Governor signs teaching-reforms billDaugaard also issues two new vetoes, including measure on record search fee.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — In a stretch of less than 24 hours Gov. Dennis Daugaard issued his second and third vetoes of the 2012 legislative session Monday evening, including in one instance his own legislation, and announced Tuesday afternoon he had signed into law the Republicans’ teaching-reforms legislation that he originated.
The Republican governor’s decision to sign the heavily amended House Bill 1234 sets the stage for the South Dakota Education Association to begin its petition drive to refer the legislation to a statewide vote on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot.
His press office issued a photograph showing the governor signing the legislation while three of his executive staff and three top personnel from the state Department of Education looked on.
The vetoes, meanwhile, seek to make technical changes that the Legislature will consider Monday when lawmakers return for their final scheduled working day of the session.
As of mid-day Tuesday, there remained 21 Senate bills and four House bills on the governor’s desk awaiting his decision on each one whether to do one of five possibilities.
He can sign a bill into law, allow it to become law without his signature, issue a full veto to try to stop it altogether, issue a line-item veto to change the amount in a spending bill, or propose a style-and-form veto that asks the Legislature to agree to a small technical change.
Now begins the annual exercise of legislators and Legislature watchers trying to discern which of the bills that are left might be veto targets. The four House bills, for example, all carry some degrees of potential to invite vetoes.
One would essentially repeal South Dakota’s requirement of a concealed weapon permit to carry a hidden handgun. The prime sponsor of HB 1248 is Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City.
Another establishes the Legislature’s planning committee. House Republican leader David Lust of Rapid City is prime sponsor of HB 1133.
A third grants tax breaks for large wind-energy projects and for the costs of purchasing and installing environmental technology at the Big Stone electricity plant. The measure was heavily amended. The original sponsor of HB 1228 was Rep. Nick Moser, R-Yankton.
The fourth repeals the state’s food-tax refund program for lower-income households and steers the remaining money instead into emergency food assistance grants for charities to use. The legislation was broadened from the original intent, which was to provide the money to Feeding South Dakota.
The prime sponsor of HB 1206 was Rep. Susy Blake, D-Sioux Falls.
The concealed-permit repeal, the tax breaks for energy projects and the planning committee all passed the Senate by less than a two-thirds majority, however, a fact that suggests the governor might be able to have a veto on any of those three upheld there.
The House of Representatives and the Senate last week did mount two-thirds majorities to override the governor’s only full veto so far this year.
In what amounted to a repudiation of his Revenue Department’s recent practices involving dairy farm audits, legislators approved a tax exemption for straw, corn stover and bean straw that is used for livestock bedding.
One of the two new vetoes issued Monday seeks a style and form change to repair an oversight by his staff in Senate Bill 194. One number mistakenly wasn’t adjusted in the annual legislation that appropriates money for tax refunds to the elderly and disabled people. The bill was introduced at the request of the governor.
The other new veto seeks to use the governor’s line-item power to remove three entire sections of House Bill 1058. The three sections deal with an appropriation of $1 to the Unified Judicial System for the courtautomation system.
Those sections were inserted in the legislation as a placeholder to keep the bill alive, while legislators negotiated on whether to grant the court system an increase in the fee charged for searches of court records.
The Senate later amended the bill to allow the fee to increase to $20, from $15, starting Jan. 1, 2013. The fee would revert to $15 after June 30, 2017. Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson sought a permanent increase to $25.
The bill’s title didn’t refer to a fee at the time of the Senate amendment, however.
To avoid the possibility that the Senate presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, might rule the bill’s content didn’t match the title, the three place-holder sections were purposely left in the bill by the Senate.
After the bill passed, the title was amended to reflect the fee increase.
Now, the governor wants to use the line-item veto to remove the place-holder sections regarding the $1 appropriation and remove the portion of the title that refers to those three sections.
Otherwise, the $1 will need to be tracked throughout the budgeting and spending processes like any other appropriation.