away from the more rural towns in favor of the more urban areas. This is a trend that is going to continue in all likelihood. The two-year averaging for fall enrollment is helping small schools to mitigate at least part of the pressure from declining enrollment.

Rep Jacqueline Sly speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.
Rep Jacqueline Sly speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.

Now to the Sly amendment. Rep Jacqueline Sly (R, Dist 33) proposed Amendment 131cm on the House floor. This amendment took away the two-year averaging from the definition of fall enrollment. Here is how fall enrollment is now defined for the purpose of determining state aid to education:

   (2A)    “Fall enrollment,” the number of kindergarten through twelfth grade students enrolled in all schools operated by the school district on the last Friday of September of the current school year minus the number of students for whom the district receives tuition, except nonresident students who are in the care and custody of a state agency and are attending a public school and students for whom tuition is being paid pursuant to § 13-28-42.1, plus the number of students for whom the district pays tuition. When computing state aid to education for a school district pursuant to § 13-13-73, the secretary of the Department of Education shall use the school district’s fall enrollment;

Without that two-year cushion the effects of declining enrollment will hit many school districts hard, especially small school districts. These districts are likely already using the two-year average to cushion their ongoing decline. This sudden change in law means the full impact of declining enrollment will be felt suddenly. That sudden drop will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the school boards in these districts to give the pay raises that teachers feel have been promised to them.

On veto day Sen Frerichs tried to introduce a bill to undo the Sly amendment. The Senate voted 13-20 in his motion to suspend the rules and introduce the bill. They simply were not going to fix this problem. I believe that is because many of them do not see this as a problem. As I said, I believe this bill was intended to force consolidation. The Sly amendment will likely force consolidation of some smaller school districts sooner than would have happened without the Sly amendment. The legislators voting on this bill understood the ramifications and were OK with that.

Perhaps the real lesson in the Sly amendment had nothing at all to do with the Sly amendment. I believe the real lesson here is that interested parties should place just as much, if not more, attention on the policy bills as they do on the appropriations bills. If the teachers unions, school administrators, and teachers had paid a little more attention to SB 131 I have a feeling the Sly Amendment would not have even been tried. It should be interesting to see what teacher pay looks like this upcoming school year…

None of Governor Daugaard’s vetoes overridden in the 2016 legislative session

SD Governor Dennis Daugaard. Photo by Ken Santema 12/10/16.
SD Governor Dennis Daugaard. Photo by Ken Santema 12/10/16.

Yesterday was the final day of the South Dakota legislative session. The legislature had to consider three regular vetoes and two style and form vetoes in yesterdays session. As to the two style and form vetoes, one was agreed to and the other was not. There was also one veto earlier in the session, the infamous transgender locker room bill HB 1008 (SoDakLiberty Posts). That makes a total of four regular vetoes for the session. The legislature did no override the Governor on any of these vetoes. I should note there are technically five regular vetoes instead of four, but I’ll get to that in a moment when I talk about SB 64.

Below is a brief look at the vetoes from yesterday. I’m not going into any detail on any of these bills. The vetoed bills from below are likely to come back next year in a revised form. There will be more than enough time to look deeper into these topics at that time.

SB 64 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the voting authority of an alderman.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This was first of two style and form vetoes by the Governor. My post looking at this bill after its veto can be read here.  This also happens to be one of the bills that came about due to corrupt city council dealings in Hartford.

The Senate agreed to the Governor’s proposed changes 25-8. But then in the House the changes were shot down 7-57.

The consideration of the style and form veto in the House was odd. It appeared there wasn’t any ready to speak about the bill, so Rep Tona Rozum (R, Dist 20) stood to talk about a couple of problems with the proposed style and form changes. Apparently the removal of the word “or” made it so a majority vote would be needed for any appropriations votes of these councils; at the same time it left the statute unclear as to how other non-appropriations votes would be done. Second, the proposed change removed the ability of the mayor to break a tie, which is exactly what they are supposed to do.

This bill will probably come back next year with some cleaned up language. It should also be noted that his bill is now counted as a vetoed bill instead of a style and form veto. Here is an excerpt from  Art. IV, § 4 of the SD Constitution dealing with style and form vetoes:

Bills with errors in style or form may be returned to the Legislature by the Governor with specific recommendations for change. Bills returned shall be treated in the same manner as vetoed bills except that specific recommendations for change as to style or form may be approved by a majority vote of all the members of each house. If the Governor certifies that the bill conforms with the Governor’s specific recommendations, the bill shall become law. If the Governor fails to certify the bill, it shall be returned to the Legislature as a vetoed bill.

The governor did not certify the bill, so how it has been returned to the legislature as a vetoed bill. Since I don’t see the legislature reconvening for this one little veto I think it is pretty safe to assume this bill is now dead.

SB 65 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the procedure for a municipal recall petition.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This was second of two style and form vetoes by the Governor. My post looking at this bill after its veto can be read here. This also happens to be one of the bills that came about due to corrupt city council dealings in Hartford.

The proposed changes from this style and form veto passed both chambers easily. It passed the Senate floor 33-0 and the House floor 57-8. The governor has already signed the bill into law after receiving the bill back on his desk.

SB 96 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the expense reimbursement for members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Craig Tieszen (R, Dist 34) and Rep Mathew Wollmann (R, Dist 8) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here.  This might be a bill the legislature should leave in a veto state. As expected, this veto was sustained. The bill was well intended, but would have left the Board of Pardons and Paroles in a worse position than they are now. Next year I expect better written legislation will be brought forth.

SB 100 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here. This bill made it through both chambers quite strongly before being vetoed. I was glad to see this bill die in a veto. Any expansion of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is just bad. The senate did override the Governor’s veto 32-1. But on the House side there was enough resistance to the bill for it to fail getting a 2/3 majority vote. The final vote to override on the House floor to override the veto was 43-22.

SB 136 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Permit certain cropland along lakes, rivers, and streams to be assessed as noncropland.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here. I thought the legislature might actually overturn the veto on this bill. Not really because I care about buffer strips. But because I think it would have been a good opportunity for the legislature to show the Governor that it is the duty of the legislative branch to set policy, and not the executive branch. The Senate had more than enough votes to override the governor with a final tally of 32-1. But in the House there was a lot more resistance this bill, and fell short of a 2/3 majority with a tally of 37-28.

I will admit though there were problems with the bill mentioned on the House floor. But that is a post for a different day…

SD legislature Executive Board and Appropriations Committee meetings on Tues Mar 29

Sen Gary Cammack Speaking on the SD Senate floor. Cammack is the chair of the Executive Committee. Photo by Ken Santema 3/2/16.
Sen Gary Cammack Speaking on the SD Senate floor. Cammack is the chair of the Executive Committee. Photo by Ken Santema 3/2/16.

On Tuesday, March 29, the SD legislature Executive Board will hold its first interim session meeting 15 minutes after the SD House gavels out for the year. Then 15 minutes after the Executive Board meeting, the interim Joint Committee on Appropriations will meet for the first time of the 2016 interim session.

Here is the agenda for the Executive Board:

1. Call to Order Determination of Quorum Approval of the Agenda

2. Executive Board 2016 Interim Calendar

3. Other Business

4. Adjourn

Really the only thing to watch for with this meeting is what happens in the “Other Business” agenda item. That is somewhat vague…

Here is the agenda for the Joint Committee on Appropriations:

1. Call to Order
Determination of Quorum
Remarks from the Co-Chairs

2. Letters of Intent

3. Set Future Meeting Dates

4. JCA Transfer Approval as per SDCL4-8A-8

5. Adjourn

I didn’t pay much attention to this interim committee last year. Perhaps this year it would be worth looking into the letters of intent and blogging about those.

SD Senate will convene at 10 am on Tues Mar 29 to consider vetoes

SD Senate Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/03/16.
SD Senate Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/03/16.

On Tuesday, March 29, the South Dakota State Senate will convene at 10:00 am to consider gubernatorial vetoes. The SD House is scheduled to convene at 11:00 am. All five bill up for consideration are Senate bills, so all of them will start in that chamber. Two of the five bills are style and form vetoes; so the legislature has to decide whether to agree with the Governor’s changes. Any of the five vetoes that are overridden in the Senate will then have to go to the House for consideration.

SB 64 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the voting authority of an alderman.

Status: Style and Form Veto by the Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This was first of two style and form vetoes by the Governor. My post looking at this bill after its veto can be read here.  This also happens to be one of the bills that came about due to corrupt city council dealings in Hartford.

I don’t see a problem with any of the style and form changes proposed by the Governor. Perhaps a lawyer will look at the new wording and have problems with it; but as of now I would think the legislature should agree with the Governors changes.

SB 65 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the procedure for a municipal recall petition.

Status: Style and Form Veto by the Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This was second of two style and form vetoes by the Governor. My post looking at this bill after its veto can be read here. This also happens to be one of the bills that came about due to corrupt city council dealings in Hartford.

I don’t see a problem with any of the style and form changes proposed by the Governor. Perhaps a lawyer will look at the new wording and have problems with it; but as of now I would think the legislature should agree with the Governors changes.

SB 96 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the expense reimbursement for members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Craig Tieszen (R, Dist 34) and Rep Mathew Wollmann (R, Dist 8) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here.  This might be a bill the legislature should leave in a veto state. I think the original idea behind the bill was OK, but if the Governor is correct it simply isn’t a good bill in its final form. Perhaps someone will point out something in the floor debate to show why the governor is wrong.

SB 100 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here. This bill made it through both chambers quite strongly before being vetoed. Personally I hope this bill will die. Any expansion of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is just bad. I still find it odd the Governor would veto this bill, even if only it’s because this particular addition to the Building South Dakota slush fund doesn’t fit in his master plan.

SB 136 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Permit certain cropland along lakes, rivers, and streams to be assessed as noncropland.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors.

My post looking at this bill after its veto can be viewed here. This is the bill I think the legislature should overturn the veto on. Not really because I care about buffer strips. But because I think it would be a good opportunity for the legislature to show the Governor that it is the duty of the legislative branch to set policy, and not the executive branch.

A look at the final 9 bills signed into law by Governor Daugaard

On Friday, March 25, South Dakota Governor Daugaard announced the final nine bills he signed into law for the 2016 legislative session. This post will look at these final nine bills. I have dealt with his five announced vetoes from that day in previous posts.

SB 148 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize additional nursing facility beds for the Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veterans Home and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Health and Human Services is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Governor.

Veterans home floor plan from the SD Dept of Veterans Affairs website.
Veterans home floor plan from the SD Dept of Veterans Affairs website.

SB 148 allows an additional 24 nursing facility beds at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veterans Home. The new total allowed would now be 76 beds. Here is the breakdown of where these new beds are coming from as stated in the bills fiscal note:

The move in date for residents of the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home was January 13, 2016. The facility is a 133,000 square feet stacked two-story building with a lower level walkout main entrance. The 100-bed facility contains 52 skilled nursing beds on the main level and 48 non-skilled or residential living beds on the upper level. Senate Bill 148 authorizes an additional 24 nursing facility beds, to bring the total up to seventy-six beds stated in the bill. The additional 24 nursing facility beds would be created from the existing 48 non-skilled or residential living beds.

This bill made it through both chambers without a No vote.

SB 158 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to restitution in cases involving juveniles and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Alan Solano (R, Dist 32) and Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31) are the prime sponsors.

A lot of this is cleanup. One big change in this bill comes about due to last years juvenile justice bill, SB 73 (SoDakLiberty Posts), being passed. The statute for restitution was accidentally changed in that bill and has to be fixed now.

The bill was slightly amended on the Senate floor and passed 33-1. It then passed the House floor 64-3.

SB 159 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide a tax credit to insurance companies that contribute to an organization providing educational scholarships to certain students.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Phyllis Heineman (R, Dist 13) and Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) are the prime sponsors.

This was a contentious bill, and one many thought the Governor might veto. He didn’t.

SB 159 is an interesting bill. This bill allows certain insurance companies to contribute money to a scholarship to be used in private schools and then get a tax credit for up to 80% of the money donated. That would allow parents of any income to have the choice of sending their child to the school of their choice. This bill is aimed at allowing more poor families to have the choice of private school.

It was heavily amended in Senate Education. It then passed the Senate floor 24-11.

On the House side the bill was sent to Appropriations, which then proceeded to table the bill by a vote of 5-4. Rep. Gosch led an attempt to force the bill to the House floor via a smoke-out. That was successful, although the House Appropriations committee decided to send the bill to the floor with a Do Not Pass recommendation. Gosh was able to get the House floor to actually place the bill on the Calendar with a vote of 45-22. Then finally the House passed the bill 45-23.

This is a type of bill I used to be opposed to. But now I think the bill is worth supporting. It provides true school choice to more people. The testimony I listened to mentioned that this is fiscally neutral to the state, and possibly even save the state money; the amount of tax dollars lost by the state are made up by cost savings of the student leaving public school. It could maybe be argued that individual schools will lose some funding. But I think the ability to provide greater school choice overrides the little revenue that may be lost by individual schools.

HB 1005 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise and repeal certain fees that are established to compensate counties for services provided by county officials.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Mary Duvall (R, Dist 24) and Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) are the prime sponsors on behalf of the Interim Committee on County Government.

I have a post looking at most of these increases. Some of the repealed fees are ones no longer used. The other fee increases are an attempt to set fees to the cost of the County. And there were some fee increases for the Sheriffs.

I do agree with opponent testimony in the House Local Government meeting that many of these fee increases seemed pretty steep.

There was an amendment in House Local Government asked for by the DOR.

There were a couple other amendments offered in the House, but they failed.

I am not happy with fee or tax increases. But since I understand the situation the state has created for the counties I am not opposed to this bill; although I think a better solution would be for the state to stop mandating so many costs. Isn’t it funny how the legislature will keep shifting costs from the state to the counties, yet the state keeps the revenue it gets even though it has shifted the cost…

This bill passed the House floor 65-3 and the Senate floor 33-2.

HB 1044 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the state aid to general education formula.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Bureau of Finance and Management.

The yearly increase for K-12 funding. This is the bill where the property tax levies are set to ensure the state aid to local effort ratio is maintained. This is also where the property tax decreases from HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts) take effect. The final version of this bill has 0 property tax reduction for Ag. That made many of the Representatives working in the ag industry pretty unhappy. Both the owner-occupied and commercial property taxes go down…

This bill was amended in both chambers, but it really doesn’t matter because the conference committee report rolled in changes from HB 1182.

The final version of this bill passed the House 44-19 and the Senate floor 35-0.

HB 1060 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Lee Schoenbeck (R, Dist 5) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors.

This was the first hoghouse of the year. Originally the bill would have eliminated the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names (SDBGN). Rep Schoenbeck hoghoused the bill, which basically deleted the whole bill and inserted a new bill. The hoghoused version just limits the SDBGN to acting on name changes that have been authorized in state law. It may not act on its own looking for other things to rename.

I like the hoghoused version. It will allow the board to do what it was designed to do, without it growing into areas it has no business. That is what seemed to be happening with the board.

Senate State Affairs further amended the bill to allow the board to hold hearings on name changes not set forth by the legislature, but any recommendations would have to go to the legislature to be put in state law. I think that was an OK change. It is a good compromise between the two sides of the issue.

It passed House State Affairs 11-2 and the House floor 54-14. It then passed Senate State Affairs 9-0 and the Senate floor 31-2. Finally the House concurred with changes made in the Senate 67-0.

It might be worth watching the SDBGN going forward to see what hearings they have and whether they submit names for the legislature to change in the future.

HB 1088 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise and consolidate certain civil forfeiture provisions.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This was highly amended in House Judiciary. The amendment rewrote and reorganized the bill. Instead of moving statutes around, the amendment leaves the forfeiture laws where they are.

With that change I don’t see this bill as something worth supporting or caring about anymore.

It did die on the House floor 46-21. It was then reconsidered and passed 40-28.

In the Senate Judiciary committee it was highly amended. But that amendment didn’t really matter because that amendment was undone on the Senate floor, restoring the bill back to where it was when it was amended by House Judiciary.

The Senate then passed the bill 33-2 and the House concurred in the amended version of the bill 47-12 (I’m not sure why the House had to concur, since the Senate amendments were undone).

All this bill does now is to consolidate the process for civil forfeitures.

This is a bill I wanted to support in its original form. But it no longer requires a conviction before forfeiture of all types. Maybe next year some real forfeiture protections can be passed into law now that the statutes have been cleaned up this year.

HB 1145 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require accredited schools to accept transfer credits for courses taken by students from other accredited schools during the summer.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Steve Westra (R, Dist 13) and Sen Jim White (R, Dist 22) are the prime sponsors.

This was a hoghouse vehicle bill. It passed through House State Affairs, the House floor, and Senate State Affairs with no actual legislation. This was basically a blank check for the Senate to do with as they wish, without all the open government burdens of having committee meetings.

On the Senate floor this was filled with slightly amended contents from SB 69 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which had been killed on the House floor.

Currently some schools are not allowing transfer credits from summer schools in certain cases. This seems odd because it is from an accredited school. There are quite a few students that like to take summer classes to get ahead on their education. West Central in Hartford apparently does not allow this, even though such classes are available in Sioux Falls. Any of these West Central students that wish to take summer classes in Sioux Falls would not receive credit for the class on their transcript.

This bill would force a school to accept summer school credits from another school. It would require the student to notify their school prior to taking courses in another school. The schools would also have to decide whether certain classes meet their rigor requirements; that is important to decide whether a class will be counted towards graduation requirements, or just as an elective.

This bill went to Conference Committee. It was amended to remove a requirement that schools tell the Board of Education that another school is not offering accredited courses. (that seemed an odd part of the bill anyhow).

The final version of the bill passed the House floor 44-19 and the Senate floor 33-2.

Just because of the process used I feel this is a bill that should have died.

HB 1218 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require certain notice procedures for any revision of municipal ordinances.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Michele Harrison (R, Dist 23) and Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was hoghoused in House Local Government. This bill aims to make municipalities more transparent. It came about because a city council was going to use funds from a reserve account which some citizens disagreed with. The city council then said the funds would not be used. In the second reading of the ordinance there was a completely different ordinance with different language (basically what the state legislature would call a hoghouse).

This bill would make sure that if a bill has substantial changes on its second reading, there will be a five-day wait before it is read again so the public can read and prepare to testify on the change.

This looks like a good local open government bill.

This bill went through the House and Senate without a No vote.

Style and Form Vetoes by Governor Daugaard on the Harford bills

Screenshot of Hartford from the School & Public Lands GIS website.
Screenshot of Hartford from the School & Public Lands GIS website.

Today, March 25, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Style and Form Vetoes to two bills, SB 64 and SB 65. Both of these bills came about because of the dirty political dealings in Hartford. This post will briefly look at these two bills. These bills still have to go before the legislature next Tuesday to see if the legislature agrees with the style and form changes recommended by the Governor.

SB 64 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the voting authority of an alderman.

Status: Style and Form Veto by the Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This is a bill that shouldn’t be necessary. Yet it is because Hartford Council Chair Doyle Johnson decided it would be OK to vote twice in the absence of the mayor. One was his own vote, then he voted again acting as mayor. It is almost mind-boggling that anyone would try that. I have yet to ever hear it OK to vote twice on any kind of board.

This bill was amended in Senate Local Government. It clarified the language in the bill to make sure nothing is vague. The amendment also makes sure a council can actually conduct business when there are not enough members for a quorum.

It was further amended in House Local Government. I haven’t had time to listen to testimony yet, but see no red flags in the changes.

Other than that this bill has a lot of cleanup and language clarification for statutes dealing with aldermen.

This passed through the Senate without a No vote. It passed through House Local Government without a No vote after being amended. Finally it passed the House floor 61-4 and the Senate concurred with House changes 33-0.

Below is the Governors reason given for the style and form changes. The enrolled version of the bill discussed by Governor can be viewed here.

The bill as originally introduced resolved a narrow problem set forth by the bill’s proponents.  Other proposed changes to existing law were presented as style and form revisions to clarify existing law.  However, some of the proposed changes would create greater ambiguity or substantively alter the law in unintended ways.  These problems can be avoided by making the following style and form corrections to the Enrolled version of Senate Bill 64:

On page 3, Section 8, third sentence, after “the aldermen” insert “holding office”.

On page 3, Section 9, second sentence, after “vote of” insert “all”.

On page 3, Section 9, second sentence, after “the aldermen” insert “holding office”.

On page 3, Section 9, second sentence, after “or proposal” delete “, or”.

I respectfully request you concur with my recommendations as to style and form.

I don’t see a problem with any of these style and form changes. Perhaps a lawyer will look at the new wording and have problems with it.

SB 65 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the procedure for a municipal recall petition.

Status: Style and Form Veto by the Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Sen Scott Fiegen (R, Dist 25) and Rep Paula Hawks (D, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

Another Hartford bill. This bill clarifies the process for a recall election. It was amended by Senate Local Government to remove one part of the bill I didn’t like where a “statement of facts” would have to be checked. Now only signatures and the petition are checked for validity. This is a good bill, even if it shouldn’t have been necessary. But dirty politics in Hartford made it necessary.

House Local Government further amended the bill to add this language:

A failure to challenge petition signatures pursuant to §§ 12-1-13 to 12-1-16, inclusive, does not prohibit an interested person from challenging the filing of the recall petition or the sufficiency of the specific statement of the grounds of the recall petition.
    A challenge to the recall petition regarding the specific statement of the grounds of the recall petition must be filed in circuit court within five business days of the filing of the recall petition. The circuit court shall conduct an expedited declaratory judgment hearing with no right to trial by jury.

Gov Daugaard vetoes SB 96, increased expense reimbursement for Board of Pardons and Paroles

109604209Today, March 25, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced his veto of SB 96, a bill “to revise the expense reimbursement for members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles”. This post will briefly look at the bill. It still has to go before the legislature next Tuesday to see if the veto will be overridden.

SB 96 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the expense reimbursement for members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Craig Tieszen (R, Dist 34) and Rep Mathew Wollmann (R, Dist 8) are the prime sponsors.

This was the only veto of the year I really didn’t expect.

Originally this bill would have set a $200 per day minimal per diem for the Board of Pardons and Paroles. I found this odd until I heard the Senate Judiciary committee hearing. After hearing testimony I will agree this board does ask a lot more of its members than other boards do. This board has its members almost acting as quasi state employees and they meet for a week at a time doing their work in the prisons.

The Bureau of Finance & Management testified against the bill in Joint Appropriations.  Joint Appropriations amended the bill to get rid of the $200 per day idea and replace it with this:

Each member shall receive expense reimbursement at the amount fixed for the per diem allowance that is authorized by the United States Internal Revenue Service to be excluded from the gross income without itemization as of October first each year

That makes it about $140 per day, plus travel costs. That is similar to how the legislators get their pay for work done on summer studies.

SB 96 then passed through Appropriations 18-0 and the Senate floor 34-1. It was then slightly amended on the House floor to clean the bill up and remove duplicative language. The amended bill made it through the House 63-4 and the Senate concurred with the amendment 33-0.

Here is the reason Governor Daugaard gave for his veto:

The bill, in its original form, would have increased compensation for members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles by raising the per diem paid to the members from $75 to a minimum of $200 per day.  However, an amendment to the bill set a fixed per diem allowance.  The final bill pays Board members a certain per diem, all of which is taxable, and limits the ability of the Department of Corrections to handle unexpected lodging costs.

Under current law, Board members are reimbursed a per diem for the day, which is taxable, plus given stipends for meals and lodging, which are not taxable.  In the event lodging cannot be procured at the state rate, the Department of Corrections has the ability to request a waiver from the State Auditor to cover the higher rate.  Under Senate Bill 96, Board members would be given a fixed per diem, that while larger than their current per diem, is taxable and cannot be adjusted for higher lodging rates.  In certain circumstances, Board members will be receiving less overall compensation from the state under Senate Bill 96 than under the current system.

Because I appreciate the work of this important board and have great respect for the dedication of its members, I do not believe we should burden the members with increased paperwork, increased taxes, and less overall compensation.

I really don’t have a lot of thoughts about this bill being vetoed. If the statement made by the Governor is true, it probably is for the best this bill stays dead. If the veto is sustained I expect a different version of this bill to come up next year. Apparently there is a problem finding lawyers to server on this time-intensive board.

Gov Daugaard vetoes SB 100, tax break for broadband expanse

26809301Today, March 25, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced his veto of SB 100, a bill “to enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements”. This post will briefly look at the bill. It still has to go before the legislature next Tuesday to see if the veto will be overridden.

SB 100 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a bill I was glad to see the Governor veto, even if his reasons are different from mine.

SB 100 started out as a hoghouse vehicle bill, an empty piece of legislation waiting to be filled. Sen Brown hoghoused this with legislation relating to the Governor’s economic development slush fund Building South Dakota. This particular bill would add Broadband telecommunications network facilities to the list of projects that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) should be spending money on.

I think the telecommunication companies can handle broadband expansion without the taxpayer dollars through GOED. Plus I think adding this to a hoghouse vehicle bill at the last-minute just seemed the wrong way to do this. For anyone wondering why money can’t go to teachers I would ask them to look at how much money GOED spends…

This bill went through the Senate without a No vote.

This was amended on the House floor to add a third section. It appears to clarify what the Board of Economic Development shall consider when determining whether to approve a broadband application.

This passed the House floor 61-5. The Senate then concurred with the House changes 35-0.

As to the Governors reasons for the veto, here is part of his press release:

This bill makes fundamental changes to the Reinvestment Payment Program, part of the Building South Dakota legislation passed by the Legislature in 2013.  Under the current program, businesses may apply to the Board of Economic Development for a sales and use tax refund on projects in excess of $20 million or $2 million in equipment costs.  Refunds are not automatic; applications are reviewed to determine whether the incentive is necessary to secure the project for South Dakota.  The Board of Economic Development’s evaluation process lies at the heart of our state’s economic development incentives and ensures that our state’s taxpayers are not asked to pay for projects that would occur without a state incentive.

So, the Governor objects to this bill because it doesn’t follow the process laid out by his plans from 2013. Perhaps now is a good time to review those plans. To do that it is necessary to go back to 2011, when HB 1230 was passed. That bill as passed would have basically taken 22% of contractors’ excise tax revenues away from the general fund and placed it into a slush fund for the Large Project Development Fund. Money from that fund could then be used by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) with little or no oversight.

HB 1230 was referred to the voters and appeared on the 2012 ballot as Referred Law 14 (RL14). RL14 was shot down by 57.64% of the voters. That should have been then end of this slush fund, but it wasn’t…

In 2013 the legislature passed SB235 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which was a rebranding of the Governors slush fund for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to play with. This time it was called Building South Dakota with the purpose of enhancing economic development and education. Every year since 2013 when there is suddenly a surplus of money at the end of the fiscal year, this is the place where the Governor chooses to put those funds. I would have thought that would have been better to utilize for education…

So now we are back up to today. The Governor actually vetoes a bill relating to Building South Dakota because it doesn’t align with his vision of what Building South Dakota should be doing. I guess I should be happy he vetoed the bill. Perhaps the next governor will go further and get rid of this cronyistic program meant to choose market winners and losers.

This bill made it through both chambers quite strongly, so it is possible the Governor’s veto will be overridden when the legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, March 29.

Governor Daugaard vetoes SB 136, the buffer strip bill

35319898Today, March 25, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced his veto of SB 136, a bill “to permit certain cropland along lakes, rivers, and streams to be assessed as noncropland”. This post will briefly look at the bill. It still has to go before the legislature next Tuesday to see if the veto will be overridden.

SB 136 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Permit certain cropland along lakes, rivers, and streams to be assessed as noncropland.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim Peterson (D, Dist 4) and Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) are the prime sponsors.

The first sentence of Section 1 of the bill sums SB 136 up pretty well:

Notwithstanding the provisions § 10-6-33.32, any agricultural land that has crop-rated soils within fifty feet of a lake, river, or stream shall be categorized as noncropland if the land is seeded to perennial vegetation. The land shall be assessed as noncropland for the purposes of determining the agricultural income value of the land pursuant to §§ 10-6-33.28 to 10-6-33.33, inclusive.

This bill is coming forth for water conservation purposes. Creating these buffer strips will help reduce the amount of chemicals and topsoil that will enter river basins. In particular this may help reduce the polluted state of the Big Sioux river.

I have heard this bill referred to as a “gateway bill” towards changing how ag land is assessed. I’ve also heard it said this will lead to mandatory buffer strips along all water, similar to what has happened in Minnesota.

I don’t necessarily think either of those claims are true. But it is definitely a property tax shift.

The Governor’s press release includes this as part of his reason for the veto:

This bill does not create a new, fourth class of property, but instead changes the treatment of certain lands within the agricultural property class.  I am concerned that this bill is in violation of Article XI, § 2 of the South Dakota Constitution, which provides that “[t]axes shall be uniform on all property of the same class …”  This bill taxes agricultural property within fifty feet of a stream or river differently than agricultural property not in proximity to a stream or river.

I do believe the Governor is correct that this would create a new property classification. I’m not sure if that in and of itself is unconstitutional though. But it definitely shifts the tax burden away from these buffer strips and onto other property.

Further down the press release Governor Daugaard gives another reason for his veto:

Implementing this bill would require the Department of Revenue and county directors of equalization to determine whether dry creek beds, field waterways, small ponds, and other watercourses meet the definition of a “lake, river, or stream.”  They are further tasked with establishing where the riparian area starts and ends – determinations these entities may not be equipped to make.  All told, these challenges will result in greater uncertainty and more resources required to determine the appropriate tax.

I actually think Daugaard may have a point with the above paragraph. If farmers are going to implement these buffer strips it can also be assumed that few, if any, of these strips will occur in a straight line. Determining the boundaries and acreage of these strips will take time and other resources for the directors of equalization. Yes it is very possible for this to be done, but will the directors of equalization need budgetary increases to comply with this change? Would this be another cost being placed upon the counties by Pierre?

This passed through the Senate without a No vote. It then passed the House floor 58-9.

On Tuesday, March 29, the legislature will convene to consider veto overrides. SB 136 technically passed with enough votes to override a veto. This might be a bill the legislature uses to exert its will over the executive branch…

PS. An interesting side-note. HB 1239 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was defeated earlier this session. It would have made the director of equalization an elected position.

Another 11 bills announced signed into law by Gov Daugaard on Mar 21 & 22

SD Governor Dennis Daugaard. Photo by Ken Santema 12/10/16.
SD Governor Dennis Daugaard. Photo by Ken Santema 12/10/16.

On Monday, March 11, South Dakota Governor Daugaard announced he signed the tuition freeze bill, HB 1203, into law. Then on Tuesday, March 12, he announced the signing of another ten bills into law. That leaves only 14 bills still left on the Governor’s desk waiting for a signature by the end of the week.

This is an interesting set of bills. Each of these bills should probably get their own in-depth blog post (if only I had that kind of time!).

SB 58 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain restrictions for the use of night-vision equipment for hunting under certain conditions.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jason Frerichs (D, Dist 1) and Rep Dick Werner (R, Dist 22)are the prime sponsors.

This bill aims to change the laws governing using night vision equipment used to take out jackrabbits, coyotes, beaver during its hunting season, foxes, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, or rodents. But I’ve been told by some west river ranchers that taking out coyotes is the main reason for this particular law.

Currently a landowner or occupant and one guest can use night-vision equipment owner’s or occupant’s land. This bill would change that to a landowner or occupant and no more than two guests.

Also, currently when using artificial light or night vision the weapon is restricted to “a shotgun using shot shells only or a firearm using a rimfire cartridge”. That part was changed by this bill originally, but now still stands in law.

The addition from this bill is to allow a landowner or occupant who is 18 years or older to have up to guests and use night vision on the their land  with “a firearm using a cartridge with a bullet diameter
5 below .225 inches”.

This bill was slightly amended in Senate Ag to ensure the landowner or occupant is with the guests.

House Ag amended the heck out of it. But all that was substantially changed from the original bill was to change the number of guest from 4 down to 2.

It was further amended on the House floor to its final form.

This barely made it through Senate Ag with a vote of 5-4. It then passed on the Senate floor 18-14. House Ag passed this bill 10-3 and the House floor passed it 51-16. Finally the Senate concurred with House amendments 21-12.

SB 67 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish a postsecondary scholarship grant fund, to make an appropriation therefor, to transfer certain money, and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Governor.

This bill basically takes the need-based grant endowment fund and combines it with the critical teaching needs scholarship endowment fund and combines them both into a new postsecondary scholarship grant fund. $3 million was put into this new fund from the two other funds, with half the funds coming from each.  An additional appropriation from the general fund of $2,1 million was also placed into this new fund. Finally the Board of Regents put $1.4 million into the fund. That is a total of $6.5 in the new endowment fund. Each year 4% will come out each year for the need-based scholarships and the critical teaching needs scholarships.

This was amended in Appropriations to its final form. This bill passed through the Senate 35-0 and the House 58-10.

SB 106 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide for the collection of sales taxes from certain remote sellers, to establish certain Legislative findings, and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) are the prime sponsors.

This bill made it through the Senate without a No vote. It passed through the House floor 64-2.

I have many reasons for thinking this was a bad bill. Here is a post where i looked at the contents of the bill, and some of my reasons for no liking the bill are included in that post.

Yes the state is looking for more sales tax revenue, and technically every SD resident is supposed to be paying Use Tax on what they order online and by mail. But in reality the state currently does not have taxing jurisdiction to enforce this new law outside of its borders. The bill itself acknowledges constitutional issues in Section 3. That should have been reason enough for the bill to have died.

It will be interesting to see what the Department of Revenue tries to do now that this bill is passed into law. Will they try going after businesses that ship to SD?

SB 168 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to human trafficking and to provide a penalty therefor.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Ried Holien (R, Dist 5) and Rep Scott Craig (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors.

This makes a few changes in current law.

First, it seems to outlaw someone who receives a person who “will be used to cause the person to engage in prostitution, forced labor, or involuntary servitude”. That is in addition to these actions already in statute: recruit, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain.

Second it makes it a Class 2 felony when the victim is under 18, currently it is a Class 2 felony if the victim is under 16.

Third, this bill makes it a Class 6 felony for a person to hire or attempt to hire another person for a fee to engage in sexual activity if they “knew or should have known the other person was being forced to engage in the activity through human trafficking”.

Originally, the bill ensured abortion facilities and adult theaters (such as strip clubs) post information about the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. That part was amended out by House Judiciary.

This bill is aimed directly at human trafficking of people who are being forced into servitude.

The bill made it through the Senate 34-1 and the House 67-0. The Senate then concurred with changes made in the House 33-0.

SB 169 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to child pornography and to revise the penalty therefor.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Ried Holien (R, Dist 5) and Rep Scott Craig (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors.

Section 1 of the bill changes the sale of child porn from a Class 6 Felony to a Class 4 Felony.

Section 2 adds “or any other electronic” means to the portion where it is talking about computer transfers of child porn.

It was amended in Senate Judiciary to make sure carriers are not held liable.

This bill made it through the Senate and House without a No vote.

HB 1091 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish certain requirements regarding insurance for vehicles used to provide rides for a transportation network company and to exempt drivers and vehicles used to provide these rides from certain commercial licensing requirements.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Mark Willadsen (R, Dist 11) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This is a bill that would allow ride-hailing companies, such as Uber, to operate in South Dakota. These companies are great. They allow a ride to be hailed easily via a smart phone app. And they use regular people as the drivers. It is a win-win for both the passenger and driver (and for companies such as Uber).

The bill creates a new set of laws that falls under the classification of the new term “transportation network company”. It really is focused on the insurance laws dealing with transportation network companies.

This Sioux Falls city council asked for this legislation because the transportation network companies simply don’t fit within current state law. This bill is based on model legislation.

There was an amendment in House Commerce to remove a section of the bill that might have negatively impacted CDL’s.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of American had this to say in a press release sent out:

The standard personal auto insurance policy includes a “livery” exclusion which prohibits coverage when the car is used for hire.  Drivers working for Transportation Network Companies were at risk of not having coverage if they had an accident while logged into the app before they pick up their passenger.  HB 1091 is based on a model developed by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.  The bill requires $50,000 per individual and a total of $100,000 in coverage per accident when the driver is logged into the app but does not have a passenger.  HB 1091 requires $1,000,000 in coverage when a passenger is in the vehicle.

Here are some of the key parts of the bill:

  • The transportation network company is required to keep certain information about each driver on file.
  • A background check has to be done on the drivers. This includes local and national criminal background checks, sex offender checks, and drivers license record check.
  • Transportation network companies are not allowed to hire people who have been convicted of certain crimes.
  • Transportation network companies must have a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policies for drivers on duty.
  • The drivers vehicle must be able to meet all laws and rules.
  • The driver or transportation network company on behalf of the driver has to keep insurance that allows the transport of others for money. The then goes on at length to list specific insurance requirements.

This passed the House floor 66-2. It was amended in Senate Commerce. A big part of that amendment seemed aimed at allowing municipalities and counties to add further regulations, except for insurance regulations. It then passed the Senate 35-0 and the House concurred with changes 63-1.

It should be noted a far more restrictive bill, SB 156 (SoDakLiberty Posts), was also in the legislature this year. It is a good thing that bill didn’t pass. It would have killed the industry before it even got started. I think the proponents of that bill don’t realize SD isn’t as big of a market as some of Metros are.

HB 1203 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Pay off bonds and make certain other changes necessary to effectuate a tuition freeze by the Board of Regents and the technical institutes, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Governor.

HB 1212 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise requirements related to pregnancy help centers.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors.

Most of this bill is cleanup. Back when pregnancy help centers where first setup in law there wasn’t consistency in labeling the different work positions.  There were also guidelines updated regarding pregnancy help centers.

Currently there are only two pregnancy help centers, on in Rapid City and one in Sioux Falls. There is apparently one coming in Brookings.

This bill made it through the House without a No vote. It was slightly amended in Senate Health, where it passed 4-2. It then passed the Senate floor 33-2 and House concurred in Senate changes 64-0.

HB 1236 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Define a halfway house.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Joshua Klumb (R, Dist 20) and Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) are the prime sponsors.

There has been a concern that halfway house is not defined in statute to match what these facilities do. The concern was that a halfway house would be put up and a new park or something would go up and prevent the halfway house from being utilized anymore. Having this defined would grandfather those halfway houses in.

This bill made it through the House and Senate without a No vote.

HB 1242 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize certain persons to request a security freeze on the credit report of a protected consumer.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Peggy Gibson (D, Dist 22) and Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) are the prime sponsors.

I had no idea that current law provided for a security freeze of credit reports when there has been a case of identity theft. This bill would extend that to allow parents to freeze their child’s credit report.

The bill originally removed that freeze when the child turned 18, but that was amended out in House Commerce because the industry had problems with that provision.

It was then hoghoused in Senate Commerce with completely new language. The bill now defines a “Protected consumer” as

a person who is under the age of sixteen years at the time a request for the placement of a security freeze is made or an incapacitated person or a protected person for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed

It appears the security freeze will state in effect until the protected consumer or protected consumers representative requests it to be lifted. The hoghouse is much longer, and seems aimed at protected the reporting agencies as much as it does the consumer.

Testimony for this bill was quite educational for learning about security freezes; especially for young and old people.

HB 1244 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to the sex offender registry.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Peggy Gibson (D, Dist 22) and Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) are the prime sponsors.

Currently a Tier 1 offender has to wait 10 years before the possibility of being removed from the registry. This bill would make that 5 years. This bill is really aimed at juveniles that made a mistake as a teenager and should be allowed to get past that mistake after 5 years, especially if that “mistake” was something consensual. The petition does not have to be accepted and can be on the registry longer than 5 years.

This made it through the House floor 63-6 and the Senate floor 32-3.