Legislative Highlights 4-3-13

Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Monday, March 25, was the last day of our 88th Legislative Session. This date is set aside to consider all bills that the Governor vetoed throughout the session and the two weeks following our regular session. This year Governor Daugaard vetoed one bill, SB115. Its prime sponsor was Senator Shantel Krebs.

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This bill increased the commercial fertilizer inspection fee used for the purposes of fertilizer and related research and to create the Nutrient Research Education Council to promote such research.

Proponents argued SB115 was 1) supported by industry, conservation, and producer organizations, 2) funding was to be ongoing with non-general fund dollars, 3) South Dakota producers are leaders in the United States in the use of biotechnology but are limited because of outdated fertilizer research.

Opponents argued that the 15 cent increase to the fertilizer inspection fee was over and above program costs. Therefore, it is not a fee but a tax. The Governor also shared that $1. million was budgeted to the Ag. Experiment Station with ongoing general fund increases. There also was $500,000 legislated to the Ag. Experiment Station on a one-time basis this year. Therefore, he vetoed SB115.

To override a veto, it takes a 2/3 vote, which means 24 of the 35 Senators have to vote in favor of the override. When the vote was taken, there were 22 votes in favor of the override and 13 against; therefore, the veto was sustained. I voted to override this veto.

As we wrapped the day up, I was called to Senate Majority Leader Russ Olson’s office and notified I was being appointed to the Board of Water and Nature Resources Legislative oversight committee. The mission of this committee is the following:

“The mission of the South Dakota Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program is to capitalize the fund to the fullest; maintain, restore and enhance the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the state’s waters for the benefit of the overall environment; protect public health; and to promote the economic well-being of the citizens of the state of South Dakota.”

Thank you for the opportunity of being your District 22 Senator. Please contact me at 350-5127 or jimwhite@hur.midco.net.

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Legislative Highlights

The final day of the 2013 South Dakota Legislature, better known as veto day, is now in the books. The final day dealt with the Governor’s line item veto of House Bills #1137 and #1185. Both line items had to do with the Governor’s desire that the student count in our K-12 system be based on the FYE 2013 count versus the FYE 2012. The House agreed with the Governor on these two line items. The Senate dealt with the fertilizer tax of 15 cents per ton that SB 115 imposed with its passage. The bill passed through the Senate the first time with 30 votes in favor, but on veto day it failed to get the required 24 votes in the Senate to override the Governor’s veto and thus the bill failed.

Following the final close of the 2013 legislative session, the Joint Appropriations Committee, of which I sit on, met to address a few business items and set our interim schedule. If you ever attended any of the committee meetings in Pierre, the Appropriations Committee is the only committee in which the members are seated at a boardroom table facing each other and the presenters are on one end and the House and Senate Committee Chairs are on the opposite end. All other committee settings the members sit at the front of the room and face the presenter and those in attendance. Those attending the Appropriations Committee meeting sit behind the committee members and can see and hear what they are doing during the meeting.

During this past session when we were getting the presentation from the Board of Regents, the comment was made by one of the presenters that the average college debt of a student graduating from our university system is $24,000. I turned to a committee member seated beside me and stated that is less than the price of a new car. That evening I received an email from an SDSU student who sat behind me who was upset with my comment. I replied to him asking him if he overheard the rest of my comment to my fellow committee member. He stated that he did not.

I shared with him that when I graduated in 1976 from high school and a fellow classmate of mine was offered by his father a brand new car which meant he would stay home and farm with him or that he would pay for him to attend college. I suggested to my fellow classmate at the time that he would be best to consider the college offer. He instead took the new car offer and became a very popular young man in my hometown. When I graduated from USD in 1980, his car was no longer new and his popular item had lost its attraction. Shortly after that his father died and then the farm crisis hit and he ended up selling the family farm. To this day my friend tells me he should have listened to my suggestion and accepted the college offer over the new car. When I emailed back the SDSU student with the rest of the story that he didn’t overhear, he said that is a great story of the true value of a college degree and thanked me for sharing it. I agreed.

Thank you to the residents of Beadle and Kingsbury Counties for the honaor you have bestowed on me to represent you. I appreciate it very much. You can contact me at 350-1371 or dickwerner_5@hotmail.com.