Week 4 of the Legislative Session

On February 4, 2011, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Hello again from Pierre.

As the days slip by and the work loads increase I can feel the tension and anxiousness increase throughout all of State Government. Many are still trying to find support for the legislation they are carrying, trying to persuade others that their view or idea is worth supporting.

In State Affairs committee this week we had a number of bills that were offered that would try and change the way our legislative districts were established and who made up the committee to decide the districts. This is the year that the legislative districts need to be redrawn, with the new census completed and the population shifts accounted for, the districts need to be redrawn so the population in each district is as equal as possible. This process will take place over the summer and a final plan will be presented to the legislature in October. The bills that were brought to change the way that process has been done in South Dakota all failed, most on a party line vote.

We also had some bills to restrict who people can make campaign contributions to and to restrict where people could hold fundraisers, also a couple of bills that would have changed how the general appropriations bill is handled and what amount of money could be spent, all attempts, in my opinion, to be political in nature and all these bills failed.

In Local Government we heard bills that would change how some appointments are made, mostly clarifying language. The Secretary of State also had a bill to establish the date in which absentee voting could begin. It seems that it was not uniform throughout the state, this bill will make it uniform. The most significant legislation that passed out of committee was a change on how contracts can be awarded when there is no competitive bids and the local contractor is a member of the governing body. I think this change will allow for more rural areas to keep business local and use the businesses in their community to provide the services necessary.

This last weekend, Gary and Estelline, held cracker barrels for the local legislators. The focus in the meetings continues to be around concern for the budget and the affect it would or could have on area schools and area care providers. It is nice to see so many citizens attend the events. It is unfortunate that it takes a financial crisis to inspire them to come. Many in attendance feel that raising taxes is the way to fix the problem, it would certainly provide more revenue for the State to spend, however, a tax increase would require a 2/3rds majority vote and at the present time, those votes do not exist. We are continuing to search for ways to balance the state’s budget in a way that will create the least amount of hardship. I continue to ask you to send your ideas to me as we work through this crisis.

Again my contact info is rep.rausch@state.sd.us or valrausch@hotmail.com. Or call and leave a message at 605-880-5015.

Sincerely, Speaker Val Rausch


1 Response » to “Week 4 of the Legislative Session”

  1. Miles Rausch says:

    Well, the government could do what most people do when they need money: get a job at Taco John’s.

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