Statehouse

SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

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News
4:21 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

No Vetoes For State Lawmakers to Consider

There won’t be any bills to consider when the State Legislature returns for Veto Day on Monday. Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Thursday he’s signing the rest of bills passed this session. The Governor vetoed only one bill that would’ve increased a hotel tax in Deadwood, but lawmakers took action on it during the main session. Tony Venhuizen with the Governor’s Office says there was consensus on the big issues.

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Politics
1:26 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

2014 Legislative Session Recap

The legislature adjourned the 2014 legislative session on Friday after passing the budget. Lawmakers approved extra money for teacher pay and low-income medical care, but Republican majorities in the House and Senate blocked Democrats' attempts to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Republican Senate Majority Leader Time Rave and Democrat House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff discussed the final budget along with other issues debated during the session including the Common Core standards, animal cruelty and texting while driving.

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News
3:06 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Teachers Wage Increase Added To Budget Bill

The South Dakota Joint Appropriations passed a general budget amendment on Friday, increasing funds towards education. Lawmakers agreed that an extra two million dollars should go towards teacher wages in the state. Republican State Senator Bill Van Gerpen says it’s time for lawmakers to act. He says the public needs to know that lawmakers are aware of the problem and they’re working to resolve it.

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News
2:47 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Lawmakers Deny Additional Funding for JAG

A program that has the goal of graduating at-risk youth won’t receive additional funding this year.  Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG, is a nationwide program found in communities with low high school graduation rates. It started six years ago in South Dakota. Representative Troy Heinert says his mom helped start the pilot program. He backs the general appropriations amendment asking for an additional $250,000 in funding.

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News
10:49 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Requests for PSA Increases Defeated

Lawmakers in control of drafting the state’s general budget Friday defeated two amendments to increase school funding through the per-student allocation. Governor Dennis Daugaard proposed a 3 percent across the board budget increase for education, but some lawmakers are fighting for more. The argument stems from schools’ reserves.

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News
5:49 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Joint Committee Kills Medicaid Expansion

The State Joint Appropriations Committee killed a measure that expands Medicaid in South Dakota under the Affordable Care Act.

Those lawmakers backing the measure argue that the federal government is picking up much of the expense and that the extra health coverage will boost the state economy.

But opponents say they oppose the Affordable Care Act and the state should not take part in driving up the national debt. 

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News
4:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

House And Senate Pass A Statewide Texting and Driving Ban

A statewide texting and driving ban is on its way to Governor Dennis Daugaard after a conference committee and both chambers passed the measure on Thursday. Lawmakers didn’t all agree on the terms of the bill, but still felt it was important to enforce some kind of texting while driving ban.

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News
12:36 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Changes to Building South Dakota's Funding Raise Concerns

State legislators are changing the way Building South Dakota is funded. A conference committee on Senate Bill 158 approved an amendment that lays out a formula that is dependent on general fund, budget reserve fund, and unobligated cash. Representative Bernie Hunhoff says it complicates the process and leaves holes to not fund in certain situations.

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News
12:33 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Committee Puts Native American Task Force Under Legislature

A group of lawmakers wants to better understand economic development in South Dakota’s Indian Country. House Bill 1213 establishes a task force under the supervision of the legislature’s executive board, but the Senate amended the bill on the floor to put the task force under the Governor’s Office, rather than the legislature.

Representative Don Haggar is a member of the conference committee and prime sponsor of the measure. He says it’s important to have tribal leaders and legislators working side by side to improve economic development on reservations.

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News
12:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Autism Services, Coverage to be Studied

State lawmakers want to know what services and insurance coverage is available to children with autism. Senate Bill 108 was amended in conference committee Thursday morning after Senators didn't agree to the House's hoghouse amendments.
 
Representative Scott Munsterman says constituents brought the issue to him when their daughter lost coverage for treatment that helped her autism. He says the amended version of Senate Bill 108 has changed from the original House bill that dealt more with insurance, but says the study group will help legislators understand what's needed.

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News
5:28 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Texting Ban Bill Is Given New Life

Lawmakers in Pierre are attempting to revive a texting and driving bill. A conference committee voted to kill the bill on Tuesday night. Many in Pierre thought the issue dead this session. Now both the South Dakota House and Senate agreed to appoint new members to a second conference committee in an attempt to resurrect a statewide texting while driving ban. Republican State Senator Mike Vehle says the House wants to negotiate on this issue.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Animal Cruelty Closer To Being A Felony In SD

Republican State Senator Shantel Krebs

South Dakota would become the last state in the nation to make animal cruelty a felony under a bill that received the legislature's final approval Tuesday. The House voted 54-15 to pass the measure, which was approved earlier by the Senate. It will become law if signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard. Similar bills have failed in past years amid fears they could interfere with the livestock industry, but this year's measure was written in a cooperative effort led by State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven.

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News
1:33 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Senators Approve Hoghoused Changes Despite Concerns of Constitutionality

As the legislative session comes to an end Friday, members of both chambers are deciding whether to accept changes to their legislation. The Senate considered amendments the House made on Senate bills Wednesday morning.
 

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Politics
1:29 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Dakota Political Junkies

Joining the program are Denise Ross, web editor of the Mitchell Daily Republic, and David Montgomery, political reporter with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Discussion topics included the final budget bill, a new law delaying Common Core education standards for new subjects, the EB-5 Visa program and texting while driving.

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Health
3:39 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Medicaid Decisions Impact Mitchell Man

Ronald Fuchs showcases books with South Dakota ties at the Carnegie Resource Center. He volunteers there when he feels well enough to help.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Health care advocates hoped the last week of South Dakota’s legislative session would usher in changes for the state’s Medicaid program. That hope is dwindling. The federal government says South Dakota has to expand Medicaid to the full extent under federal law or not at all. State lawmakers say progress this week isn’t likely. The expansion decision impacts thousands of South Dakotans who live in poverty.

Listen to Ronald Fuchs explain his health insurance situation, and hear from leaders about their perspective on Medicaid expansion in South Dakota.

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News
8:30 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Texting While Driving Ban Fails to Reach Consensus

A state-wide texting while driving ban won't happen this legislative session. South Dakota lawmakers failed to agree on the extent of the ban in a conference committee. Each chamber had its own version of a ban, but Senate Bill 179 was killed in House committee, and House Bill 1177 made it to the Senate floor where it was amended. House and Senate members were unable to compromise in a conference committee.

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News
8:03 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Pine Beetle Legislation Passes SD House

South Dakota lawmakers want to continue efforts to fight Pine Beetles in the Black Hills. Republican State Representative Mike Verchio says this is an ongoing effort to resolve an issue in South Dakota.

"I don’t think many people realize, this is not just a blanket gift to people to go out and cut and chunk their trees. They have to kick in half the cost also and if we don’t continue this fight for at least another couple years, all that money that’s been spent, which is about 9 million dollars at this point, is going to be an absolute [and] total waste," Verchio says.

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News
7:59 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

SDSU Stadium Bill Travels To The Governor

South Dakota State University is about to see a new football stadium thanks to a green light from the state legislature. Republican State Representative Dan Dryden says SDSU needs a stadium upgrade.

"The authorization will allow for a replacement of the 11,000 seat Coughlin Alumni Stadium built in 1962, with a new proposed 19,000 seat facility. The current facility is outdated, too small and does not meet the needs of fans, athletes, or successes of the SDSU football program," Dryden says.

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News
7:51 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

SDHSAA Bill Passes Through The House

The South Dakota High School Activities Association may soon be subject to open meeting laws if legislation in Pierre continues forward. Speaker of the House Brian Gosch says the Activities Association looks more like a public entity then a private one.

"The high school activities association members are also available for the state retirement system and so they do really start to look like a public entity and should require some level of scrutiny so we can ensure the tax payer dollars are properly spent," Gosch says.

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News
7:44 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

SD House Passes Student Activity Suspension Bill

The South Dakota House of Representatives wants to give students a chance to stay in activities if they are suspended for a drug offense or other crimes. Senate Bill 113 allows students an option of staying in activities if they enter treatment or counseling. Republican State Representative Kris Langer says this bill improves the future potential for high school students.

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News
6:27 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Lawmakers Seek Changing Requirements for Petitioning Starting School Date

State lawmakers are looking to make changing the school start date easier for residents in large school districts. House Bill 1164 failed narrowly Tuesday morning, but was reconsidered in the afternoon. Current law requires petition signatures from 5-percent of the registered voters’ in a district to make a date change.

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News
6:15 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Senators Approve Changes to FY14 General Appropriations Act

State Senators have approved changes to last year's general appropriation bill. House Bill 1040 considers newly acquired revenues, plus the unexpected needs of state agencies including health insurance shortfalls and equipment upgrades. Two amendments were proposed during floor debate Tuesday but failed. One sought to remove funding for courthouse improvements in three counties. Senator Larry Lucas says the amendment seeks to correct a wrong use of power.

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News
4:41 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Lawmakers Fight Trolls

This meme represents a version of the internet "troll." In Pierre state lawmakers are going after patent trolls.

How you define the word "troll" might depend on your age. If you're over 30, trolling could be something you do in a fishing boat.   For younger people a troll might mean someone  butts into a conversation on the internet with inflammatory remarks.   In Pierre this week lawmakers dealt with a totally different type of troll.

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News
1:29 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

BFM Commissioner Won't Be Added to Investment Council

South Dakota Senators think the state’s investment council is fine just the way it is. House Bill 1099 sought to add the Bureau of Finance and Management Commissioner as a member to the investment council. The council currently has eight members, and supporters of the bill say it’s better to have an odd-number in case of split decisions. But opponents to the measure disagree with changing a system that’s one of the best in the nation. Senator Jason Frerichs says the proposed legislation could create more disagreements.

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News
1:26 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Senate Approves Appropriation for SDSU Swine Facilities

South Dakota State University’s swine research facilities will get an upgrade, pending the approval of Governor Dennis Daugaard. State Senators approved House Bill 1112 Tuesday, which gives the facilities more than two million dollars in general funds and one million from the higher education teaching fund. The measure also authorizes the use of almost two point five million dollars from donations.

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News
6:38 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Senators Amend, Pass House Version of Texting While Driving Ban

For the first time in four years, the House of Representatives passed a state-wide texting while driving ban over to the Senate. In response to the lack of a state ban, many municipalities have taken up their own. Legislators are still debating the best way to implement a state-wide ban.

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News
6:38 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Video Lottery Extension Bill Is Defeated

The South Dakota House defeated a bill to increase the amount of video lottery machines in a licensed establishment. Republican State Representative Dick Werner says this bill allows permitted buildings to increase the amount of video lottery machines from the current 10, to 15. Werner says video lottery does a lot for the South Dakota economy and this opens doors for more revenue.

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News
6:35 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Sex-Selective Abortion Ban Heads to Governor for Final Approval

South Dakota lawmakers are looking to close a hole in a law that allows women to have abortions based on the gender of the baby. Supporters of House Bill 1162 say other states have already passed sex-selective abortion bans and it’s unlikely South Dakota’s would be challenged in court. Both sides of the issue agree it’s unlikely these abortions happen in the state, but proponents say it’s a way to be proactive. Senator Angie Buhl O’Donnell opposes the legislation.

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News
6:28 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Lawmakers Pass Red Light Camera Bill

The South Dakota House of Representatives granted final approval on legislation aimed at banning the use of red light cameras in the state. Democratic State Representative Peggy Gibson says red light cameras could still be enforced but they’d have to be purchased, set up and monitored by the city who wants them.

"It says basically that no state, county, municipal or township can contract with a private corporation such as “Red Flicks” for photo monitoring devices. [This] way South Dakota dollars don’t go out of the state," Gibson says.

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News
4:34 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Bill Aims to Improve SD's Credit Rating

Members of the Senate State Affairs Committee support a bill aiming to improve the financial practices of the state of South Dakota. Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels brought the legislation before the committee, saying it’s part of an effort to raise the state’s credit rating. The bill was hog housed to contain two sections. The first says the Bureau of Finance and Management and the Legislative Research Council must prepare and submit independent projections by the 38th day of the legislative session.

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