As the fifth week of the legislature came to an end, more bills hit the floor for debate.
Eight or nine gun bills have been introduced. So far, the House has voted on two of them. The most significant was HB 1116 to repeal the requirement that citizens must have a concealed-pistol permit to carry a concealed pistol. I view this as a basic freedom bill and voted to support it. It passed 44-23.
This week the House is scheduled to hear HB 1206. This bill would authorize students to carry concealed pistols on public university campuses. I don’t believe guns, hormones and campus parties are a smart mix. I plan to oppose this bill.
We heard HB 1093 in Education Committee. The bill would allow students to opt-out of state assessments. After vigorous debate, it was narrowly defeated by a 7 to 8 vote. Because of the relationship between state assessments and Common Core, and due to the closeness of the committee vote, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this bill smoked out of committee so the full House can debate it.
One of the bills I am sponsoring will pass to the Senate this week. On Thursday, I’ll testify in Senate Education for the Big Stone School Fairness bill, HB 1097. If it passes through the Senate and is signed into law by the Governor, it will allow Big Stone School to remain open without the need to consolidate. It has a good record so far, passing out of House Ed Committee 15-0, and 68-1 on the House Floor. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for continued good luck.
I’m also the lead on two state department bills. On Tuesday, I’ll present one of them, HB 1030 before the full House. This is a Department of Transportation measure that if passed, will create safer roads for bicyclists and motor vehicles.
This week I’ll also be participating along with Rep. Wick and Senator Peterson in honoring the Sioux Valley School Board for the state school board Award of Excellence. This award is given to one school board each year that best exemplifies excellence in public service. I’m excited this year’ award goes to a District 4 school.
Looking at other bills that came to us on the House floor, HB 1094 would have allowed the minimum wage to be adjusted up or down each year depending on changes in the national Consumer Price Index. As you might recall, the minimum wage was voted on in the last election. With the exception of something that wasn’t explained properly during the election or other significant issue, I don’t believe it’s the legislature’s place to change what was just established by the voters. I voted against the measure. It failed 14-53.
Another bill that received a great deal of discussion was HB 1179. If the measure makes its way through the legislature it would expand the definition of a Veteran to include those that served in the Reserves and National Guard. I feel that any soldier that raised their right hand to swear to defend our beloved county and state, and honorably served their obligation should be recognized as a Veteran. This bill does not diminish the service of past Veterans. Sponsored by Rep. Wollmann, himself a Marine Veteran, the bill passed 63-4 and now moves on to the Senate.
Finally, two Highway Funding Bills are making their way through the legislature. This past week, the Senate passed SB 1 by a vote of 26-8. SB 1 is the legislation that was originally introduced by the summer study task force chaired by Senator Vehle. The bill was amended to more closely reflect the bill introduced by Governor Daugaard (HB 1131). A key similarity in the two bills is acceptance of annual 2-cent tax increases per gallon for gasoline and alcohol blends. The provision for perpetual tax increases have been stripped from both bills. The Senate version caps those after nine years. The House caps after 15 years. Currently, the estimate for the both versions is approximately $50 million, with the full amount reach approximately $230 million by 2023. There will continue to be significant modification of these bills.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you. You can follow my votes on my Facebook Page Fred Deutsch, South Dakota Representative, as well as follow the legislative process on the South Dakota LRC website. You can also contact me at Rep. Deutsch@state.sd.us with any concerns, questions, or thoughts about any bill.
Thanks for reading, and hope to hear from you soon!