Week 9

On March 7, 2007, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Final Report,

Hello again,

This will be my final report for the year. Session is officially over and now I get to return to my office and try to find my desk under the mountain of paper work that has accumulated over the last 2 months.

On Monday the 26th was what we call VETO day. We gather for the last day of session to decide if we want to override or uphold the Govenor’s vetoed bills. This year there were 5 bills the Governor vetoed and all of his vetoes were upheld.

Those 5 bills were, booster seat law changes, changes in Brand Board, funding for Conservation districts, new governance for the Tech schools, and tax exemption for nurseries and greenhouses. But they failed.

The conservation districts funding will be increased, but through a different fund, not the unclaimed motor fuel tax refunds. Hopefully it will be a more permanent source for the conservation districts. The other 4 bills will have to try again next year.

Other accomplishments in this years session include. Giving more protection to the elderly who are abused, created a task force to find a solution for health care for all South Dakotans, created new sobriety programs, created new Meth treatment programs, covered tuition reimbursements for health care professionals, appropriated $800,000 for special tax refunds for elderly, clarified end of life health care decisions, reimbursed funding for wildfire protection, increased the state’s minimum wage to match the Federal Law when passed, appropriated $15 Million plus for water and waste related projects, revised authorization of the Public Utility Commission to regulate electric rates, raised the State’s cost share of the Lewis & Clark Rural water project to $19 Million, authorized $12 Million for upgrades and additions in Custer State Park, appropriated $750,000 for the SD State Fair, funded drought tolerance biotechnology research, approved 3 new Ph. D. programs, authorized securing a dedicated internet line for research and use for high speed data transfers, funded the opportunity scholarships, increased funding to the Technical Institutes, extended the veterans’ bonus program, extended deadlines for abatement or refund of property taxes to military personnel, changed campaign finance laws, created a teacher compensation program for teacher pay ($4 M), funded the short fall of the Education Service Agencies ($1.7 M), appropriated $1.4 M for K-12 technology, appropriated $1.5 M for career/technical education, increased state aid to general education by $23.6 M, increased state aid for special education by $594,809.

This is a long list, but it is only a portion of all the things addressed this session. It was an honor to represent all of you again and I encourage you to contact me for any of your concerns that I may help with.

Until next year God Bless and please be safe, Rep. Val Rausch 1-605-880-5015


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