Tag Archives: DHS

The GOAC meeting on Tues, April 25, is one to keep an eye on!

Non-meandered lakes will be THE topic to keep an eye on!

On Tuesday, April 25, the legislative Government Operations & Audit Committee (GOAC) will meet in Pierre for its second meeting of the year. This is a meeting worth keeping an eye on for many reasons; I’ll go into some of those reasons as I list the agenda items below. Due to this meeting have so many big-ticket topic I plan to be in Pierre on Tuesday in order to record a video of the proceedings. Hopefully that will allow more people to see what GOAC does or doesn’t do.

The previous GOAC meeting was held on March 28 in Pierre. The minutes from that meeting can be read here.

The agenda for the upcoming April 25 meeting can be viewed here.  For this post I will briefly list each agenda items. Additionally I will add some notes pertaining to each agenda item.

Item 1 – Department of Legislative Audit to review the Single Audit Report for the State of South Dakota for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016

This agenda item has the two following documents posted online:

I haven’t had a chance to actually browse through either file yet.

Item 2 – Brand Board to review the 2016 annual report

The two documents available for this agenda item are:

Over the last few years I’ve learned the branding board is VERY important to ranchers. Cattle stealing still happens and the Brand Board is one tool used to keep rustling under control.

Item 3 – Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services to discuss Federal Communication Commission Direct Video Calling

For this agenda item the Department of Human Services (DHS) will give a presentation on Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS). The documents available for this meeting are:

Item 4 – Department of Game, Fish and Parks to discuss the discontinued access to non-meandering waters in South Dakota

Now we are up to what I think will be one of the, if not the, biggest item of the 2018 legislative session: non-meandered waters! This is a top that pits sportsmen against landowners against GFP. It is a topic I will spend more time blogging about this summer, so I will keep this particular blurb short. But I will say this is a topic everyone should be paying attention to. GFP’s move to close access to certain non-meandered lakes after a recent SD Supreme Court decision is getting a lot of attention. My next blog about this topic will be going over some of terminology and history around the topic.

Item 5 – Auditor General to provide an update on the Mid Central Educational Cooperative Special Review Report and the fiscal year 2015 Single Audit – final report to be reviewed at a future GOAC meeting

This is an ongoing issue and will continue to be HUGE. A lot of pressure is being placed on GOAC to find out everything about the GEAR-UP scandals, especially with MCEC. Recently Sen Stace Nelson (R, Dist 19) called out Rep Kyle Schoenfish (R, Dist 19)  for his firms part in auditing certain entities involved in these scandals. That will likely come up during the meeting as well. Unfortunately the Auditor General has not posted a copy of the audit update. People are demanding answers and hopefully this meeting will start to provide some of them.

Item 6 – Bureau of Human Resources to discuss:
• The length of time needed between the employment application and
the job offer
• Performance management indicators

I haven’t really looked into this agenda item….

Item 7 – Future meeting topics:

Finally, here is a list of what GOAC hopes to accomplish later in the year:

  • Juvenile Corrections Reports
  • Review the Mid Central Educational Cooperative Special Review Report
  • Department of Revenue review of performance indicators
  • Bureau of Information and Telecommunications review of performance indicators
  • University Centers financial review
  • Board of Regents application and acceptance process
  • Annual report from the Obligation Recovery Center
  • Annual reports from agencies receiving funds from the Building South Dakota Fund
  • Report from Bureau of Human Resources on compiled authorizations to derive a direct benefit from a contract
  • Report from the Auditor General on compiled authorizations to derive a direct benefit from a contract
  • Annual report from the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board
  • Review the annual work plan and report of the State Board of Internal Control
  • Annual report from the South Dakota High School Activities Association

Many of those topics will likely be blog-worthy. And all of the topics are worth keeping an eye on!

GOAC meeting on Mon June 20, SDDC operations discussion and tour

On Monday, June 20, the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) will have its second meeting of the 2016 interim session. This particular meeting will be held at the South Dakota Developmental Center (SDDC) in Redfield. The previous meeting was held on May 17. My post prior to that meeting can be viewed here, and the minutes from that meeting can be viewed here.

The agenda for this meeting can be viewed hereSDPB will also provide live audio for anyone wishing to listen in on the meeting.

ORC update from previous meeting

An update on the Obligation Recovery Center (ORC) was a topic of interest from the previous meeting. Coming out of that meeting I have a post about the ORC update  and a post about the debt collection policy. The implementation of the ORC will continue to be a top issue for this blog.

SDDC tour and discussion of operations

South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield. Photo by Ken Santema 02/05/16.
South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield. Photo by Ken Santema 02/05/16.

On the agenda is a tour of the South Dakota Developmental Center (SDDC) and then a discussion with the Department of Human Services (DHS) about SDDC operations.

The SDDC was the subject of a couple of bills in the 2016 legislative session. HB 1208 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was signed into law and would allow the state to sell land currently in the control of the SDDC. This includes possibly selling land that buildings slated to be demolished are located on. The sale of that land will be used for the SDDC.

There was a second bill, HB 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts), to demolish certain buildings on the SDDC campus. But that bill was killed and paying for the building demolition was included in an amendment to HB 1208.

The SDDC campus is of particular interest to me as I am working on a separate project about some “patients” that resided on this campus during a darker era of South Dakota healthcare.

DHS discussion of LifeScape

The LifeScape program has been under investigation due to possible victimization and preventable deaths.

Here is how the LifeScape website describes the organization:

LifeScape formed in mid-2014 when Children’s Care Hospital & School and South Dakota Achieve joined together. We are an independent, non-profit organization, serving adults and children in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Our center in Rapid City provides therapy and psychological services for children on an outpatient and outreach basis.

This might be worth checking out for anyone that has had any dealings with LifeScape.

Other agenda items

Also on the agenda is the following items:

  • Item 4 – Department of Social Services to discuss the licensing procedures for outside juvenile placement facilities
  • Item 5 – Department of Transportation and the South Dakota State Railroad Board to discuss the operations of the State owned rail line leased to Dakota Southern Railway Company

Both of these items are worthy of further scrutiny.

6 bills defeated in Joint Appropriations during SD legislative week 8

21632682South Dakota legislative week eight had a total of six bills killed by the Joint Appropriations committee. This has been an interesting committee to watch due to the new appropriations process. I’m doing this post in a hotel room with very limited internet, so I’ll have to do this post without hearing the final testimony on the bill. Some of these may be tabled due to being placed into the actual budget.

HB 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Department of Human Services to dismantle and demolish buildings and to restore the demolition site to its natural state on the South Dakota Developmental Center campus, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Human Services

The bill would have appropriated $1,808,000 so DHS could undertake the campus overhaul. I actually did a pretty lengthy post on the bill. Since doing that post I have had a chance to learn more about the building in question. One of the buildings is in very poor shape and not used for anything. Another building also has structural issues, and is only lightly used for storage.  There is a companion bill, HB 1208 (SoDakLiberty Posts), to sell some of the land after the demolition is completed.

HB 1221 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Accommodate legislation relating to education funding.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) and Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. It was killed because it was apparently not needed.

SB 84 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require municipalities to reimburse the counties for certain judicial and law enforcement expenditures.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jenna Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) are the prime sponsors.

I really didn’t think this was a good bill and am glad to see it died. Here is what I last said about the bill:

This wouldn’t take effect until June 1, 2018. This bill likely comes about because of the many mandates passed down by the state, and the counties looking for any way to get revenues to offset those costs. In this case it would force municipality to pay more of their share of county judicial and law enforcement costs.

SB 87 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government and to make an appropriation therefor.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. It was killed because it was apparently not needed.

SB 88 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government.

Status: Tabled
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. It was killed because it was apparently not needed.

SB 161 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Lower the state sales and use tax on certain food items and to increase the rate of taxation for the sales and use tax on certain goods and services.

Status: Deferred to the 41st legislative day
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) and Rep Ray Ring (D, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was DOA.

This is the yearly attempt to get rid of tax on food. If this bill passed there would be 0 state sales tax on food items. All other items would raise from 4% to “four and thirty-five hundredths percent”.

Joint Appropriations has its budget bill on the Thurs Mar 3 agenda

21476068On Thursday, March 3, at 10:00 am the SD Joint Committee on Appropriations will possibly take on 3 bills, and also possibly take on budget setting items. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

One way to listen to these meetings live is via the audio links on the Schedule page of the LRC website. While there you can also view the status board for the meetings as they are going on.

BUDGET SETTING SCHEDULE:

Secretary of State
Department of Revenue
Department of Labor & Regulation
Board of Regents
Bureau of Information & Telecommunications
Unified Judicial System
Department of Social Services
Department of Education
Department of Human Services

SB 170 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Appropriate money for the ordinary expenses of the legislative, judicial, and executive departments of the state, the expenses of state institutions, interest on the public debt, and for common schools.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsors.

This is the budget bill. I will be watching Appropriations with interest over the next few days to see how their new budgetary process works. So far the glitches they have had with the new process were pretty minor.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

SB 48 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016.

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

I haven’t had time to look at this one yet. We are in the middle of fiscal year 2016 right now.

It should be noted though that any unspent money could have gone to education…

SB 86 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Amend the 2017 General Appropriations Act to revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. This is a blank check signed by the Senate that must be watched to ensure it doesn’t get any last-minute legislation filled into it that can avoid a public hearing.

The bill as amended to add an appropriation of $11.82. Yes that amount has a meaning, even if this bill won’t be used… HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts)

It is still a hoghouse vehicle bill, basically a blank check to circumvent the legislative process. I wonder if this won’t be used for the actual content of the Appropriations new process.

Joint Appropriations budget setting schedule and possible bills for Mon Feb 29

19902585On Monday, February 29, at 8:00 am the SD Joint Committee on Appropriations will possibly take on number of bills after budget setting items. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

One way to listen to these meetings live is via the audio links on the Schedule page of the LRC website. While there you can also view the status board for the meetings as they are going on.

BUDGET SETTING SCHEDULE:

Bureau of Finance & Management
Legislature
Department of Revenue
Department of Labor & Regulation
Board of Regents
Bureau of Information & Telecommunications
Unified Judicial System
Secretary of State

**** I have listened to very few of the Appropriations committee meetings. That means I  haven’t listened to previous hearings on most of the bills below!

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

HB 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Department of Human Services to dismantle and demolish buildings and to restore the demolition site to its natural state on the South Dakota Developmental Center campus, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Human Services.

The bill would appropriate $1,808,000 so DHS could undertake the campus overhaul. I actually did a pretty lengthy post on the bill. Since doing that post I have had a chance to learn more about the building in question. One of the buildings is in very poor shape and not used for anything. Another building also has structural issues, and is only lightly used for storage.  There is a companion bill, HB 1208 (SoDakLiberty Posts), to sell some of the land after the demolition is completed.

HB 1029 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to the Department of Health to fund the rural residency program and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Health.

This has already had a hearing. Here is what I said prior to the previous meeting:

This bill would appropriate $205,000 “to support the development of a rural family medicine residency track for six medical students to address health care workforce shortages.”

I wonder how well this bill will do while the legislature is being asked to raise more revenue for teach shortage problems…

HB 1043 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the state aid to special education formula.

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

The 0.3% increase for the special education portion of K-12 funding.

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

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

The 0.3% increase for K-12 funding.

HB 1046 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to the railroad trust fund and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Transportation.

Here is what I said when the bill was prefiled:

This bill would appropriate $1,000,000 to the railroad trust fund “for the purposes of planning, enlarging, maintaining, equipping, and protecting railroads and railroad facilities”.

The committee meeting for this one should be interesting to listen to. Is this money needed to handle new rail traffic expected due to agricultural projects going on in SD? Or is this to update sections of line already in use? The bill has an emergency clause, that means the DOT would get the money right away after being signed into law.

Hopefully it won’t be used for non-infrastructure projects like federal DOT money was misused in Fort Pierre.

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.

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

This was mentioned by the Governor in his budgetary address as his way to freeze tuition. The money saved by paying off the bonds can then be used to freeze tuition. My only problem with this is it does nothing to address the rising costs that cause tuition to go up.

HB 1221 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Accommodate legislation relating to education funding.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Spencer Hawley (D, Dist 7) and Sen Billie Sutton (D, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. This is a blank check signed by the House that must be watched to ensure it doesn’t get any last-minute legislation filled into it that can avoid a public hearing.

SB 46 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the notice filing fee for open-end management companies from a variable level tiered structure to a flat fixed fee.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Labor and Regulation.

I don’t know about this one, I’ll have to hear testimony before speaking about the bill.

SB 48 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016.

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

I haven’t had time to look at this one yet. We are in the middle of fiscal year 2016 right now.

SB 49 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain fees collected by the secretary of state, to revise the allocation of fees, to make an appropriation for an online business registration and filing system, and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Secretary of State.

See my post about the bill here, and then a post looking further at it here.

This is an idea I like. But I do have apprehensions. The proposal is only as good as the SOS. If we get an SOS like the previous one this might be a bad situation. However if a good SOS is elected I think this is a great proposal!

SB 67 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation and transfer certain money to support the South Dakota need-based grant program and to declare an emergency.

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

This would appropriate $2,100,000 for the need-based grant fund.

SB 84 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require municipalities to reimburse the counties for certain judicial and law enforcement expenditures.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jenna Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) are the prime sponsors.

This wouldn’t take effect until June 1, 2018. This bill likely comes about because of the many mandates passed down by the state, and the counties looking for any way to get revenues to offset those costs. In this case it would force municipality to pay more of their share of county judicial and law enforcement costs.

SB 86 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Amend the 2017 General Appropriations Act to revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. This is a blank check signed by the Senate that must be watched to ensure it doesn’t get any last-minute legislation filled into it that can avoid a public hearing.

The bill as amended to add an appropriation of $11.82. Yes that amount has a meaning, even if this bill won’t be used… HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts)

It is still a hoghouse vehicle bill, basically a blank check to circumvent the legislative process.

SB 87 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government and to make an appropriation therefor.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. This is a blank check signed by the Senate that must be watched to ensure it doesn’t get any last-minute legislation filled into it that can avoid a public hearing.

SB 88 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain programs and promote efficiency in state government.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) and Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a hoghouse vehicle bill with no actual content. This is a blank check signed by the Senate that must be watched to ensure it doesn’t get any last-minute legislation filled into it that can avoid a public hearing.

SB 92 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Continue a math pilot project at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Terri Haverly (R, Dist 35) and Rep Jeff Partridge (R, Dist 34) are the prime sponsors.

This would appropriate $250,000 to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for the continuation of the 2015 math pilot project.

The only apprehension about the bill I have is that it would use taxpayer dollars to fund a project that was being funded privately before. It is a good program though…

SB 161 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Lower the state sales and use tax on certain food items and to increase the rate of taxation for the sales and use tax on certain goods and services.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) and Rep Ray Ring (D, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors.

This is the yearly attempt to get rid of tax on food. If this bill passed there would be 0 state sales tax on food items. All other items would raise from 4% to “four and thirty-five hundredths percent”.

This bill is DOA so I’ll stop looking at it and move on to other bills.

Joint Appropriations bills on Weds Jan 27

21609426On Wednesday, Jan 27th, at 9:00 AM the SD Joint Committee on Appropriations will take on 6 new bills.  They may also act on bills that have already had hearings. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

Before taking up bills, the committee at 9:00 am will have a one hour Blue Ribbon Presentation by the Department of Education.

I haven’t yet listened to previous Appropriations committee meetings, so I will only be posting my observations on the bills that have already had hearings.

HB 1012 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide for an additional position in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to coordinate economic development with the tribes and to make an appropriation therefor.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Jim Bradford (D, Dist 27) are the prime sponsors on behalf of the Tribal Economic Development Task Force.

Here is what I said about the bill when it was prefiled:

HB 1012 is prime-sponsored by Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) in the House and Sen Jim Bradford (D, Dist 27) in the Senate on behalf of the Tribal Economic Development Task Force.

This bill would appropriate $50,000 and authorize one Full Time Employee to create the new tribal coordinator in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Once a year this person would also report to the State-Tribal 12 Relations Committee.

The minutes from the November 20 Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting explain why the task force feels the legislation is important:

Representative Haggar said that there is a piece of legislation that will be drafted that he would like to come from this task force. That legislation would create a full-time position with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) that would focus strictly on working with the tribes regarding economic development. This position would be responsible for helping the tribes develop an economic development office, communicating what opportunities are available for the tribes, and serve as a liaison between GOED and the tribes. Representative Verchio added that this person could also direct business inquiries to the proper contact on the reservations.

Representative May and Secretary Emery suggested that this position report to the State-Tribal Relations Committee at least on an annual basis. Representative May said that she does not want a position created that is not accountable to anyone.

This is a bill I have mixed feelings about. Personally I don’t believe GOED should exist. GOED at times seems little more than a way for the Governors office to intervene into the free market; while at the same time acting as an unaccountable slush fund. But, since GOED does exist it would seem appropriate for there to be a person dedicated towards tribal economic development. This person will likely have a hard time getting anything done. Reading the fullminutes from the November 20 Tribal Economic Development Task Force meeting will show a large variety of issues the tribes have in regards to economic development.

HB 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Department of Human Services to dismantle and demolish buildings and to restore the demolition site to its natural state on the South Dakota Developmental Center campus, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Human Services.

The bill would appropriate $1,808,000 so DHS could undertake the campus overhaul. I actually did a pretty lengthy post on the bill. I look forward to hearing why this project needs to be done.

HB 1024 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation for the maintenance and repair of state owned dams and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Commissioner of School and Public Lands.

Here is what I said when it was prefiled:

HB 1024 bill would appropriate $250,000 for maintenance and repair on state-owned dams. This is an issue that I have taken an interest in over the last few years; mostly because Aberdeen happens to have an aging/leaking dam pointed directly at it. There currently isn’t any imminent danger, but I would like to keep it that way by ensuring maintenance is performed.

HB 1029 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to the Department of Health to fund the rural residency program and to declare an emergency.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Health.

This bill would appropriate $205,000 “to support the development of a rural family medicine residency track for six medical students to address health care workforce shortages.”

I wonder how well this bill will do while the legislature is being asked to raise more revenue for teach shortage problems…

HB 1081 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to fund tax refunds for elderly persons and persons with a disability and to declare an emergency.

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

This bill would appropriate $450,000 to provide refunds for real property tax and sales tax to elderly and disabled persons.

SB 68 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make appropriations from the water and environment fund and its revolving fund subfunds for various water and environmental purposes, to revise solid waste management program recycling provisions, to revise water and environment fund loan terms, and to declare an emergency.

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

This is a bill I will wait until after testimony to comment on. There is a lot of shifting money going on in this bill.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

HB 1017 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the South Dakota Building Authority and the Board of Regents to provide for the construction of a science and mathematics building on the campus of Northern State University and to make appropriations therefor.

The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Board of Regents.

Here is what I stated about the bill when it was prefiled:

This bill would allow NSU to build a new science and mathematics building with construction costs totaling $35,000,000. All $35,000,000 may be done via revenue bonds.

SB 10 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Board of Regents to contract for the renovation and construction of an addition to Harding Hall on the campus of South Dakota State University and to make an appropriation therefor.

The Committee onAppropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Board of Regents.

Here is what I stated about the bill when it was prefiled:

SDSU wants to renovate and add an addition to Harding Hall with a project cost of up to $12,000,000. $3,300,000 of that can come from money that would already be used for maintenance and repair projects from the higher education facilities fund. $5,000,000 can come “from other funds derived from tuition”.

SB 11 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Board of Regents to purchase land from the Dakota State University Foundation for the use and benefit of Dakota State University in Madison, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Board of Regents.

Here is what I stated about the bill when it was prefiled:

This appropriation would allow DSU to buy the East Campus Parking Lot from the Dakota State University Foundation for up to $40,000.

SB 12 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Board of Regents to sell certain extraneous real property in Brookings County and to deposit the proceeds with the state treasurer to be credited to a fund designated as the real property acquisition and capital improvement fund for South Dakota State University.

The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Board of Regents.

Here is what I stated about the bill when it was prefiled:

My platbook software is currently having problems so I can’t see the land in question. But this bill would allow SDSU to sell of some property it no longer needs.

I found out my platbook software is no longer supported. Too bad, I don’t think I really need to get another…

SB 17 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation for costs related to suppression of wildfires in the state and to declare an emergency.

Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Agriculture.

Here is what I said about this bill when prefiled:

The Committee onAppropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of theDepartment of Agriculture.

This bill would appropriate $2,100,000 to the state fire suppression special revenue fund.

Two years ago as part of the 2014 SD Ag Summit I was able to see ademonstration by the SD Wildland Fire Suppression Division (WFSD) in Lead. This is probably one of the few appropriations areas I think is a good investment by the state.

SB 18 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation from the coordinated natural resources conservation fund to the State Conservation Commission and to declare an emergency.

The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Agriculture.

The only bill in this group not originating from the Board of Regents, but instead comes from the Dept of Ag. Here is what I stated about the bill when it was prefiled:

This bill would appropriate $1,000,000 from the coordinated natural resources conservation fund for the State Conservation Commission to use.

Department of Human Services prefiled a bill to demolish buildings at the the South Dakota Developmental Center

393111The SD Department of Human Services (DHS) has an appropriation bill prefiled for the 2016 legislative session. This bill would demolish buildings and restore part of the campus at the South Dakota Developmental Center (SDDC) to its natural state. Here is the bill:

HB 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Department of Human Services to dismantle and demolish buildings and to restore the demolition site to its natural state on the South Dakota Developmental Center campus, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency.

The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Human Services.

The bill would appropriate $1,808,000 so DHS could undertake the campus overhaul.

Cory Heidelberger over at Dakota Free Press points out a story about the SDDC being short-staffed.  He speculates:

The state may be looking at cutting its needs for staff in Redfield by cutting its space for patients.

That could be. I wonder if part of the push isn’t due to the age of the facilities The bill says the project will be undertaken “because of extensive maintenance and repair costs”.

Here is a short history blurb off the SDDC website:

The South Dakota Developmental Center was established by the state legislature in 1899. The facility opened in February 1902 as the Northern Hospital for the Insane with 45 people in a three-story building made of Sioux Falls granite. All direct contact staff as well as administrative staff lived there. All legislation concerning establishment, admissions and support indicates that these facilities were not intended to be used by people who had mentall illness, but for those persons who had a developmental disability. In 1913, the name was changed to State School and Home for the Feeble Minded. It became known as The Redfield State Hospital and School in 1951, and in 1989 we took our current name.

The population at SDDC increased rapidly, and by 1918, it had increased to 10 times its original number to 471 people. This trend in population increase continued until 1963 when SDDC’s population hit its all-time high of 1,199 people. At that time, there were 11 large buildings on campus used for housing. The TB (tuberculosis) Sanatorium at Custer, S.D., was remodeled and reopened as the Custer State Hospital and School. Several of SDDC’s people were transferred to Custer to ease the crowding at the Redfield facility. The Custer facility was closed in 1996, and the people were moved into the community.

By 1970, the population at the Redfield facility had dropped to 980, and with the passing of the Developmental Disabilities Act in 1970, which provided for the deinstitutionalization of inappropriately placed persons, the number of people living at SDDC dropped quickly. At present, SDDC serves approximately 145 persons with developmental disabilities.

Part of me wonders if some of those older buildings still exist on the campus and if that isn’t what is driving this bill. I guess we will find out when the bill is taken up in committee and the DHS actually explains the reason almost two million dollars are needed to demolish buildings on the SDDC campus.

SD has come a long way handling developmental disabilities

Personally I find it almost mind-boggling that the state would have operated a facility named the State School and Home for the Feeble Minded. The campus may have changed away from that name in 1951, but it still continued to grow for the next couple of decades when we as a society basically locked away people with developmental disabilities. To me this is a fairly modern case of morally wrong behavior in our society.

I’ve heard Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) speak a few times about the improvements that have been made by the state handling people with developmental disabilities. Specifically the state has become less directly involved. He has become somewhat of a local legislative champion for ASPIRE, Inc. in Aberdeen. I’ve seen the great work that is being done at Aspire and have heard similar programs around the state are just as well run. Hopefully we have learned our lesson and never try to institutionalize those with development disabilities again.

Bonus Video from the SDDC staff

SDDC posted this video on YouTube oft he staff and people helped by the staff getting happy