VEHLE: Feds use ‘gun to head’ approachNone of us liked the fact that the federal government said if we do not change our laws to comply with its rules, that we would lose 5 percent of our highway funds the first year and 10 percent of those funds every year thereafter.
By: Mike Vehle, Guest columnist
We’ve completed the second week of the 88th session of the Legislature. After some agency reviews we got into some legislation. In the Judiciary Committee we had a bill for which we all voted in favor. However, none of us liked the fact that the federal government said if we do not change our laws to comply with its rules, that we would lose 5 percent of our highway funds the first year and 10 percent of those funds every year thereafter.
The law additions were not especially onerous, i.e., stop at a railroad crossing if it is not clear, slow down and check to see if it is clear, be sure that you have enough space on the other side of the tracks before pulling on the railroad crossing, etc.
Although most people who testified on the bill disliked the federal edict, no person or group urged us to defeat it. Most of the proposals were pretty much common sense; it’s just the gun to the head methodology the federal government uses that is really irritating.
In another bill in Judiciary Committee, we voted to change the current procedure.
Today, when a judge overrules a jury verdict of guilty and basically acquits the individual, the prosecutor cannot appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court.
Although it seldom occurs, if the changes we approved pass the House of Representatives and the governor signs it, the change would now give the prosecutor the opportunity to appeal a judge’s acquittal in this type of situation to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Wednesday noon was the deadline to introduce an unlimited number of bills. And a legislator’s last three bills have to be introduced by noon on Monday.
So we will soon have all the bills on which we will be working, unless we suspend the rules, or “hoghouse” a bill onto another bill.
At this point, everyone is getting along and it makes you wonder why we cannot get our legislative friends in Washington to do the same.
Federal funding and its effects on our state budget, education, Medicaid, the governor’s public safety initiative and various gun proposals currently are the five most discussed topics.
Mike Vehle represents District 20 (Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties) in the South Dakota Senate.