Dist. 21 Lawmakers Explain Issues at Legislative Coffee

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

Several bills that are up for consideration in the legislature were explained at Saturday’s mornings legislative coffee with Dist. 21 lawmakers.

Winner Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event at the Holiday Inn Express.

Sen. Billie Sutton, Rep. Julie Bartling and Rep. Lee Qualm went over the bills in this session. Qualm noted this year there are a lot more bills that have been proposed.

Bartling said a bill that would have placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot to change the legislative term limits was defeated in the House state affairs committee.

Bartling said the committee took a minimum amount of testimony on the governor’s interstate licensure compact and will take full testimony the week of Feb. 12. She said the bill is generating some unfavorable comments from a number of professions that have concerns about the implementation of the licensure program as well as oversight concerns.

Bartling said the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee received a report from the Game, Fish and Parks on the animal damage fund and its activity. From July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, approximately $200,000 was generated and was used to fund a second airplane and gunner for hunting coyotes. Bartling added with the use of the plane about 8,000 coyotes have been taken.

Sutton serves on the appropriations committee and says this week the committee will be able to review the revenue projections. Sutton says the conversation is that the revenue projections are a little bit better than expected.

Qualm said there is interest in HB 1120 which provides equal access for all students to activities sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association. This bill deals with students who are home schooled.

Sutton feels this should be a local control issue with local school boards.

Bartling said there will be a good debate on an education bill to ban collective bargaining.

Qualm said there are several measures to solve the non-meandered waters issue. The only water area in Tripp County considered as a non meandered water way is Dog Ear Lake.

The legislators held a special session in June to fix the issue but that bill will expire this June 30.

Different factions of lawmakers are trying to find sufficient support for their preferred changes.

There are several house and senate bills proposed on the water issue.

The lawmakers were asked if they had heard much on the Keystone XL pipeline. They said hey had not heard a lot from TransCanada, the company that is building pipeline.

The lawmakers said they have four weeks left in the session which will end its main run on March 9. The lawmakers gather a last time on March 26.

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