Week 4

On February 2, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Hello again to Dist 4,

We are just finishing up the 18th day of our Legislative Session, almost half way done. It sure has gone quickly to this point. We have reached the end of the bill introductions with a total of 531 dropped, 312 in the House and 219 in the Senate. The committees have been hearing bills regularly and the action in both houses has really picked up.

This week found the appropriations committee finishing the agency portion of the general spending bill. We will now start hearing more special bills for spending that was not included in the Governor’s budget proposal. We will also break into smaller sub-committees to better look into things that were new or seemed to change more than normal.

I was able to pitch a bill concerning a small change in the open meetings laws. The bill I proposed would allow members of political sub-divisions to attend meetings of other political sub-division, a board, a commission, an association, an agency or any other public entity for which public notice has been posted under current law for the purpose of providing information or observing without needing to post it as a meeting. This would allow a little more flexibility especially for smaller governing bodies. It passed the committee on a 12-0 vote and will be voted on the House floor on Monday Feb. 5th. It will be interesting to follow the progress of this bill.

The Senate made their final decision on Sen. Sutton, they decided that the appropriate punishment would be a public Censure and that was done on Wednesday. Everyone is glad to have that chapter now finished and allow business to get back to normal. I have been asked about Rep. Roger Hunt’s case and why we haven’t addressed that problem in the House. My response is that it is a matter of interpretation of the law and a judge is reviewing both, the Attorney General’s and Rep. Roger Hunt’s interpretations and will be making the final decision. When that decision will come, who knows!! The Judge could even rule that the law is too broad and they may both be right and the law needs changing. We will have to wait and see.

We will have many long days coming up as we approach crossover day, this is the day in which all bills that started in the House must be voted on and sent to the Senate and visa versa. Also the content of these bills will include abortion, death penalty, open fields, property tax, education funding, and of course many other things. Should be very exciting.

This last week was again very busy with visitors to the Capitol. These groups included SD Farm Bureau, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls & Rapid City, Ag Fest, Associated General Contractors, SD Farmers Union, SD Ethanol Producers, Assoc. of Realtors, Homebuilders, & Land Title, SD Superintendents , SD Assoc. of County Commissioners, State Federation of Labor/ AFL-CIO and the SD School Nutrition Assoc. In spite of some poor weather there was a good turnout and again it was nice to visit with those from District 4.

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


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