In a flash, some big measures win SD House, Senate OKAid for schools, lawyers passes.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — Down to four working days to wrap up the 2013 session, state legislators moved rapidly through final decisions on many bills Wednesday.
They approved millions of dollars in one-time aid to public schools and start-up of a program to help steer lawyers to underserved rural counties.
The education aid package calls for an extra $5.8 million to schools based on their 2012 fall enrollment, as well as $200,000 more to the public technical institutes and $250,000 for the Teach for America program that helps schools in difficult recruiting areas such as on reservations. The House of Representatives voted 65-3 Wednesday for the bonus aid.
The Senate had put the package together Tuesday evening at the request of Sen. Tim Rave, R-Baltic, and Sen. Phyllis Heineman, R-Sioux Falls. The Senate vote was 33-0. The money was inserted into a bill that was introduced by Rep. Justin Cronin, R-Gettysburg, and Rave.
The lawyer measure, brought by Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, would provide a combination of funding from the state court system, the State Bar association for lawyers and the local counties to pay back over five years 90 percent of a lawyer’s tuition.
Up to 16 lawyers would be covered.
The House gave the final nod 59-9. It also was a fastmoving bill, coming through the Senate on Tuesday 27-6.
The House also voted:
• To provide $2 million of state aid to counties to deal with pine beetles 67-1;
• To give county commissioners authority to levy more taxes for predator control 63-5;
• To provide the Game, Fish and Parks Department $2 million for the new Blood Run nature area as part of the new Good Earth state park south of Sioux Falls in Lincoln County, $1.5 million for a new visitors center at Custer State Park and $500,000 to extend the Mickelson Trail to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The vote was 62-6; and
• To increase the daily expense payment for legislators during session next year to $123 daily from the current $110.
That vote was 39-29.