Week 3

On January 26, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Hello again to Dist 4,

It has been another busy week in the appropriations committee with over 20 hours of hearings being held for the week. As you can tell the Appropriations committee has a very predictable schedule early in the session. The only difference from last week is the agency and departments that presented their budgets. The Departments this week included the Board of Regents, Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Military & Veteran Affairs, Public Utilities Commission, Investment Council and the Dept. of Tourism and State Development. On Friday, the House Appropriations met and heard testimony for 6 bills that were requesting special funding. In those bills funding for the State Fair was asked for, along with issues such as temporary snowmobile license, fighting the pine beetle, soil and water conservation, and to help fund externships in the dental field.

This week’s sessions are becoming busy but not hectic. The amount of bills that we need to work on is not too bad yet. Monday will start the deadlines for introducing new bills so Thursday & Friday has seen legislators scrambling to get there signatures need to file their bills. It is fun to watch all the action.

This week visitors included AARP, SD Athletic Trainers, Pork Producers, Veterinary Medical Assoc., Retail Liquor Dealers Assoc., Specialty Care Providers, Health Care Assoc., Trucking Assoc., Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, SD Newspaper Assoc., Chiropractors Assoc., Emergency Medical Technicians’ Assoc., Automobile Dealers Assoc., Dental Hygienists Assoc. and I’m sure I missed 1 or 2. The nice surprise is seeing people from Dist. 4 at almost every function. I try to get to all the activities and look for Dist. 4 folks, but if I missed you I’m sorry, but I try my best. I’m still working on how to bi-locate, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

As everyone has heard the Senate took on the unfortunate task of the hearings with Sen. Sutton. They will conclude before you read this, but they are still finishing up today (Friday). I know it gets a lot of press time and it may seem that it keeps us from doing the work of the people, but for the most part the Senate and the House have kept up with their work loads. I hope the truth is known and the healing can begin, please pray for all involved.

It sounds like there will be some very interesting and challenging bills coming forward. There will be some very contentious issues. From the death penalty to property taxes, so please follow the bills and by all means feel free to email HYPERLINK “mailto:rep.rausch@state.sd.us” rep.rausch@state.sd.us or call 605-880-5015.

Until next week God Bless,

Rep. Val Rausch

 

Week 2

On January 19, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Hello again to Dist 4,

It has been another busy week in the appropriations committee with over 20 hours of hearings being held for the week. We heard the Budget presentations of the Dept. of Education, Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources, School & Public Lands, Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Revenue & Regulation, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Agriculture and then on Friday we had 4 Special Appropriations bills to consider.

This Friday we decided to recommend passage of 2 bills that would help our retired Veterans in Hot Springs in improvements to their safety and fire protection and also to make some necessary improvements to the Armory in Brookings so our National Guards People have the comforts and facility they deserve.

The session action was busier this week, but still fairly slow. On Thursday we held the Legislative Memorial Service for 3 former members Elmer Flatt, James Jelbert and Robert Knutson, Jr., it is a very nice way to remember those who served this great state.

Visitor and groups that were here this week included Substance Abuse Directors, SD Sport Hunting Association, Madison Chamber of Commerce, SD Library Association, American Legislative Exchange Council, Association of Towns & Townships, SD Beer Wholesalers Association, Message Therapists Association and the Kingsbury County Cattlemen’s Association, SD Abate. We also had the Governor’s Prayer breakfast with former Football Coach Tom Osborne and the main speaker, that was excellent. The biggest event of the week however was the Banquet for the Governor’s conference on Tourism. A great event to honor and thank those who bring so many visitors to our state. It is a very formal affair and very well attended. So nice to see such a great turnout from around the state.

Even though it may appear that we have a busier social calendar that work calendar, I can assure you we are extremely busy. With over 220 bills being submitted for consideration it is a lot of reading and homework on top of everything else. I appreciate all the contact from my district via phone, email or letter, and urge your input on those issues that are important to you. Feel free to email HYPERLINK “mailto:rep.rausch@state.sd.us” rep.rausch@state.sd.us or call 605-880-5015.

God Bless and have a good week,

Rep. Val Rausch

 

Week 1

On January 12, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Hello to Dist 4,

It is hard to believe it has been 10 months since I last reported to you about Pierre and the activities at the Capitol, but the time has come so here we go!!

First of all I would like to again thank the voters for the confidence and trust they have entrusted to me to represent you and Dist 4 in Pierre, it is truly an honor that I take very seriously and am every grateful for.

This year started off very differently than the last two years because of the Inaugural.  The activities started at Noon with or Oath of Office and then at 1pm the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Constitutional Officers all took their Oaths in the Capitol Rotunda.  It was the 1st time I was able to witness this ceremony.  It was very impressive.

In the Evening, at 6 pm, the Grand March took place for the Inaugural Ball.  The Capitol was all decked out with frills & decoration and the event was absolutely beautiful.  The descent of the Governor and First Lady down the grand marble stair case following all the other Constitutional Officials was an event that is well worth taking in.  Paula and I were so glad we were able to come and enjoy it together.  The Capitol was filled with Tuxedo’s and Formals, even Paula and myself.   My wife was beautiful and they thought I cleaned up pretty well too.

The fun quickly gave way to the start of the session which officially started on Tuesday.  We start with the Oath for those who were not able to attend the Saturday events and then we listened to the State of the State address given by the Governor.  On Wednesday the appropriations committee began our task of going through the budget.   The Department of Corrections, Bureau  of Administration, the Governors Office, the Attorney Generals office, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Game, Fish & Parks were the budget items we heard on Wed, Thurs, and Friday, so I was very busy.  No action in Session yet because the committees are getting organized and hearing the bills before they send them to the floor for our consideration.  Next week will be busier for bills.

We also had a very busy week with visitors.  Members from the Retailers Association were here Monday, the Pierre Chamber members on Tuesday, Rural Water Association on Wednesday, FFA Breakfast and SD Rural Electric on Thursday and Finally the National Guard hosted us for breakfast on Friday.   It was very nice to see so many from Dist 4, I really appreciate the opportunity to visit and get to them.  I hope those I did not get a chance to see understand the busy schedule and will only tease me about it, instead of be mad!!  Just kidding!!

I know Steve, Jim and I all appreciate the visitors and hope you let us know when you come so we can see you, we do work for each of you.

God Bless and have a good week,

Rep. Val Rausch