Week 7

On February 23, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Week 7

Hello again from Pierre,

We are now in our last 10 days of the 2007 session and as everyone is well aware we have a lot of work to do yet, especially in the Education funding bills. There are bills in both the House and the Senate and now the negotiations will begin as to what parts of these bills will be adopted. Many hours of negotiations will lead to an education package that will be passed by both Houses. In the end, I believe it will be a step in the right direction and get additional dollars for our schools for an extended period, allowing our school boards to prepare budgets based on a more predictable future commitment from the Legislature. It will be interesting.

In appropriations we have finished listening to all of the bills with special funding requests, or all but 1 and by Monday noon we will also be done with that one. That will allow us to direct our attention to the General Bill, we will comb through each departments budgets and make our final recommendations as to any changes we feel should be made. We will probably have those decisions made by Friday and then we will be able to send the bill to Houses for there consideration and vote.

This year we have made a big commitment to try and treat or rehab our meth addiction problem. We approved spending for both the Corrections program and the Judicial program. The corrections program is designed to get the inmates off meth and then keep them off. Hopefully never to return to the correctional system again and kick their addiction. The Judicial system will try a program that will keep people out of jail and allow them to go through a very intense program while staying in their homes and keeping their jobs. If both are successful it will save the State millions of dollars in the future.

The abortion bill was defeated in the Senate this week in committee, the Minimum wage bill is still alive and will be coming through the House next week. Bills concerning property taxes are still to come also. The message therapy bill reached a compromise and hopefully the changes will prove to be beneficial for all concerned.

The Associations that visit the Capitol have really slowed, I think it means that they have all been here. It amazes me that there are so many associations. There is an association for everyone. The groups this week included: SD Engineering Society, SD Transportation Providers, Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise had their charitable gaming night, SD Elk Producers, SD Dietary Managers Assoc. and the SD Elk Breeders Assoc.

Thanks again to all those that make the effort to come to Pierre, it truly is nice to see familiar faces.

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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