Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Eagle Butte
Sunny
Sunny
8°F
 

First week of Legislature report

State Representative (District 28A) Oren Lesmeister

The first week of the 2020 legislative session is now over and so far we have gone through our policy and procedures process that we have to do each year to begin session.

We had the Governor’s State of the State Address on Tuesday, and we did not hear anything that we already haven’t heard for the past two years now.

I am optimistic about revenue projections yet to come in, along with how our appropriators have the ability to find funds along the way. With that said, we are in for a fight to follow the law and give education the CPI like the law states we must. We may not be able to fund pheasants and or some other things that are important, but not in statue as is education funding.

We are getting input from the REAs and Municipalities on there on-going fight over annexation issues between them. I was part of the South Dakota Rural Water Association annual legislative panel again this year, and I used this sports analogy- “Don’t put the game or match into the referees hands because people usually do not like the outcome.” What I mean is, I don’t think the Legislative body should decide this matter when there are good examples of how the REAs and municipalities can work together.

We also heard from Chief Justice Gilbertson on the State of the Judiciary. This was the Chief Justice’s last address as he is retiring do to mandatory retirement by statute. This is one person who will be missed dearly by everyone here in Pierre.

On Thursday, we had the State of the Tribes address by Crow Creek Tribal Chairman Lester Thompson spoke to the on-going needs for reconciliation between the state and tribes. He also spoke to the need to tackle the meth epidemic and economic needs within Indian country.

On Friday, we only gaveled in and out due to the weather and not having any bills to deal with at that time.

In the upcoming days we will see more and more bills coming forward, and it will get busier and busier, and I’m sure the stress level will increase as always.