Heinemann’s Legislative Report

By Rep. Leslie Heinemann, District 8 Since the weekend blizzard caused our Monday session to be rescheduled to the following Friday, I have had some time to catch up on correspondence. I don’t always have time to answer everyone’s e-mails right away, so I enjoyed the opportunity to respond. Please sign your e-mails as many do not have an easily discernible name in the address and with the volume I receive, it’s easy to miss. I enjoyed meeting some folks from Flandreau, Madison, Howard and Dell Rapids at the Municipal League gathering this past week. We did meet with the Department of Transportation secretary to emphasize the need to place the road west of Flandreau [#32] on an emergency list, as anyone who has traveled on it this winter knows it’s severely breaking up. Hopefully, something will be done this summer to alleviate the problem. With over 500 bills introduced prior to the filing deadline, the committees are methodically working their way through them one by one. This Wednesday morning at 7:45 the drainage bill, SB179 will continue testimony in the Senate Local Government committee. If you have an interest in this issue, please consider being there to be part of the process. I have heard from many of you regarding this issue, and I am familiar with our present drainage laws as I have signed waivers to permit neighbors to install drain tile. I also have acres in the CRP program, so realize the delicate balance that needs to be considered. There is some science to the whole process, so come to Pierre and be involved, or you can listen to the testimony at legis.state.sd.us, then click on current legislative session, and go to “bills” and type in the number [in this case SB179], then click on the audio. You can do this for anything that happens in the legislature. The discussion on Medicaid is not very simple. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act [ACA], the ability to cover the uninsured was premised on the States accepting the program of Medicaid to cover that group of individuals. The States balked at that because their past experience with the federal/state program was one of unfunded/underfunded mandates, and the result was the US Supreme Court striking down that portion of ACA. Now the states have to decide whether to cover those people with a program that is grossly underfunded, and to most providers, a broken system. Nursing homes lose an average of $30 per day on Medicaid recipients and individual providers’ reimbursements are not even at their cost. So the thought of expanding the numbers of Medicaid recipients through ACA was only a huge cost-saving measure the federal government was trying to force upon the individual states, when those uninsured deserved the same kind of coverage everyone else would be able to participate in with the implementation of ACA. I’m not sure where the discussion will go, but I agree with the Governor that, for the present time, we should not accept an expansion of a program that is and continues to be broken. Several texting bills have been introduced, and I look forward to the testimony on both sides of the issue. I’m not sure what will make it through committee, but I know there is strong support for limiting texting/driving in the restricted permit area. I heard testimony in the Health and Human Services committee on the use of medical marijuana, as well as allowing families more say in the care of their loved ones/elderly in assisted living facilities. Many issues become emotional, and I try to look at the more practical side, so most of you will understand where I’m coming from! As always, I look forward to your input, and especially if you travel to Pierre. I enjoyed hosting Patience Lunday, a senior at Colman-Egan, as a Legislative Page the past two weeks. Please call 605-773-3851 or e-mail me at Rep.Heinemann@state.sd.us if you want to discuss a particular issue.

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