Our third week of the 90th legislator session is now history. With 13 of the 39 legislative days complete, we’re a third of the way done. Session kicks in high gear this week.
I’m the Prime Sponsor of two bills. HB 1097 is the Big Stone School Bill. It passed out of committee 15-0. If the bill makes its way all the way through the legislature and is signed into law, it will allow Big Stone School to operate below the minimum threshold of 100 students. The bill adds a “fairness clause” to the law that reads: “For any school district
that does not operate a high school and contracts with an adjoining school district in Minnesota to educate its resident high school students, the minimum fall enrollment that the school district must maintain pursuant to this section is not 100, but rather is equal to a pro-rated share of 100 based upon the number of grades offered within the school district.”
One Superintendent told me the committee vote “wasn’t just a victory for Big Stone School but for small schools everywhere.”
I’m scheduled to present the bill to the full House on Wednesday, February 3. If it passes on the House floor, it will then go to the Senate for deliberation. It’s supported by both the teacher’s union and the Department of Education, and I’ve secured about 60% of the legislature as co-sponsors.
The other bill I’m Priming is for the Municipal League. It authorizes an emergency appointment to the municipal election board in the event a vacancy occurs prior to the election. It passed out of committee 7-0.
BILLS ON THE MOVE
One of the notable bills passed this week was SB73, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act proposed by the Governor. The bill passed the Senate with unanimous support. It reserves commitment by the Department of Corrections for only those young people who commit the most serious offenses and present a risk to the public. It will also develop an array of effective interventions for youth offenders. The intent is to provide youth the help they need without being removed from their homes. The reforms will also help Judges as they perform the difficult task of weighing how best to set youth on a better path.
A second bill that passed with ease was the Wine Shipment Bill, HB1001. After a summer of work by many
stakeholders, it passed the House this week 65-2. It allows South Dakotans to legally purchase and ship wine from any state in the country directly to your home.
The House also debated a number of resolutions this week. The most talked-about resolution called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its Roe and Casey decisions that legalized abortions nationwide. The measure passed 60-10. The House Sponsor, Rep. Roger Hunt said the resolution is “intended to protect the intrinsic, the fundamental, the natural rights of our innocent children, (and) the pregnant women in their relationships with their innocent, unborn children.” Rep. Mike Stevens from Yankton, spoke about the many other times in history when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed earlier positions on major issues such as slavery and segregated schools.
FOLLOW MY VOTES
One of the easiest ways to follow my voting record is to subscribe to my legislative Facebook book page Fred-Deutsch-
South-Dakota-Representative. Each day I record my votes – yes or no – along with a brief explanation and link to the bill. This is one of the ways I remain accountable to you.
Please contact me with your concerns at Rep.Deutsch@state.sd.us. I very much appreciate the privilege of serving you.