Tag Archives: GFP

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!

Legislative Planning Committee meeting on Aug 1, still focused on Performance Management

Business man use ruler measureOn Monday, August 1, at 10:00 am the Legislative Planning Committee (LPC) will meet in Pierre for their third meeting of the 2016 SD legislative interim session. The agenda for this meeting can be found hereSDPB will also provide live audio for anyone wishing to listen in on the meeting.

As with the LPC meeting in May and the LPC meeting in June, a big part of this meeting with focus on the states new  Performance Management Review Process. In June I looked briefly at the Performance Management Review Process and what state agencies will be done during the next three years. I am waiting to blog too much about the results of these meetings until further down the line when it is more clear what is actually going on in each state agency being looked at.

In this August 1 meeting the departments giving presentations about their Performance Management Review Process include the following:

  • Department of Game, Fish and Parks
    • Mr. Kelly Hepler, Secretary
    • Mr. Chris Petersen, Administration Division Director
  • Department of Transportation
    • Mr. Darin Bergquist, Secretary
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development
    • Mr. Aaron Scheibe, Interim Commissioner
  • Department of Tourism
    • Mr. Jim Hagen, Secretary

The Department of Transportation, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the Department of Tourism gave basic presentations during the May 17 meeting. I hope to see what kind of progress these departments have made and if this actually appears to be doing any good.

Update on the SD’s Obligation Recovery Center from the May GOAC meeting

On May 17, 2016, the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) met in Pierre for its first meeting of the 2016 interim session. My post prior to that meeting can be viewed here and the minutes from that meeting can be viewed here. The main item of interest for me in that meeting was an update on the Obligation Recovery Center (ORC). The ORC is the new state collection agency created by the legislature in 2015 via HB 1228 (SoDakLiberty Posts) because some legislators feel the private company that had been hired to collect debts for the state wasn’t doing a good enough job.

Jeff Holden, Commissioner of the Bureau of Administration (BOA), was on hand to update GOAC as to how the implementation of the ORC has gone so far. The first part of his presentation focused on awarding CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc (CGI) the contract to implement the ORC. This happened in November of 2015 and I have the following three posts looking at this aspect of the ORC:

In my post looking at the scope of work I included this proposed timeline CGI would use for implementation:

orc4

Technically if CGI was keeping their timeline that means the implementation for collecting UJS fines and restitution would have been online by the time of the May GOAC meeting. But that does not appear to be valid anymore. The minutes from the May GOAC meeting includes this:

He stated that CGI has begun working with agencies to gather information specific to each agencies debt collection processes. The ORC manager will soon be finalizing a process that State agencies will follow prior to reverting debt to the ORC and the BOA will develop this process into proposed administrative rules. Commissioner Holden stated that CGI has contracted with Wells Fargo for collections and transferring funds and this process is expected to begin on July 15, 2016.

So that shows the ORC is at least three months behind schedule for implementation. Further, the three agencies that have agreed to move forward with the ORC and will be a part of “phase one” are the South Dakota Unified Judicial System (UJS), Department of Corrections (DOC) and Game, Fish and Parks (GFP).

Commissioner Holden also noted that in December of 2015 there were RFP’s issued to attain three third-party debt collection services. The BOA is currently negotiating contracts with the companies receiving the contracts. These contracts will be for one year initially; with options to extend the contract a year based upon performance.

There was a question to Commissioner Holden about CGI’s contract. Holden specified CGI had not yet been paid anything. CGI will get paid only as debt is collected. At that time CGI will receive 20% of all revenues collected as per the law that implemented the ORC.

Finally Sen David Novstrup (R, Dist 3) asked about the decision for denying license renewals for individuals that owe the state money. Holden noted the details are still being worked out. But this is listed in the minutes:

Commissioner Holden stated that an individual will lose their hunting and fishing licenses if they owe the State a minimum of $50 and have been notified three times of the amount due. He explained that this is similar to motor vehicle registrations and licenses; however the minimum amount of outstanding debt to the State is $1,000.

Holden further agreed to provide a draft of the debt collection policy. That draft can be viewed here. My post looking at this policy draft can be viewed here.

As the implementation of the ORC gets closer I still see no reason the people of South Dakota should not be wary of this new debt collection center. This ORC will have the power to take away people’s ability to renew licenses. A person unable to renew a vehicle license will likely lose the ability to actually pay off the debt owed. $1,000 sounds like a high threshold, unless you are the person that owes that $1,000 and have no means to currently pay off that debt. Giving the ORC the power to withhold licensing just seems like an overreach.

Rules Review meeting on Tues April 12

On Tuesday, April 12, at 10:00 am CT the SD legislative Rules Review committee will meet in Pierre.

This is the first meeting of the year to actually look at rules. The previous meeting on March 19 was mostly organizational. There was one interesting item from the March 19 meeting that might be worth looking at before going into the April 12 meeting. The previous meeting had an agenda item of

  • Department of Game, Fish and Parks’ proposal regarding license allocation

I speculated what this was about before. Here is what the minutes from the March 19 meeting actually says about this agenda item:

Department of Game, Fish and Parks’ proposal regarding license allocation

Mr. Tony Leif distributed a handout entitled “State Statutes”, “East River Deer – 2015”, and an example of the current language used in administrative rule and their proposed language which will show the number of licenses by season, not by unit (Document 2). Mr. Leif reviewed the documents and asked the committee to consider allowing the department to change the way license allocations are handled in the administrative rules. Following a brief discussion, it was the consensus of the committee to try it as long as the committee is provided a spreadsheet that shows two years of license allocations and provided the charts are available to the public on the departments’ website.

This seems to be a big enough change I would have thought it would have more information available. The rules.sd.gov listing for this rule doesn’t offer much more info. This rule is combined with another one listed on the April 12 agenda.

Perhaps more discussion of this topic will occur during the April 12 meeting. Now its time to look at that meeting.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Amend an Application for License rule to authorize the Department Secretary to authorize a terminally ill resident to hunt deer, antelope and turkey during established seasons under certain terms and conditions. (This rule has been filed.)

This rule doesn’t show up on rules.sd.gov. It does however show up in the minutes from the GFP Commission’s March 3-4 meeting.  Here is part of what was said:

Director Tony Leif provided information on the request from verne Boer and the Outdoor Adventure Organization that would allow for terminally ill residents to hunt deer, antelope and turkey through a onetime authorization granted by the Department. Leif further explained the differences which determine the qualifications for the authorizations surrounding the age criteria ouflined in the administrative rule. He also stated recipients must be a resident and are not eligible to receive multiple licenses for different species as this is a onetime license for each species and that authorizations will only be valid within established hunting seasons. Request will be submitted by field office staff to the Department secretary who would grant the authorization based on each individuals circumstance within the guidelines provided in the administrative rule.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Dry Creek State Waterfowl Refuge. Screen capture from SD GFP document.
Dry Creek State Waterfowl Refuge. Screen capture from SD GFP document.

Amend a Refuges rule to eliminate the Dry Creek State Waterfowl Refuge.

Here is the the rules.sd.gov listing for this rule (it is included with the licensing changes noted at the beginning of this post).

This is part of what appears in the minutes from the GFP Commission’s March 3-4 meeting:

Kirschenmann and Stone presented the Department recommendation to remove the Dry creek state waterfowl Refuge based on the fact a key landowner has pulled out of the Lower oahe waterfowl Access program and within that landowner contract was the contingency of having this refuge in place. stone also described to the commission that staff will be further evaluating other refuges on the Missouri River system and obtaining public input over the next year.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The proposed administrative rule change will: 1) amend the rules on uses of parks and public lands, (2) amend the rules on application for license for second draw elk licenses, 3) amend the minimum air gun specifications rule, 4) amend goose hunting season rules related to the August Management Take, 5) amend boundary and season date rules for the early fall Canada goose and waterfowl seasons, 6) amend rules and license allocations for the Black Hills, Prairie, and Custer State Park elk hunting seasons, and 7) amend the rules and license allocations for the Custer State Park non-trophy bison hunt.

Here is the rule on rules.sd.gov.

There is quite a lot going on with these proposed rule changes. It might be worth it for the sportsmen to read through the rule changes!

Department of Revenue: Commission on Gaming

Amend Gaming rules to add a new version of blackjack (Bonus Spin Counts Kustom Blackjack) to the list of authorized blackjack games; add new pay tables and revise the rules in accordance with the new pay tables for Dead Man’s Hand Blackjack; add a variation of the play of blackjack known as Bonus Spin Counts Kustom Blackjack; amend a rule The Play – Ultimate Texas Hold’em to recognize that bets cannot exceed $1,000 bet limit; and amend a Control Program Requirements rule to change the number of recalls for play history from two to ten games.

Here is the rule on rules.sd.gov.

I honestly didn’t realize there were so many variations to blackjack!

Bureau of Administration

Amend rules to increase maximum fees chargeable for legal publications by two percent.

Here is the rule on rules.sd.gov.

If you look at the fiscal note for this rule, the interesting part is it will allow newspapers to increase the price of publishing certain items by 2%.

Bureau of Human Resources: Civil Service Commission

Civil Service Commission to review proposed rules change to add two forms that may be submitted to prove eligibility for veterans’ preference. The new forms are for National Guard and Army Reserve service.

Here is the rule on rules.sd.gov.

I didn’t realize NGB22 couldn’t be used to prove eligibility for veterans’ preference.

Department of Health: Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

(1) Updates ARSD 20:47:03:13 to provide a process for physician locum tenens certificate holders to extend the duration of the certificate; (2) repeals ARSD 20:52:01:03.02 which requires a physician assistant and their supervising physician visit each separate practice location; (3) updates outdated language in ARSD 20:63 related to athletic trainers; (4) updates outdated language in ARSD 20:64 related to occupational therapists; (5) adds ARSD 20:66:03 to create continuing education requirements for licensed physical therapists; and (6) adds ARSD 20:83:01 to create continuing education requirements for licensed nutritionists and dietitians.

Here is the rule on rules.sd.gov.

I really don’t have enough interest in this topic to look further into it.

Governor Daugaard signed 21 more bills into law on Feb 23 and Feb 25

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed another twenty-one bills into law on Tuesday, February 23, and Thursday, February 25. These bills were announced in a series of three press releases. First it was announced the Governor signed the new Retirement Design bill, SB 13, into law on Feb 23. Then another eight bills signed into law were announced later that day. Finally, on the twenty-fifth a group of twelve bills were announced signed into law.

HB 1103 is an interesting bill in this group because it exempts homeschooled 2nd graders from taking the state assessment. SB 28 drew a lot of attention because it mandates meningococcal immunization for school entry.

HB 1010 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions relating to the development of park and recreational improvements on lands leased to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

This bill was amended in House Ag. This bill intends to allow GFP to make improvements on leased land and get rid of old restrictions that don’t make financial sense in the modern world. The amendment was to clear up conflicts with other statutes.

HB 1010 made it through the House and Senate without a No vote.

HB 1013 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding alternative instruction achievement tests for children excused from school attendance.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Education is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Education.

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

I mostly support this bill because it means 2nd graders who are homeschooled will no longer need to take a standardized test.

HB 1014 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the sale of certain surplus real estate and to provide for the deposit of the proceeds.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Education is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Education.

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

The land in question was gifted to the SD Historical Society. Now the Society would like to possibly sell the land through School & Public Lands. It is possible the land won’t be sold, but before even looking at selling the land the Society Board would need this bill passed into law so they can do so. The Department of Education is involved because the Historical Society now falls under that division.

The land in question is described as such:

116N080W35. Screenshot from SD School & Public Lands website 2/13/16.
116N080W35. Screenshot from SD School & Public Lands website 2/13/16.

The Northwest Quarter of the Northwest Quarter and the East Half of the Northwest Quarter and the Northeast Quarter of the Southwest Quarter of Section 35, Township 116 North of Range 80 West of the 5th Principal Meridian, also described in the Warranty Deed, Mrs. Agnes B. Whitlock, Grantor to the State of South Dakota for the benefit of the State Historical Society consisting of 97.5 acres more or less.

School and Public Lands is involved because that department basically acts as the real estate agent for the State (summarized version of Commissioner Brunner’s words).

The money gained from the land would go into a trust and gain perpetual interest earnings.

I see no problem with this bill.

HB 1059 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to the garnishment of debts and property.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31) and Sen Arthur Rusch (R, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors.

This bill flew through the House without a No vote. But it barely made it through Senate Judiciary 4-3 and then passed the Senate floor 27-8.

A lot of this bill is cleanup of old language. It also removes provisions found unconstitutional years ago (such as a creditor cannot garnish until the debt is proven). The State Bar’s Debtor-Creditor is responsible for this bill. It was slightly amended in House Judiciary.

There is some substance in the bill though. Registered mail has been added as a means to serve papers. I’m not sure I like that because there is no signature, but I’m not opposed either.

The other substantive change is to change the minimal amount taken from a check from $10 to $25. That is because some people actually end up owing more on their debt after the bank and collection services have taken their cuts.

HB 1081 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to fund tax refunds for elderly persons and persons with a disability, to revise the income eligibility requirements for property and sales tax refunds, 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 went through the House and Senate without a No vote.

This was amended in Appropriations to modify the income eligibility requirements. The original part of the bill was left intact, which would appropriate $450,000 to provide refunds for real property tax and sales tax to elderly and disabled persons.

HB 1082 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Codify the list of navigable streams requiring gates.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Mary Duvall (R, Dist 24) and Sen Jeff Monroe (R, Dist 24) are the prime sponsors.

Some of this bill is cleanup. But a bigger part it to make sure these changes are made through codified law, and not through administrative rules.

Currently if there is a fence going across certain navigable waters there has to be a gate to allow traffic through. The list in code does not match what is set in rules. This bill updates the list in code. The bill also says any changes have to done legislatively in the future, and not through rules.

HB 1082 made through the House and Senate without a No vote.

HB 1087 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Repeal the requirement of a certain public election notice.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Thomas Brunner (R, Dist 29) and Sen Bob Ewing (R, Dist 31) are the prime sponsors.

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

Basically this would repeal the notice required to the SOS office for political subdivisions. I’m not sure why this statute is even on the books, especially for local elections.

HB 1089 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions for accumulation of funds for certain municipal enterprises.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Kyle Schoenfish (R, Dist 19) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

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

This would change the accumulation of funds from exceeding “an amount equivalent to ten dollars per thousand dollars of taxable valuation of all property within the municipality” and change it to “The governing body shall establish a maximum amount allowed to be accumulated in the fund.” In committee the proponent testimony noted the current limit was arbitrary. This change would make it more transparent for taxpayers and easier for cities to use their money in the ways the city finds necessary.

HB 1098 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding the exemption of motor vehicles from the motor vehicle excise tax.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) and Sen Jenna Haggar (R, Dist 10) are the prime sponsors.

This bill had a little resistance. It passed House Transportation 12-2 and the House floor 56-9.  On the Senate side it passed Senate Transportation 6-0 and the Senate floor 34-1.

One of the exemptions from vehicle excise tax is for a motor vehicle that is 11 or more model years old and is sold or transferred for $2,200 or less.  This bill would change that to $2,500 or less. I don’t see a problem with that change.  It has been almost a decade since that amount was raised.

HB 1105 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Give the court discretion to grant a continuance of a protection order in certain situations.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31) and Sen Arthur Rusch (R, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors.

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

The statutes being amended currently say no continuance may exceed thirty days.

This exception would be added:

unless the court finds good cause for the additional continuance and:
(1) The parties stipulate to an additional continuance; or
(2) The court finds that law enforcement is unable to locate the respondent for purposes of service of the ex parte protection order.

HB 1113 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Exempt from the excise tax on motor vehicles the transfer of motor vehicles to a nonprofit organization under certain conditions.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Alex Jensen (R, Dist 12) and Sen Deb Peters (R, Dist 9) are the prime sponsors.

This was amended in House Transportation clarified that the nonprofit organization has to be a 501(c)(3) exempt organization. It then went through the House and Senate without a no vote.

HB 1113 came about because when someone donates a car to a nonprofit there is an excise tax the organization must pay. This bill would exempt the nonprofit from paying that excise tax if the car was sold within 45 days. If the car is not sold within 45 days the state will require excise tax to be paid.

HB 1150 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions concerning the property tax exemption provided to local industrial development corporations.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Rep Dick Werner (R, Dist 22) and Sen Gary Cammack (R, Dist 29) are the prime sponsors.

This bill passed the House floor 51-4, but didn’t have any other No votes.

Here is what I said about the bill prior to being voted for on the House floor:

I don’t like this bill. First the current property tax exemption provided to local industrial development corporations is set to a max of $100,000. That would change to $750,000. That is a HUGE change in the max exemption.

Second, the bill appears to remove the requirement that if more than one local industrial development corporation exists in a municipality that the exemption be shared among them.

This bill looks like a huge property tax shift. The local industrial development corporations do not need to be treated special.

HB 1170 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation to reimburse certain eligible health care professionals who have complied with the requirements of the rural health care facility recruitment assistance program and to declare an emergency.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Jean Hunhoff (R, Dist 18) and Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) are the prime sponsors.

This bill had 1 No vote in Appropriations, but then went through the House and Senate without a No vote.

This would appropriate $277,500 for this program. It was amended in Appropriations to add an emergency clause. Technically these payments were already agreed to because of people meeting the requirements of the program, the money just had to be appropriated.

SB 7 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the composition of the state trunk highway system.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Transportation is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Transportation

Screenshot of DOT functional classification map.
Screenshot of DOT functional classification map.

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

Any time a change is made to the state highway system it has to be updated in statute.

This particular section of State Highway 17 in Lincoln County is going to be taken over by the county. Since there is an agreement to sell a section of HWY 17 to Lincoln the statute has to be updated so it no longer will part of the state highway system.

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.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Appropriations is the prime sponsor at the request of the Board of Regents.

This bill went through Appropriations and the Senate without a no vote. Then it passed on the House floor 65-2.

This bill was amended in Appropriations to allow other public entities to buy the land in question. This property is right next to City of Brookings. It was originally used for tree research and is not suitable for agricultural use. The money will go into a special fund where more appropriate land can be purchased.

SB 13 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish a new retirement benefit structure for certain public employees who are members of the South Dakota Retirement System.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Support
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Retirement Laws is the prime sponsor at the request of the South Dakota Retirement System.

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

This is the new retirement system being proposed for state employees going forward. After reading the bill and listening to testimony I believe the changes are good. It will provide a good competition set of retirement benefits while keeping the system fiscally solvent going into the future. This plan will only be in effect for state employees  hired after June 30, 2017.

Here is a slide from the presentation showing some high level differences of the proposed new member plan.

SDRS New Member Plan Design from SDRS presentation.
SDRS New Member Plan Design from SDRS presentation.

SB 15 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions concerning the membership of the South Dakota Investment Council.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Retirement Laws is the prime sponsor at the request of the South Dakota Retirement System.

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

This bill would add the Executive Director of the SDRS as an ex officio voting member of the South Dakota Investment Council (SDIC). Since that has been done every year it makes sense to make that policy.

SB 27 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain personnel requirements for ambulance services and to repeal the hardship exemption.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Health and Human Services is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Health.

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

This bill is to help the EMS system address making sure independent ambulance services are able to keep a competent workforce. A lot of this bill seems to come about from the previous change of putting EMS under the Department of Health. The repeal of the exemption is apparently because too many EMS providers are operating as an exemption and something had to change.

SB 28 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require meningococcal immunization for school entry.

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

The bill passed Senate Health 6-1, the Senate floor 23-10, House Health 7-6, and the House floor 42-25.

I really don’t think this bill is necessary. It is another vaccination mandate that I don’t think a strong enough case was made to make it mandatory. I think this vaccine could have easily be left as recommended and let people decide for themselves. There simply wasn’t a case made the risks override the right of parents to choose.

On the Senate floor there was an attempt to amend it in order to provide a philosophical exemption for parents to use. But that failed.

The bill also removes the immunization exemption for anyone unable to pay for the vaccination. There are programs in place to pay for those cases.

SB 85 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions regarding motorcycle license plates.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Terri Haverly (R, Dist 35) and Rep Mike Verchio (R, Dist 30) are the prime sponsors.

This bill was slightly amended in Senate Transportation, then made it through both chambers without a No vote.

This bill would set in law that a motorcycle doesn’t need to purchase two license plates issued and doesn’t require two licenses plates to be attached to the motorcycle. Only one is required.

SB 103 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize the Board of Regents to transfer certain real property to South Dakota State University Growth Partnership, Ltd. for research park purposes.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Larry Tidemann (R, Dist 7) and Rep Mark Mickelson (R, Dist 13) are the prime sponsors.

NW Quarter of 110N049W19. Screenshot from SD School & Public Lands website 2/25/16.
NW Quarter of 110N049W19. Screenshot from SD School & Public Lands website 2/25/16.

This bill had 1 No vote on the House floor.

This would allow the sale of up to twenty-five acres to South Dakota State University Growth Partnership, Ltd. for research park purposes. Apparently they are having problems getting tenants in the research park because any possible tenant cannot secure financing to build in the Park without owning the land. If the land is to be sold it will go back to the University.

House Ag has 2 GFP bills on Thurs Jan 28

20200706On Thursday, Jan 28th, at 7:45 AM the SD House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take on 3 bills. This is compiled using the agenda at the time of composing this post. Agendas can and do change!

Both of these bills are at the request of GFP. Both of these bills were scheduled for Tuesday, Jan 26. But there was no time to actually look at the bills after the GFP briefing. Below is a copy/paste of what I wrote about these bills going into the Jan 26 meeting:

HB 1010 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions relating to the development of park and recreational improvements on lands leased to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

This is a bill where testimony must be listened to in order to understand what appears to be a big change. Here is what I had to say about the bill when it was prefiled:

This bill removes restrictions on how the GFP can make improvements on leased lands. Currently § 41-2-25 reads as follows:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks shall make capital improvements on all leased lands owned by the United States government and the State of South Dakota that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas. However, the capital expenditures for such capital improvements on leased lands, other than those owned by the United States government or State of South Dakota, may not exceed the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars for any leased area upon which twenty-five years or less remain on the lease. No capital expenditures may be made on leased lands for the purposes of this title that lie within the boundaries of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

All of the above restrictions are basically eliminated by this bill and would leave this section of code to look like this:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks may make capital improvements that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas on all land leased by the department. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

That is a huge change. I’ll have to hear during committee testimony why the GFP feels it needs to spend more money by making capital improvements on leased land.

HB 1011 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Repeal certain obsolete and unnecessary statutes concerning game preserves and refuges.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

At a glance I don’t see any problems with what this bill would repeal. But testimony must be listened to in order to make certain of what is actually being repealed.

House Ag has 3 bills on Tues Jan 26

On Tuesday, Jan 26th, at 7:45 AM the SD House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take on 3 bills.

Also on the agenda is an information briefing from Game Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler. That makes sense since two of the bills on the agenda originate from the GFP.

HB 1075 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the area for certain open units where nonresident waterfowl licenses are issued.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Rep Dick Werner (R, Dist 22) and Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This bill would revise an administrative rule, instead of codified law. In particular it would modify ARSD 41:06:16:11, which deals with the maximum number of nonresident waterfowl licenses. There are a couple of style changes to the regulation. But the bigger change would be to change the following nonresident waterfowl unit (underline is new language added):

    (5) Unit NRW-00X: the counties of Campbell, Edmunds, Faulk, McPherson, Walworth, Potter, Stanley, Sully, Hughes, and Lyman. No more than 1,500 fall three-day temporary nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued. These The licenses issued pursuant to this subdivision in Potter, Stanley, Sully, Hughes, and Lyman are valid only on private property as provided by SDCL 41-6-18.4;

The map below from the GFP website shows the current location of NRW-00X:

Screen Cap from GFP website.
Screen Cap from GFP website.

I don’t really pay attention to such things so I’ll have to listen to testimony to see why Campbell, Edmunds, Faulk, McPherson, and Walworth are being added to the list.

HB 1010 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions relating to the development of park and recreational improvements on lands leased to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

This is a bill where testimony must be listened to in order to understand what appears to be a big change. Here is what I had to say about the bill when it was prefiled:

This bill removes restrictions on how the GFP can make improvements on leased lands. Currently § 41-2-25 reads as follows:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks shall make capital improvements on all leased lands owned by the United States government and the State of South Dakota that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas. However, the capital expenditures for such capital improvements on leased lands, other than those owned by the United States government or State of South Dakota, may not exceed the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars for any leased area upon which twenty-five years or less remain on the lease. No capital expenditures may be made on leased lands for the purposes of this title that lie within the boundaries of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

All of the above restrictions are basically eliminated by this bill and would leave this section of code to look like this:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks may make capital improvements that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas on all land leased by the department. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

That is a huge change. I’ll have to hear during committee testimony why the GFP feels it needs to spend more money by making capital improvements on leased land.

HB 1011 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Repeal certain obsolete and unnecessary statutes concerning game preserves and refuges.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is the prime sponsor at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

At a glance I don’t see any problems with what this bill would repeal. But testimony must be listened to in order to make certain of what is actually being repealed.

Department bills are getting prefiled for the 2016 legislative session

Livre-300pxI was looking at the South Dakota Legislative Research Council (LRC) website and noticed four department bills were prefiled for the 2016 legislative session. I’ll look briefly at the four bills. But before doing so it might be worth adding a few words about department bills in general.

Department bills

Department bills are somewhat controversial. This is because all bills are supposed to originate from the legislative branch, and not the executive branch. In theory I agree with that, but in reality these bills would be submitted anyhow, so I would rather know their source.

The way the legislature gets around the bills origination is by having a committee sponsor the bill. For instance later in this post I will be looking at HB 1009, which is at the request of the Secretary of State. The bill was assigned to the Committee on Local Government, which now becomes the technical legislative sponsor of that bill. The only part of this process I would like to change is that someone on that committee should step up and choose to be a named sponsor of the bill, and it would still be done in the name of the department in question (the Secretary of State in this case). Such a change would make someone on the committee step up and own the bill. I feel many of the problems that happened with SB 69 (SoDakLiberty Posts) may have been alleviated by having an actual sponsor that would be responsible for championing the bill; and more importantly championing what the bills intentions are.

The above change would also keep the departments origin for these bills, so it would retain the transparency that exists with the current method of handling department bills.

And now for a brief look at the four bills in question.

HB 1009 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise the distribution of the legislative manual.

The Committee on Local Government at the request of the Office of the Secretary of State

This bill is pretty simple. Every odd-numbered year the SOS has to compile a legislative manual. Currently the Bureau of Administration distributes the manual electronically, and physically at a price set by the commissioner of administration. This bill would remove the Bureau of Administration and have the SOS office distribute the manual and set the price for the physical copies. The bill also appears to remove the free physical copy for state officials and agencies. They will have to pay a price for the physical copy just like the public if I read the bill correctly. The electronic version would appear to still be free for state officials an agencies.

HB 1010 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions relating to the development of park and recreational improvements on lands leased to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks

This bill removes restrictions on how the GFP can make improvements on leased lands. Currently § 41-2-25 reads as follows:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks shall make capital improvements on all leased lands owned by the United States government and the State of South Dakota that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas. However, the capital expenditures for such capital improvements on leased lands, other than those owned by the United States government or State of South Dakota, may not exceed the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars for any leased area upon which twenty-five years or less remain on the lease. No capital expenditures may be made on leased lands for the purposes of this title that lie within the boundaries of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

All of the above restrictions are basically eliminated by this bill and would leave this section of code to look like this:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks may make capital improvements that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission deems necessary or proper for the extension, improvement, or development of state parks and recreation areas on all land leased by the department. The authority provided in this section is in addition to the limits prescribed under § 5-14-10.

That is a huge change. I’ll have to hear during committee testimony why the GFP feels it needs to spend more money by making capital improvements on leased land.

HB 1011 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Repeal certain obsolete and unnecessary statutes concerning game preserves and refuges.

The Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources at the request of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

At a glance I don’t see any problems with what this bill would repeal.

SB 6 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain performance security requirements for public improvement contracts.

The Committee on State Affairs at the request of the Bureau of Administration.

This makes changes to section 5-21 of South Dakota Codified Law, which deals with Performance Bonds For Public Improvement Contracts. Currently a waiver of performance and payment bonds on contracts less than $50,000 can be granted. That would be repealed and instead the emergency procurement law for public agencies laid out in 5-18A-9 would need to be used. This removes the monetary limit, but seems to have language limiting the use of emergency. At a brief glance it seems like a good change. But committee testimony will need to be listened to.

SD Ag Summit 2015 Part 2: Belle Fourche Irrigation District Tour pictures

Part of the SD Governor’s Agricultural Summit 2015 was a series of tours on July 9th. The first of these tours revolved around the Belle Fourche Irrigation District. For the tour posts of the Ag Summit I will mostly be posting some pictures and a few interesting tidbits. I won’t really do any reporting on the tours.

Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15

Belle Fourche is french for Beautiful Forks, because it is where the Redwater and Belle Fourche Rivers meet. At the time of its construction, 1905-1914, it was the largest earth dam of its type in the world. The Dam was a project of the Bureau of Reclamation, for the purpose of providing irrigation to agriculture in the area; which in turn would hopefully entice people into this part of the west. That is one irony I find today: many of the same environmental groups that want to use big government to clear people away from land don’t realize that big government was used to entice people into settling those lands….

The dam and gravity fed irrigation system is managed by the Belle Fourche River Watershed Partnership. The state itself has little to do with the Dam project, other than the DENR helping to set the amount of water that will go to each irrigation customer. Also, the Rocky Point Recreation Area is run by the GFP as a State Park with full camping services (I actually camped at Rocky Point for this visit, I have to admit the GFP did good with this project.. although I still question why the State is in the camping industry).

Also it is interesting to find out is that a POW camp was located at this site during WWII. I still find it odd that POW camps existed in the middle of US during WWII.

When speaking with people I found out that it is less confusing if I refer to the dam as Orman Dam, instead of Belle Fourche Dam. Just because the dam was renamed it doesn’t change what people actually call it.

Instead of rambling on about the Dam, I will instead provide the following pictures of the informational markers that are available to the public near the dam. Click on the images to make them bigger so they can be read; you might have to click a second time and scroll around to make them big enough to read.

Marker detailing the Early History of Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the Early History of Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing a Century of Water for Western SD. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing a Century of Water for Western SD. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the State of the Art Construction of the Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the State of the Art Construction of the Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing Belle Fourche Dam as the largest Earth-fill Dam of its time. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing Belle Fourche Dam as the largest Earth-fill Dam of its time. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing how Camp Orman was the second largest city in Western SD at the time. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing how Camp Orman was the second largest city in Western SD at the time. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the history of Camp Fruitdale at Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the history of Camp Fruitdale at Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the agricultural opportunities of the Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker detailing the agricultural opportunities of the Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker showing the site of the CCC and later POW camp at Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15
Marker showing the site of the CCC and later POW camp at Belle Fourche Dam. Photo by Ken Santema 07/09/15

Notes from the South Dakota Governor’s Habitat Summit 2013

habitatsummitOn Friday, December 3, in Huron I attended the South Dakota Governor’s Habitat Summit 2013. It was an interesting event and as a conservationist I felt it would be an important event for the state.  A video of the speakers can be viewed on the SD Game, Fish & Parks website. This post has some random notes I took at the event; along with some of my opinions thrown in. This post is NOT a comprehensive examination of the event, rather it is some key points I think are important so I can potentially draw on for future posts.

  • Opening Remarks – Jeff Vonk – Secretary, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks
    • Vonk remarked that an event of this type had not been held since the mid-70’s for a pheasant congress.
    • Vonk said the intent of the summit was to focus purely upon habitat. This is important because it became an issue later in the small group I attended.
  • Opening Remarks – Dennis Daugaard – Governor
    • Daugaard asked the question of how does agriculture co-exist with pheasant hunting. Since any answer to the habitat problems in South Dakota must involve farmers I believe this is the most important question asked… One which has no simple answer.
  • History of Pheasants in SD – Tony Leif – Director, Wildlife Division of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks
    • There have been 95 pheasant seasons in South Dakota. I found it interesting that the first pheasant season in 1919 was in Spink County, had a bag limit of 2, and lasted only 1 day. It is hard to imagine that today. I recommend watching his whole presentation for a good history lesson.
    • Leif mentioned a mixture of grassland and cropland is perfect for pheasants. Any solution going forward must balance multiple types of vegetation.
    • Leif said there are two main factors that control pheasant numbers.
      • First weather impacts pheasant numbers in the short-term.
      • Second habitat impacts pheasant numbers in the long-term.
    • In 1947 out-of-state hunters were banned. Luckily two years later hunting for out of staters was restored.
    • The ’85 farm bill CRP allowed a 10-15 year period of cropland being turned to grassland.
  • Barry Dunn, Ph. D. – South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean, SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
    • My favorite line from Dr Dunn was when says climate change is a topic “no one understands”. I agree completely. I feel both sides of the climate change debate have focused too much on junk science and ideology. This is not likely to change anytime soon in my opinion.
    • Dunn also mentioned that wildlife is ‘publicly owned’. I would actually like to discuss this topic with Dr Dunn some time in the future. I think it would be interesting to find ways to reconcile private property rights and public wildlife access. That is a topic that needs more open and honest discussion going forward.
    • “Precision Agriculture”. That was a great phrase Dunn used. Using sub-optimal land for crops makes no sense. Farmers would be better seved using prime land for ag, and using less prime land for conservation.
  • Bruce Knight – Principle and Founder, Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC
    • Knight noted diets are changing worldwide towards meat. That will change the very of nature of agriculture moving forward; both worldwide and locally.
    • Knight had another great phrase similar to Dunn’s “Precision Agriculture”; he used the term ‘sustainable intensification’. If I understand the concept correctly it means getting the greatest amount of production from farmland while balancing the needs of the environment.
    • Knight supports crop insurance as a risk management tool.
    • Knight also mentioned that any solution on habitat must include ranchers. This is even more true due to the nature of diets changing worldwide.
  • Dave Nomsen – VP of Governmental Affairs, Pheasants Forever
    • The best part of Nomsen’s presentation was the idea that every farm and ranch has pieces of land that can be used for conservation. That may mean being creative. Literally this may mean thinking ‘outside of the box’ (my words, not his).
  • Jim Hagen – Secretary, South Dakota Department of Tourism
    • Honestly didn’t pay too much attention here… Our out-of-state marketing campaign just isn’t that interesting to me. I believe out-of-state hunters is important for South Dakota tourism.. its just not a topic I have an interest in.

After each speaker there was a panel discussion. The discussion was interesting. But I felt it was almost painfully obvious that any true discussion of the downside of the Farm Bill’s incentive to remove conservation land was avoided. The lowering of CRP funding was mentioned as a factor in reducing habitat land. However the subsidies that create incentives for farmers to plow sub-prime land was not really touched on in any detail. Without looking at the bad sides of crop subsidies in the Farm Bill I don’t think the conversation is truly complete. Right now I believe the Farm Bill as it is encourages bad conservation practices.

Knight also mentioned during the panel discussion that ranchers are challenged by property taxes being based on soil type instead of use. I agree. If land is going to be taxed based upon potential instead of its actual use that will create incentives for ranchers to get the most value out of their land in terms of money.

The small group I was in after the panel discussion focused mostly around CRP and the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the Game, Fish, and Parks. An interesting idea brought forward was having a state-level CRP program. However there was very little confidence within the small group as to the GFP’s ability to manage such a program. There were multiple examples brought forward of GFP (and School & Public Lands to a lesser extent) resources being managed poorly. Almost every member of the small group also seemed to think there was no communication or coordination within the GFP. Many of the attendees I spoke with feel the GFP does not work with farmers; rather anytime a farmer deals with the GFP they feel as if the GFP is acting against them. This is an issue the GFP has to fix before farmers will work with them on a long-term solution.

My small group also had someone walk out saying “When will we even attend a summit focusing on predators”. That attendee had a point. Any time predators were mentioned it was shot down almost immediately. Yet at the same time I feel the current predator problem is actually habitat related. With reduced habitat’s it will cause the predators to use more habitats that were used by their prey.

Personally I don’t think anything will come directly out of this summit. First, any solution coming from the state would likely involved GFP, and there was a large proportion of the crowd that had little or no trust in the GFP’s ability to implement anything. Second, the Farm Bill is federal. It is unlikely anyone at the state level can actually do anything about that. Third, it would require a lot of money for any state program to be funded. In retrospect the $30 million Daugaard set aside for Building South Dakota could make a good start for a state level conservation program (I am usually opposed to expansion of government, but such a program if run well may have benefits that outweigh the negatives).

I believe Daugaard will have this summit again next year. I look forward to seeing what, if anything, is done over the next year.

On a side note I am working with some others who are looking at a private solution to a conservation program. More coming on that later this winter if something develops.