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Legislative Roundup: Redfield project won't be cheap

PIERRE--One of the many pieces of early legislation filed for the 2016 session is a measure that would appropriate $1.8 million for demolishing three buildings on the campus of the South Dakota Developmental Center at Redfield.

PIERRE-One of the many pieces of early legislation filed for the 2016 session is a measure that would appropriate $1.8 million for demolishing three buildings on the campus of the South Dakota Developmental Center at Redfield.

The bill, HB 1015, also calls for the Department of Human Services to restore the site to its natural condition.

The Redfield center is a modern challenge. Its first patients arrived in 1902. By about 1970, the population of developmentally disabled patients pushed at 1,200.

Through services expansion in communities across South Dakota during the last 40 years, many of the people who otherwise would be at Redfield have been living in local group-care settings.

Now, there are about 140 people at Redfield each day who need help, supervision and care.

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The House Committee on Appropriations introduced the legislation for the department. A hearing date hasn't been set yet.

Set for tear-down are the Willhite dormitory, built in 1953 and decommissioned in 2011; Sunnyview dormitory, built in 1948 and most recently used for storage; and Dakota Hall, constructed in 1909 and largely idled in recent years.

SUBHEAD: Budget process changing

The Legislature is trying to turn the annual budget work into a process that is more open and moves faster.

The revenue estimates will be made in February rather than March, for example.

The hearing schedule by the Joint Committee on Appropriations calls for the final round of departments and agencies the week of Feb. 2-4, when the Board of Regents and the state Department of Education get two days apiece. The session runs five more weeks after that.

Some of the proposed rule changes are pending in the joint House-Senate Legislative Procedure Committee.

The changes looked ready to go until Lt. Gov. Matt Michels pointed out some serious problems Wednesday morning, such as the appropriators being able to kill a bill without ever voting on it, and Rep. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, agreed with him.

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The procedure committee's chairman, Sen. Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, deferred action until later this week so Legislative Research Council staff could work out some solutions.

SUBHEAD: Lobbyist badges go green

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and her staff handle legislative lobbyist registrations. For years, it seemed the color of the badges the lobbyists must wear was always white.

This year, the badges are a pale institutional green. They can look sort of blue in the wrong light. Blue is the color of the badges for state government lobbyists.

Lobbyists are required to wear the badges while they are lobbying in the Capitol. The badges bear their names and the names of their employers.

But contrary to the story spinning around the Capitol, state law doesn't require the color to change every year.

The two laws do say the choice of colors for private lobbyists' badges is up to the secretary of state and there shall be a different color for badges for the state government lobbyists.

Also evidently out of commission are the special gold badges that were in vogue for some Cabinet and governor's top staff in years past.

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