Economic development, education big subjects at CapitolTaxes may be refunded on some projects; Legislature will look at increasing funding for higher education.
By: Chet Brokaw, The Associated Press
PIERRE — South Dakota lawmakers are set to discuss economic development incentives, university budgets and a plan to end lawsuits seeking damages from people who allegedly steal spouses.
Here are five things to know heading into the session’s fourth week:
Economic development incentives
Gov. Dennis Daugaard and legislative leaders are looking to find a new way to provide financial incentives that would help recruit new large industrial projects to South Dakota.
An old program that refunded construction taxes for big industrial projects expired Dec. 31, and voters in November rejected the governor’s proposed replacement plan to use tax money to give grants to projects that would not locate in the state without the financial incentives.
The House State Affairs Committee will have a hearing Monday on a measure to refund city sales taxes on some projects and also give those projects a state grant. That bill is sponsored by Republican and Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate.
Another bill has been introduced that would refund construction taxes for wind energy projects.
Higher education budget
The Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee will have hearings Monday and Tuesday to begin looking at next year’s proposed spending for the state’s universities.
The governor has recommended an increase of about $5.3 million in general state funds for higher education, with $1.9 million of that to establish a doctoral degree program in physics at the University of South Dakota and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Another $1 million would be added to increase research at the Agricultural Experiment Station. A $100,000 increase would fund the Opportunity Scholarship, which offers $5,000 over four years to students who take advanced courses in high school, have a good score on college entrance tests and attend a college or university in the state.
The universities also would get extra money for utilities and maintenance and repair of buildings.
Alienation of affection
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill that would get rid of a law that allows people to file lawsuits seeking financial damages from those who allegedly seduce and steal their spouses.
The same measure has failed in recent years after supporters said alienation-of-affection lawsuits should be allowed because such legal actions can help protect marriages.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, who has argued that the law mistakenly treats spouses as property that carry monetary value.
Guns in parking lots
The House Commerce Committee on Monday is looking at a bill that would stop businesses and employers from prohibiting people to have guns or ammunition in parking lots.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, would allow guns and ammunition in parking lots if they are locked out of sight in a vehicle.
Insider insight: Many deferrals are permanent
Visitors to the Capitol or those who listen to committee hearings on the Internet may wonder why so many bills get deferred to the 41st legislative day. That’s really a way to kill a bill because there is no 41st day in the legislative session.
This year’s legislative session is scheduled to go only 38 days, and no session is supposed to exceed 40 days.