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NELSON: 2018's session was 'busy and productive'

Stace Nelson

It was an extremely busy and productive session this year for your District 19 senator. A quick recap of some of the legislative successes:

A bill I brought was adopted by Senate State Affairs to be a proposed summer study (SB 143, allowing members of state retirement to participate on state employee health plan).

A bill I brought, SB 177, Require an annual increase in certain state employee pay by an increase in the consumer price index, helped change the discussion from no pay raises for state employees again (six out of 11 years), to a pay raise being passed.

Two Senate bills passed out of Senate: SB 92, make acid attacks a felony crime; SB 112, repeal requiring the attorney general to obtain consent of the governor prior to commencing an investigation (killed in House).

Sixteen commemorations passed recognizing communities and persons in South Dakota.

Two concurrent resolutions I authored passed both chambers.

Two bills passed both chambers and are pending signing by governor, acquiescence to become law, or veto: SB 165, revise provisions regarding child custody and visitation and the enforcement of those provisions; and, HB 1268, provide for early pre-filing of bills which expands open government in regards to legislation.

Two bills passed and signed into law: SB 93, revise provisions regarding the intentional exposure of others to certain diseases; and, SB 96, designate chislic as the official nosh of the state of South Dakota. Thank you to Kerry Kepplinger, Sen. Emeritus Frank Kloucek, Rep. Emeritus Gary Jerke, Bill Aschelman and all those who supported our efforts.

Additionally, bills I brought addressing illegal immigrants being allowed sanctuary in our state colleges. SB 103, strengthening our rape laws; SB 182 (S.D. is No. 2 in the U.S.A. for the amount of rapes committed per capita); and SB 181, addressing Islamic terrorists threats against our disarmed National Guard and military service-members — addressed serious constituent concerns of a statewide nature. Although defeated, these efforts help educate South Dakotans on these problems, keep a spotlight on these problems and identify politicians who are okay with the status quo or facilitate these problems.

A legislative failure that should be of major concern to us all, especially in light of the numerous financial corruption scandals South Dakota has suffered through, is how little attention is paid to our final budget bills. This years annual budget bill, the 41 page complicated HB 1320 spending $4.8 billion, was entered as a bill, passed in both chambers during the last minutes of the day, with only about 45 total minutes in both chambers and without any significant discussions of the details of the bill! Aside from a handful of legislators on the Appropriations Committee, if you review the SDPB videos of the House and Senate there was literally no way for the majority of legislators to have fully read or studied the complex bill, verify the contents and provisions and make an educated vote on it in the short period in both chambers. Eighty-one legislators hurriedly voted for the bill and to get out of town. I joined the 19 minority conservatives in voting to slow the rush down and against another massive increase in state government, on a bill that represents an approximate 25 percent ($1 billion) increase in our state budget since Gov. Daugaard became governor seven years ago. Both of District 19's young representatives voted to pass the bill.

God bless and Semper Fidelis.