From Capitol Hill

Senate Report by Bryan Breitling

Final Legislative Week

With the end of session, there are a few more deadlines to focus on this week. Monday, all bills need to pass both houses, and by Wednesday, the General Budget bill needs to be heard in the House, followed by the Senate on Thursday, the last day of the 2024 legislative session. So, we will work toward the resolution of the final bill, conference committees, and final budget negotiations to pass a balanced budget in South Dakota!

In Joint Appropriations, this eighth week, we completed seven departments budget setting, and the rest of the time was spent researching and negotiating differences to finalize the budget.

Senate legislation of interest this week include SB 70, an appropriation for the replacement of the Richmond Lake dam and spillway, was passed. A major state-owned dam that is nearly 100 years old and could flood the city of Aberdeen if it breached.

SB45, an appropriation for establishment of a Center for Quantum Information, an investment in technology that only a few states in the nation have invested to date, placing South Dakota in the center of information technology advancement!

SB49 continues to set dollars into the incarceration fund in preparation for the new men’s prison to be built, to futuristically replace the existing unsafe and inefficient 140-year-old state penitentiary.

SB53, appropriation for eligible water and wastewater projects, puts more than $120M in the state water board to be distributed throughout the state for South Dakota water projects over the next three years.

SB187, an appropriation for cyber security, places $7M in a fund to set up and support local governments to transition to a safer network and email system.

HB1065, an appropriation for a multi-use building on the state fairgrounds to support the sheep industry was passed, approving $4M and other fundraising toward this development.

HB1092, an act to revise 911 emergency surcharge was passed. This bill has been under intense negotiations over the last several weeks as it does increase the 911 surcharge on all phones in South Dakota to $2, but the agreement resulted in a one-year sunset pending a number of metrics the 911 board needs to research and accomplish and report back before the next legislative session. So, there will continue to be more dialogue on this topic over the next year.

And on a lighter note, HB1228 was passed, an act to allow fluorescent pink as approved exterior hunting garments. This is a law making its way through midwestern states due to the growing female hunting lifestyle.

Early in session there is a lot of structure to get the work of lawmaking completed, but these last weeks of session tend to result in a lot of flexible time to allow for the negotiation on the remaining various bills, conference committees, and budget items as we reach session deadlines.

Thanks to everyone who attended the legislative session and/or shared your views of the future of South Dakota. As always, I can be reached at [email protected].

House Report by Scott Moore

As I begin this final update, we will be entering the final four days of the 99th session. As legislators we will be reviewing and voting on appropriation/spending bills, some cleanup bills and negotiation will need to start and get completed on bills where we have kicked the can down the road to the final days or hours.

We have three pipeline bills, SB 201J- and two-house bills HB 1185 and HB 1186 that were amended by the Senate Thursday, February 29. The education bill HB 1048 (Accountability Bill) still not settled as it got amended on the Senate side, and on House side. Also, HB1140D a bill dealing with elections was hog-housed and released to legislators at the end of day on February 29th. Last minute negotiation isn’t the best way for making law and policy, but it seems to be a way. We must remember there are thirty-five senators and seventy house members that need to come to a consensus. We will not all agree on everything, but we will and need to get the final state business completed.

SB 201J was debated on the House floor and voted on Monday, February 26. This bill is both emotional and controversial for many. Leadership did a good job allowing a lengthy, one hour and forty-minutes, and proper debate on this bill. By the time this article gets distributed many and most of the final decisions will have been made.

Being your representative for the past two years has been educational and informative. I look forward to representing District 23 for the 100th and 101st legislative sessions with your support.

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