Week 6

On February 16, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Week 6

Hello again from Pierre,

I’m writing this letter on Friday morning. Friday is cancelled due to the bad weather forecasted for this afternoon and the fear that we would be stranded in Pierre for the weekend so it was decided to change our calendar and add one day to the end. We will now finish the session on Mar. 7th instead of the 6th as originally scheduled. Not a big deal, but please watch the deadline dates, they now have all moved as well, could be very interesting. Our crossover date was supposed to be today (Friday) but now it will be Tuesday. Tuesday will be a very long day, lots of bills on the calendar.

This week in appropriations was very busy as we made decisions on all the House Appropriation bills. Lots of tough decisions, but we only have so much money to work with. Hopefully we made the right decisions. None of our decisions are law yet, as the Senate will now have a chance to agree with our decision or to do as they see fit. It is a good checks and balance, but can be very frustrating.

This week the bill I proposed for a change it the open meetings law will be killed in the Senate. It is not because they don’t like the bill, it is because our Attorney General, Larry Long, recommends we wait a year because there is currently litigation in the courts that may affect what we are trying to accomplish. The AG is recommending we wait till next year and then try again. I agree with him and have asked to have my bill killed.

This week in the House we passed bills to fund the State Fair, to put further restrictions on Abortions, increase funding for our Soil Conservation Districts, approved the Omnibus Water bill, which funds most of the state’s rural water and community water projects, continued the funding for the Opportunity Scholarships, also approved a variety of repair projects to the buildings at our Universities. We also approved a 24/7 sobriety project to help keep people at home instead of always sending them to jail. Hopefully this project will help problem drinkers learn to live at home without drinking, it sounded very promising.

Many of the biggest issues will still be coming, such as, education spending bill, property tax reform, education spending and of course education spending.

My page, Joe Brandt, was here these last 2 weeks. He is a great young man and it was a real treat having him as my page. Thank you Joe. Hopefully, he enjoyed his experience and will encourage others to apply next year.

The evening events have slowed down somewhat, but one of the nicest events of the year was last night (Thursday) it was the Military Ball. It was well attended, in spite of the weather warnings, and it was great to see all those dress uniforms from every branch of the armed forces, very, very impressive. It is my favorite event of the session and encourage any that are invited to not miss it, you won’t be sorry. Thank you to all our veterans for all they have sacrificed for our freedoms.
If you are following bills and need input from me or have input for me, please contact me immediately. Things will move very fast this week 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


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