Heinemann’s Weekly Report

By Rep. Leslie Heinemann
Our week started out with a blizzard, so session was canceled Monday and all committees and business were moved to the following Friday. It’s interesting that each week has a different issue or theme that seems to stand out, and this past week was no different. The drainage/tiling bill was scheduled to be heard and a large group of interested people traveled to Pierre.
The committee hearing for SB179 was held in front of the Senate Local Government committee on Wednesday, Feb. 13 with a packed room of ag producers and other interested parties. After about two hours of testimony, the committee amended the bill, then deferred it to the 41st day, in effect killing it. The bill would have set up 14 points of information to address in the permit process for counties to consider prior to issuing a drainage permit.
Jay Gilbertson, representing the East Dakota Water District, spoke as a proponent, as well as two legislators. Several  ag producers, technician specialists and county commissioners testified against the bill. It was reported that in some counties the drainage ordinances appeared to be working well, whereas other counties either had a drainage ordinance and abandoned it due to various reasons, or didn’t have one at all. There was enough discussion from the committee that it was apparent the Water Board Task Force needed to continue to study the issue and bring something more to the legislature next year.
HB 1193 would have raised the sales tax from four to five percent on gross receipts of almost everything you buy, including food, clothing and ultilities. It was defeated in House Taxation Committee with a 12-3 vote.
SB 194 would create incentives for wind energy facilities in South Dakota by providing tax rebates of about two percent of their overall project costs. It passed Senate Commerce 6-1 on Feb 14.
The Senate passed SB  85 with an unanimous vote to remove the denaturing requirement on ethanol  so it can be exported for even more added value.
SB 237 would create a needs-based scholarship for post-secondary education in South Dakota. The Dakota Dream Scholarship, as it is being called, would help our neediest students realize their dream of attending college or technical school with financial assistance based on income.
There are many others that we are or will be working on. Crossover day is coming up this week, which means if the introduced bill in its house of origin has not been acted upon favorably by a committee and that body by then, it dies. Thus, Tuesday and Wednesday will be busy.
As always, I appreciate the opportunity to represent District 8. If you plan to come out to Pierre, please let me know and I’ll work something out to visit with you. Please contact me at Rep.Heinemann@state.sd.us or the House phone  605-773-3851 if you have any thoughts on pending legislation.
I’m very much looking forward to the Madison Little Legislators coming out on Thursday, Feb. 21! See you then.

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