The Februrary 2, 2013 Cracker Barrel, held in Rapid City, was sponsored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce.
Remarks from legislators- The Cracker Barrel opens with each legislator allowed five minutes to speak on their current legislative priorities.
Senator Adelstein- Spoke against the opposition to expanding South Dakota's Medicaid to cover 44,000 more people (Adelstein is a sponsor for SB 140 which would expand Medicaid coverage for pregnant women).
Representative Gosch- The Legislature is at the midpoint, with February 20th the last day to move bills from one house to the other. March 4th is the last day to pass from the houses to the governor. He spoke on some of his bills moving through and that the House has been very timely on passing bills up to this point.
Representative Lust- His tourism bill has gone through and been signed by the governor, making permanent the sales tax increase during summer months. On Monday, he has HB 1164 up in the House which establishes grants for classroom innovation. Also coming up will be HB 1218 which is designed to make South Dakota more attractive to data centers by offering tax cuts.
Representative Kopp- Spoke on HB 1173 to establish a property tax credit for education; a person with a child in private school would be able to deduct a portion of the tuition. His other bill is HB 1174, which would allow modified motorcycles to use snowmobile trails.
Representative Craig- Spoke on his bills, such as HB 1087, the bill for arming schools (additional comments can be found on KOTA). Another current bill is HB 1177, shortening the time needed to report a rental vehicle as stolen. His third bill, HB 1232, on sex trafficking, would increase penalties on propositioning minors.
Question and Answer period- Audience members are given 60 seconds each to ask questions on bills, and any legislator who chooses can respond.
The first question was on funding for the Sanford Underground Lab and other economic development. The response was that Sanford would be funded, and that a larger economic development package was coming. Sen. Adelstein felt that the state was unnecessarily spending money to recruit for businesses from out of state; he argued that companies should spend that money on their own and that he would work to redistribute those funds. Another legislator felt that a plan would need to include incentives for large businesses (a ballot measure on this was defeated in November). However, the state was giving discounts to projects that would come to the state anyway. KOTA has additional comments and quotes.
HB 1186- This bill would take out a line requiring personal information to be scanned when a drivers license is issued. Two supporters of the bill spoke in favor of it.
SB 70- Public safety bill. There was discussion that this bill covered too many topics (the legislature has tried to limit bills to cover a single issue). The bill could also inhibit the ability of the public to use referendums.
HB 1019 and HB 1020- Companion bills dealing with the mentally ill. These bills are designed to allow prisons to contact family of inmates to ensure that inmates are taking drugs that have been prescribed to them. South Dakota's shortage of psychiatrists can complicate treatment.Rampelberg said that the bills do have safeguards in them, and that South Dakota's problem is a shortage of psychiatrists.
SB 125- Question on why the bill would grant joint physical custody, when the questioner (a judge) had never seen it work without cooperative parents. Sen. Jensen explained that often what happens is one parent has custody and that the other becomes a visitor. This bill brings the expectation that both parents will work in the best interest of the child. If one does not cooperate, more time would be granted to the other parent. Sen. Rampelberg disagreed with Jensen, feeling that there are bad parents out there and that this would too easily grant them custody. Sen. Tieszen spoke that he had heard the bill several times in his career and would be hearing it again. He stated his decision on the bill would be based on the best interest on the child. The Rapid City Journal has full quotes on the topic.
HB 1237- An audience member asked why would the bill remove weekends and holidays from the 72 hour counseling period before a woman could have abortion. Rep. Sly explained that it had to do with many waiting periods based on a work week. The Rapid City Journal has full quotes on the topic.
Question asked on the lack of a Needs Based scholarship in South Dakota. Rep. Sly spoke of a previous bill that had been passed setting up a Needs Based scholarship, but was not funded. There is a bill up (SB 237) this year that would provide funding for the scholarship.
SB 171- The animal cruelty bill, audience member asked why special interest groups like agriculture and rodeo would be exempt if they were maliciously harming animals.The explanation was that there was worry that the bill was pushed forward by outside interests, but the bill as written would provide sufficient protection for animals.
SB 129- Bill on TIFs (Tax Increment Financing). Speaker asked the bill be opposed, as it would restrict one of South Dakota's few tools for economic development. The bill had been included at the request of consituents, but might not survivie in its current form..
HB 1188- The bill would prevent those diagnosed with mental health issues from owning firearms. Legislators said that they had received a lot of opposition to the bill, but would appreciate personal comments. Local mental health resources can be found on the BHKN.
SB 201- Bill would remove requirement of having fluoride in drinking water. Sen Jensen explained that research found that fluoride applied locally (drinking) did not promote tooth care and could have toxic effect. Most developed countries, including most of Western Europe, do not fluoridate their water. Rep. Craig coached the bill as a matter of local control; it does not remove fluoride, but removes the requirement. If a community does not want it, they can have it removed. The Rapid City Journal has full quotes on the topic.
Additional information on the current legislative session can be found in the archive.