ROZUM: Compromise critical on ACA
By Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell
A bill to allow elected officials to carry a concealed firearm in courtrooms and the Capitol passed out of committee to the House of Representatives, where it was soundly defeated. The sponsor initially wanted to include anyone employed by any governmental agency, but that was amended out.
Current statute states any county may allow concealed firearms with a vote of the commissioners. One supporter of the bill was most interested in allowing concealed carry in the Capitol for personal safety reasons. As was pointed out in floor debate, metal detectors solve the issue of safety if that is truly the concern. There are many reasons for the present rule of no firearms in the Capitol or courtrooms, and if anyone is interested in discussing, please let me know.
Several groups testified against this bill in committee: Public safety, sheriffs, judicial system, police chiefs, counties, municipalities and several attorney groups. And lastly, being an elected official does not and should not put one in an "elite" group.
The governor has sent a letter to the federal government requesting the ability to insure those falling under 100 percent of poverty level and working or unemployed in the last 12 months. This has broad support, and there is solid concern for this group of people, so I am hoping we can reach agreement. Full adoption of the Affordable Care Act would not make it out of any committee, so it is imperative to find compromise. One hundred to 138 percent of federal poverty level has coverage through ACA's subsidized insurance; American Indians have coverage through Indian Health Services. Approximately 7,600 are estimated to be totally without insurance and simply can't work enough hours to cover that expense; this is the group of most concern.
House Bill 1177 was due to be heard in House Judiciary on Wednesday. The intent is to disallow municipalities and counties from enacting anti-texting laws. If you have an opinion, go to http://legis.sd.gov; click on Legislative Session, 2014, Bills, House Bills, HB 1177, Printed Bill. You will see who the sponsors are and from the website will be able to contact any legislator. I will be voting "no" on this should it make it out of committee, and since it is in the main sponsor's committee, it is probable. When 85 to 95 percent of the people want a statewide texting ban, this bill definitely does not support the majority's opinion. There will be a bill dealing with a texting ban as well.
All bills had to be entered by 5 p.m. on Friday, so now we can see what proposed legislation is coming. Most of my bills deal with county and township roads and bridges and lack of funding. We hope to have some relief for the rural areas. Six bills dealing with domestic abuse should be forthcoming in the next week or so, and I'll keep you posted.
There will be a cracker barrel at 11 a.m. on Saturday at White Lake. See you there.
-- Tona Rozum represents District 20 -- Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties -- in the state House of Representatives.