Lee Qualm

Session passed the half way point this week and the pace is moving very quickly now.  Over the past week, substantial debate focused on legislation regarding guns, abortion, death penalty, highway funding, taxes and a balanced budget amendment.  Education funding is also a major topic of discussion.  So far the Governor has signed 16 bills into law and an additional 16 bills are on his desk waiting for approval.

On Tuesday the House passed HB 1179 with a vote of 63-4, a bill to change the definition of a veteran so South Dakota members of the National Guard and Reserve would become classified as veterans in state law regardless of whether or not they have seen active duty.  The bill does not make them eligible for federal veteran’s benefits, but it recognizes the service of many of our citizen’s to our state and nation as the National Guard plays a significant role in the defense of our country.  The legislation would impact about 25,000 guardsmen and reserve members who don’t currently qualify.

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed SB 190- an act to clarify health coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) which is defined as the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications, using behavioral stimuli and consequences, to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior, including the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationship between environment and behavior.   The bill states that every policy, contract, certificate, or plan subject to the provisions of this Act shall provide coverage for applied behavior analysis for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders.  It also sets coverage amounts for different age groups.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 1 with a vote of 26-8.  Senate Bill 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).  House Bill 1131 is scheduled for hearing in House State Affairs on Wednesday, February 18th.

This week the Senate and House killed 4 death penalty bills.  The House State Affairs Committee killed two death penalty bills on Wednesday.  HB 1158 would have required that a victim’s opposition to the death penalty be presented at a presentence hearing.  The bill failed with a 10-2 vote.  HB 1159 would have permitted South Dakotans to express opposition to the death penalty when applying for a state issued identification card.  The bill failed 10-2.  Senate State Affairs killed two death penalty bills on Wednesday also.  SB 121 would have repealed the death penalty.  The bill failed 7-2.  SB 122 would have revised provisions to the death penalty including the addition of a requirement that a jury would have to find that the defendant is too dangerous to be incarcerated and is an ongoing danger to the public and the prison community.  The bill failed 7-2.

So far there have been 8 gun bills addressed in committee or seen on the floors.  HB 1096 would revise certain procedures for issuing a permit to carry a concealed pistol.  The bill passed the House 52-5.  HB 1215 would provide for an optional enhanced permit to carry a concealed pistol by enhancing reciprocity with other states.  It passed House State Affairs 12-0.  SB 192 would permit the sergeant-at-arms to carry concealed firearms in the state capital building under certain conditions.  On Thursday, it passed Senate Judiciary 5-2.  HB 1206 would authorize the concealed carry of pistols on public university campuses under certain circumstances.  The bill passed House Local Government Committee Thursday with a vote of 8-5.  HB 1183 would repeal the prohibition against carrying permitted concealed weapons in the state capitol building. The bill has been assigned to House Local Government Committee and has been deferred to next week.  HB1205 would provide for the certification by a chief law enforcement officer of the transfer of certain firearms.  The bill has been assigned to House Judiciary and scheduled for hearing on February 18.  There have been two gun bills that have been killed… SB 129 would revise provisions relating to trespass associated with hunting.  The bill passed Ag Committee 8-0 but failed on the Senate floor 12-21.  SB 162 would permit certain legislators to carry concealed firearms in the state capitol building under certain conditions.  On Thursday, it failed in Senate Judiciary with a vote of 1-6.

Some of the miscellaneous bills are:  SB 57- Authorize and regulate the playing of craps, roulette, and keno within Deadwood.  It passed Senate 27-7.  SB 73- Improve Public Safety Regarding Juvenile Justice passed the Senate 35-0.  HB 1195 – Declare void the transgender policy of the South Dakota High School Activities Association and to establish a determinant in identifying a student’s sexual identity for the purpose of participating in high school athletics.  The bill passed the House 51-16.  HB 1216- Repeal the limitation on the total amount or revenue payable from taxes on real property for all taxing districts, except school districts.  The bill failed the House 22-46.

We have three cracker barrels this coming Saturday the 21st of February.  The first is in Avon at 9:00 AM in the convenience store on the highway, next is in Wagner at 10:30 AM in Booms Restaurant and then in Lake Andes at 1:00 PM in the Community Building on Main St.  I look forward to seeing many of you at these events.

Thank you again for giving me the privilege to serve you in the South Dakota House.   Please feel free to contact me any time at rep.qualm@state.sd.us or my cell phone (605) 207-0406.   Have a wonderful and blessed week.

Representative Lee Qualm

Chairman of House Ag and Natural Resources Committee

House Local Government Committee

State and Tribal Relations Committee

Billie Sutton

Week 5 of the 2015 Legislative Session is now in the books, which means that we are over halfway done.  Many big issues are yet to be addressed, with crossover day quickly approaching on the 25th, which means that all bills have to pass their house of origin in order for them to continue through the process.

So far this legislative session, we have seen some encouraging signs that lawmakers and the executive branch are willing and ready to make smart investments in health care.  We are facing serious workforce shortages in health care across South Dakota, and especially in our rural areas.  Many of the challenges facing rural areas are due to low wages.  It can be very difficult to attract and retain valuable employees when fast food chain restaurants are able to offer a higher starting salary than a healthcare provider.  Much of this goes back to South Dakota’s low Medicaid reimbursement rates as compared to other states.  The most critical issue in the healthcare industry is workforce turnover. The Association of Health Care Providers has been tracking turnover since 2011 and shows a turnover of 57% for direct care providers in FY14.  South Dakota’s high turnover rate in our health care industry especially impacts the care of children and those with disabilities as it creates a break in treatment.  The Governor is proposing a two percent increase to provider reimbursement rates and as the session comes to a close I will be looking to find more dollars to put toward provider reimbursement rates.

SB 190 passed the Senate last week and would require insurance companies to offer coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (“ABA”) for children with Autism.  This has been something that I have supported the last several years, but it hasn’t gotten much traction until this year.  The bill resulted from a Summer Study on insurance coverage for certain types of autism treatment.  Four public forums were held across the state this past summer.  Private insurance or Medicaid in South Dakota generally does not cover ABA services.  Thirty-seven other states have adopted some sort of coverage guarantee for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Treatment of autism is also an important healthcare and workforce issue because it has been proven that new therapies for autism are very successful in helping many children succeed in school and then in the workforce.

The annual maximum benefit would be $36K for ages 0-6; $25K ages 7-13; and; $12.5K ages 14-18.  Some would argue that this does not go far enough, as ABA Therapy can be much more costly than this depending on the need of the child.  Even so, this is definitely a step in the right direction.  It seems that SB 190 is a good compromise after a bitter battle last year, and let’s hope we can get it passed so it will help families with autistic children.

There are a number of bills this Session that seek to make adjustments to a schools capital outlay fund by lowering the cap on mill levies as well as capping the growth of property tax valuations as it pertains to capital outlay.  This proposal would very simply seek to capture some of those future savings and shift them to the General Fund as local effort, effectively decreasing the state’s share of education for future years.  This proposal could potentially be very detrimental to a school’s option to make capital improvements to their buildings and infrastructure as well as letting the state off the hook by shifting more cost for education to property tax payers.

There are 151 school districts in South Dakota and each and every one has a unique story. Every school district has a reason for why they need these Capital Outlay dollars, and that is why we elect school board members.  This is an issue that is dealt with at the local level and that is the way it should stay.

District 21 legislators will be hosting three legislative forum’s this coming weekend, and we want to welcome anyone and everyone to attend in order to get an update on the legislative session as well ask any questions that you may have of your legislators.  All three forums will be held on Saturday, February 21st as follows:  Avon at 9:00 a.m. at the A-1 gas stop, Wagner at 11:00 a.m. at Booms, and Lake Andes at 1:00 p.m. at the Community Building on Main Street.

Even though we are now over halfway done with the 2015 session, we have a lot to do and very little time to do it in.  I encourage anyone to contact me with questions, concerns, and new ideas about how we can improve South Dakota as we move through the rest of this session.  It is an honor to be your Senator, and I will continue working hard for all of you and for the great state of South Dakota.

HYPERLINK “mailto:sen.sutton@state.sd.us” sen.sutton@state.sd.us

605-830-5540

District 21 Senator

Minority Leader

Billie H. Sutton

Winner Guard Members Included in Deployment to Kuwait

The South Dakota Army National Guard’s 155th Engineer Company has received an alert order for possible mobilization to Kuwait.

The 155th and its 162 assigned members are scheduled for deployment in the August 2015 timeframe. The unit’s headquarters is in Rapid  City with its Detachment 1 in Wagner. The unit includes five to six persons from the Winner area. Of the company’s 162 members, 90 are from Wagner and the surrounding area.

The 155th is a vertical engineer company capable of providing engineer support in the construction of base camps as well as constructing, repairing and maintaining other vertical infrastructures in support of units within a brigade combat team, division or corps.

The unit will report to Fort Bliss, Texas, to complete several weeks of theater-specific training prior to deployment overseas.

This will be the second mobilization for the 155th which deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Noble Eagle in 2002-2003.

S.D. Magazine Story

Nine years ago Marla Bull Bear did a vision quest, something traditionally done by young men to seek life guidance. She hiked a summit above the pine timber reserves on the Rosebud Reservation, her home, and waited quietly for answers.

The reason behind the vision quest was a feeling that she, and other community leaders needed to do something about a rash of suicides that occurred on the Rosebud about 10 years ago. They met with at the St. Francis school in 2002 to brainstorm solutions. Roy Stone, a medicine man from Mission, opened the program with a prayer and spoke of the Lakota circle of life. Other leaders offered their perspectives. Later, someone surveyed the youth to see if any of the ideas had an impact. Most teens mentioned one particular speaker: the medicine man.

“I thought about that for a while and then I realized that he was different because he spoke about their culture and they must have wanted that connection,” says Marla Bull Bear, a camp founder. She and several friends brainstormed and came up with the idea of a summer of camps designed to connect the teens with their Lakota roots.

After the first summer Bull Bear was happy with the success of the camps but had a feeling she must do more. She and six female friends then did the vision quest, 24 hours on the summit. Meditating about what path her life should take. “That helped me clarify what I need to do,” she said. That was 9 years and 6,000 campers ago.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe provided ten acres on the site of Milk’s Camp, a near forgotten village founded by the renowned Chief Milk. Most original residences are now gone, but there is a pow wow grounds remaining along Ponca Creek and an Episcopal Church. Chief Milk is buried on a hill above the old church.

The youth retreats are known as Family Camp. At least four camps are held every summer, each four days long with a different theme. Harvest camp in early June is based around the Indian culture’s edible and medicinal herbs. Three hundred have been identified on the camp’s grounds including wild turnips, purple coneflower (the root eases toothaches) sweet grass used for smudging and wide-leaf wild sage that was brought from Bear Butte.

The other themes are  hunting, leadership camp and horsemanship. Bullbear and her assistants don’t have the time or resources to track the success rate of the youth who have attended camps. In fact, they hardly have the resources to run the camps. “We run on a shoestring,” she told a South Dakota Magazine writer. “The tribe has helped. The state has helped. If we had $100,000 a year we would be flourishing. We are probably operating on half of that.”

To raise more money, Bull Bear and her helpers at the Native American Advocacy Program are inviting tourists to Milk’s Camp for retreats, reunions or group gatherings. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn the about Lakota culture while sleeping in canvas tipis and lodge houses. Bull Bear helps that welcoming visitors will raise enough revenue to continue the Family Camps in summer.

During the dead of winter it’s fun to think of riding horses on green grass, searching for while turnips, singing around the campfire and taking nature walks. We all feel that way, but none more so than the kids from Rosebud and Pine Ridge who attended Family Camp. If you are making summer vacation plans in February, check out the website at www.lakotanaap.org to see what they have to offer for non-campers. You might learn something new.

A Ride Through History

Mobridge postcard. with history story jpg

The tall prairie grass would have rolled like waves sweeping across a windy bay.

Stan Johnson imagined how the wind would have swept the prairie grass 100 years earlier as he traveled near Milbank on a passenger train.

In 1941, Johnson’s parents allowed him to travel alone from Chicago, Ill., to Tacoma, Wash., on the Olympian, one of America’s greatest luxury trains of pre-World War II days. Johnson’s stepfather was a conductor on the Olympian and, although he was only 13, Johnson had already made many trips by train from the West Coast to Chicago. Johnson described the journey in “The Milwaukee Road Olympian: A Ride to Remember,” published by the Museum of North Idaho.

The Olympian was operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (the Milwaukee Road) between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. It featured elegant air-conditioned cars, comfortable berths and gourmet dining. The Olympian entered South Dakota near Big Stone City about 5 hours after pulling out of the St. Paul Union Station at 8:40 a.m. Central Time, according to one of the book’s reproduced timetables.

The many Irish and Dutch families who settled near Milbank raised grain and built windmills that ground grain into flour. By the time Johnson traveled through Milbank, the sole windmill stood in the center of town as a historical monument.

The Olympian traveled past Webster, Bristol, Andover, Groton and Bath, all known as ’10-mile towns’ because of the spacing between sidings, Johnson wrote.

Johnson realized the area through which the train was passing had once been prime buffalo hunting country. Now Johnson saw migratory birds, and hoped in vain to see coyotes and pheasants.

The Olympian pulled into Aberdeen’s brick depot on time at 3:50 p.m. and stopped for 10 minutes as train and engine crews were changed.

“The place was planned as a railroad town and had fulfilled expectations,” Johnson wrote. “There was a train in or out of the city every 18 minutes in 1920. West of town were Milwaukee-run stockyards for cattle, sheep and hogs, and in town there was a large freight yard and engine terminal facilities, including a roundhouse.”

Four railroads went through Aberdeen in 1941, and branch lines radiated from the city.

At Ipswich, a town that had once led the nation in the shipping of bison bones that were used for fertilizer, the grade began to climb. A small geological marker near Selby noted the edge of the Great American Desert and the beginning of the true West. Johnson’s plans for this trip’s introduction to the West began in Mobridge.

During summers in the 1930s and 1940s, Lakota dancers met the Olympian when it made a 12-minute stop at Mobridge. It became an event eagerly anticipated by train passengers.

“The Indians dressed in the most gorgeous of ceremonial outfits: full eagle-feathered headdresses, buckskin fringed leggings and skirts with beadwork, small bells and porcupine quills sewn in intricate designs, and exquisite handmade moccasins with still more beadwork on their feet,” Johnson wrote.

The group would dance several short dances to the beat of a small drum that one of the children would play.

“It was exciting to be there close to them and to witness something unquestionably genuine and real. It was like someone operating a window back into history,” Johnson stated.

After leaving the depot at Mobridge, Johnson looked down into the yellow-brown water of the Missouri River as Olympian crossed the Missouri River bridge. The first train steamed across the bridge in March 1908.

“The trusses of the bridge, angled for strength, slipped past the window on an oblique pathway that caused them to appear to be moving first up and then down, almost as though they were involved in some sort of rhythmic dance. The bridge was long, nearly as long as 10 football fields laid end to end, so there was plenty of time to enjoy the experience,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson realized that the Missouri River divided the state into two different areas: the prairie grassland of the west side and the crop farming of the east side. He also noted that South Dakota landscape could be characterized as being one of two types. “Either it is gently rolling grassy plains with low rounded hills, or a harsher, sterner countryside of hills and gullies eroded by the sun and wind and water, watched over by higher and sharper hills.”

The Olympian reached Lemmon at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time.

“The town and countryside looked like a movie Western gunfight set, but historically Lemmon had been known as one of the places where ranchers raising sheep and cattle and those farming got along especially well,” Johnson wrote.

The Olympian soon entered North Dakota, and Johnson continued on his memorable ride to Tacoma. Johnson became, among other things, an elevator operator, a newspaper reporter and an academic psychologist. But mostly, he remained a man who knew and loved railroads.

milkscamp with s. d. mag story

2015 State-Tribal Relations Events to Highlight Cooperation in Agriculture

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations (SDDTR) has partnered with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) to highlight ‘Cooperation in Agriculture’ during this legislative session at the State-Tribal Relations Events on Feb. 25 and 26 in Pierre.

“Agriculture is key to both the state and the tribes,” said Steve Emery, Secretary of Tribal Relations. “We have brought together a great mix of people in the ag industry from state, tribes and federal entities that reflect our theme ‘Cooperation in Agriculture.’”

Events start with a State-Tribal Listening Session from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 25, followed by a Legislative Reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. CST. Secretary Emery will be honored by Gov. Daugaard for his recent appointment to the Governor’s cabinet. These events are by invitation only.

“When working together, opportunities in agriculture are endless for both our state and tribes,” said Lucas Lentsch, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture. “We hope this event opens doors for both agricultural and tribal leaders to explore the many possibilities.”

On Thursday, Feb. 26, tribal, federal and state agricultural booths will be available in the Capitol Rotunda from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST. A Rotunda Ceremony will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST featuring a welcome from Gov. Daugaard as well as comments by tribal leaders.

The tribal honor guard, Rosebud’s Sincagu Lakota Warriors, will be present. Tribal singers and dancers from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate’s Tiospa Zina and Enemy Swim Tribal Schools will perform and a traditional buffalo stew will be prepared and served by the Lower Brule High School ProStart Culinary Program with supplies donated from InterTribal Buffalo Council and Lakota Thrifty Mart. Events in the Capitol Rotunda are free and open to the public.

Rosebud Woman Sentenced for Two Second Degree Murders

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Rosebud, woman convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder was  sentenced on January 20, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Crystal Red Hawk, age 37, was sentenced to 300 months in custody, 3 years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution will also be ordered.

Red Hawk, along with co-defendants Billy Ray McCloskey and Riley McCloskey, were all indicted by a federal grand jury on February 12, 2014, for First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, Interstate Transportation of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, and Larceny.  Red Hawk pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder on October 27, 2014.

The co-defendants in the case were both previously sentenced on October 27, 2014.  BillyRay McCloskey, age 24 from St. Francis, was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for two counts of first degree murder, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Riley McCloskey, age 21 from St. Francis, was convicted of two counts of second degree murder, and sentenced to 210 months in custody, 5 years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division Touts National Tax Identity Theft Week

PIERRE, S.D –   Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that National Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week begins this week. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses a Social Security number to get a tax refund or tries to obtain personal identifying information while acting as an Agent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has seen several of these scams surface over the past six weeks and expects the number to increase throughout the busy tax season.

“Consumers are working to complete their tax filing requirements and these scam artists are trying desperately to catch them off guard.  The IRS does not communicate with individuals via phone call or email with tax filing problems, so avoid clicking links on suspicious email messages or harassing phone calls,” said Jackley.

The most widespread scam involves a telephone call telling the victims they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

In many cases, the caller becomes hostile.

The email scam is still prevalent as well. The victim receives an email claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), indicating there was a problem with their previous tax filing and should click on the link to review the issues.  These scams are designed to obtain personal identifying information.

Consumers should proceed with caution when visiting websites that either associate themselves with the IRS or have the appearance of the IRS site.  These look –alike sites redirect consumers to bogus websites that will ultimately ask for personal identifying information such as social security or bank account numbers.

The official IRS website is www.irs.gov.  It is important to remember the official IRS website offers tax information for consumers, but the exchange of private financial information is limited. Use precaution when logging on to the IRS website and double check your internet address to ensure it is correct.

If you have been a victim of one of these scams or need any additional information contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting to Combat Illnesses During Flu Season

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Eliminating illness causing germs from reaching our families is a focus during cold and flu season. To accomplish this, the use of chlorine bleach to sanitize surfaces is a common practice in homes, schools, childcare facilities as well as foodservice establishments.

“Chlorine bleach is a very effective sanitizer and disinfectant on disease causing germs, bacteria, parasites and viruses – including the flu virus,” said Joan Hegerfeld-Baker, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Food Safety Specialist.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting as cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. However this process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Hegerfeld-Baker reminds the public that chlorine bleach can be ineffective as a sanitizer if not used correctly. She shares the following tips when using chlorine bleach to sanitize:

Never mix bleach with other household cleaners, especially those containing ammonia. A poisonous gas can form which can be deadly.

Clean fist, rinse, then sanitize. Soil, debris and detergent residues will tie up the free chlorine molecules in the bleach/water solution and render it ineffective.

Water should be at room temperature or slightly warmer.

Chlorine bleach can become old and lose its effectiveness.

Make sure that 5.25% sodium hypochlorite is the only active ingredient in the chlorine bleach.

Scented bleach is not recommended to treat drinking water or on any food contact surface (such as dishes, counter tops, dining tables, food preparation equipment, sinks.)

For more information and tips on disinfecting your home or public environment, Hegerfeld-Baker encouraged individuals to visit iGrow.org and search for “sanitizing bleach.”

Pheasant Ditch Mowing Rule Will Not Change

The months when ditches can be moved along state highways in South Dakota shouldn’t change said the state transportation commission.

A pheasant work habitat work group that was convened a year ago suggested that populations of the game birds might benefit from tighter restrictions on mowing.

The thought was that fewer nests would be destroyed during early summer when the hens are hatching their eggs and in the weeks afterward when the broods of new chicks are sticking close.

The current rule states: “No mowing the right of way may begin in the west river counties of Gregory, Lyman or Tripp before June 15 and east of the Missouri River before July 10.”

A motion was made to leave the rule unchanged. The decision was unanimous on a voice vote.