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Legislative leaders set 40 days for 2019 session

PIERRE -- The Legislature's Joint Legislative Procedure Committee decided Tuesday to return to a 40-day session for 2019. The vote was 8-4. Legislative Research Council executive director Jason Hancock outlined a 38-day calendar for 2019 that wou...

PIERRE - The Legislature's Joint Legislative Procedure Committee decided Tuesday to return to a 40-day session for 2019.

The vote was 8-4.

Legislative Research Council executive director Jason Hancock outlined a 38-day calendar for 2019 that would mirror the 2018 session.

"It would be all the same weeks and all the same days," Hancock said.

He also set out a 40-day calendar that would finish on a three-day week Monday through Wednesday. Veto day would arrive 15 days later on a Friday.

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"So the full 15 days have elapsed," Hancock said.

The 2019 session starts Jan. 8, the earliest possible day.

Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said Sen. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, suggested the Legislature consider the 40-day calendar for 2019.

Bolin explained: "Of course, we have a new administration," he said. He noted the 2018 session "experienced an avalanche of bills."

Bolin said the Legislature "voluntarily" has given up 5 percent of its time even though lawmakers want to be treated as an equal branch of state government.

Greenfield noted a hiccup in both proposed schedules. He said the military dining-out banquet is Feb. 7 and the Legislature doesn't meet Feb. 8.

Adding two days would increase costs.

"I think it will be in the ballpark of around $50,000," Hancock said.

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Rep. Kris Langer, R-Dell Rapids, suggested the 40-day schedule with an adjustment to shift the week of Feb. 7.

"I like the modest cost savings," Senate Republican Blake Curd, of Sioux Falls, said about his preference for the 38-day schedule.

Curd added, "I like the flexibility of having a couple days in the can should we need them."

Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, agreed with Curd.

"I would advocate in favor of the shorter session," Novstrup said.

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