Olson’s Weekly Update

By Sen. Russell Olson, District 8, Senate Majority Leader
Thanks to Mother Nature, we were forced to cancel Monday’s legislative session, so many of the committee hearings scheduled for Monday will be moved to Wednesday and Wednesday’s could be pushed back to Friday. However, this decision is ultimately up to each committee chair.
Every bill introduced in Pierre gets a hearing. This procedural guarantee sets South Dakota apart from many other states. Once calendared, a bill hearing requires 48 hours notice so the public can participate and be part of the process. It is fair to mention that the committee chair can defer a bill to the next committee hearing, or hold a bill over at his or her pleasure. Often is the case that bills have proponents and opponents, with both sides working on amendments to make the bill better. That process can often cause the chair to defer a bill while the opposing sides work out language to arrive at a compromise. I would suggest that anyone from our district who plans to make a trip to Pierre to testify on a bill call my office or e-mail me and I can verify that the bill will have its hearing as scheduled.
While we are on the subject of bill hearings, I have several more bills coming up of major importance to District 8. In the next two weeks, I will be testifying on behalf of Senate Bills 236, 237 and 238.
SB 236 appropriates $900,000 to expand the Cyber Security program at Dakota State University. The Department of Defense and the National Security Agency are constantly alerting our country that the next major terrorist attack will likely come from “hackers” who will attempt to create uncertainty and doubt in our nations’ finance and defense sectors.
SB 237 creates a needs-based scholarship for post-secondary education in South Dakota. The Dakota Dream scholarship will help our neediest students realize their dreams of attending college or technical school with financial assistance based on income.
SB 238 appropriates $300,000 to give an additional boost to our state’s predator management system. In the past five years we have seen the economic impact of coyotes killing sheep and calves rise from $50,000 per year to $350,000 last year. This bill will provide for immediate air and ground support for our state trappers to manage coyotes better during calving season.
These bills are important to District 8 and South Dakota. If you agree, I would appreciate your support by contacting committee members in the Senate and asking for their support. You can find out more about these bills and other bills I have sponsored on the Legislative Research Council’s Web site at http://legis.state.sd.us or search South Dakota LRC. I will also have these bills listed on my Web site at www.russellolson.com.
I hope to hear from you on issues that are important to you.  I can be reached at sen.russellolson@state.sd.us or at my office in Pierre at 605-773-3828.

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