Olson’s Weekly Update

By Sen. Russell Olson, District 8, Senate Majority Leader
Last week was particularly busy for me with three big bills in committee. I was successful in getting SB 237 (Needs Based Scholarship) and SB 238 (Predator Management) out of committee unanimously and by Wednesday we’ll know if the Senate Appropriations Committee will pass SB 236 (Cyber Security Expansion at DSU).
I had both SB 236 and SB 238 in Senate Ag and Appropriations at the same time. SB 236 is a request for $900,000 to expand the Cyber Security Initiative on DSU’s campus and SB 238 is a $300,000 request for funding to allow for the immediate increase in predator management (killing coyotes) during the spring calving season.
Every night on the evening news, there are stories about attempts to “hack” into our secure bank accounts, social media and government files. For once, we don’t have to hear the usual cry that we are last in the nation in this field. As a matter of fact, when it comes to cyber security, we are far from it. Both the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense call upon Dakota State University for advice in this field.
We have a once in a generation opportunity to expand DSU’s cyber security initiative, which is directly tied to the Madison Hospital constructing a new facility. With negotiations ongoing, it made sense to plan for DSU to acquire the existing hospital as an expansion of DSU’s existing campus. We have identified funds to acquire the property, construct and remodel. The appropriation I have requested would go to faculty recruitment and staff advancement.
I also was successful in getting SB 237, which establishes a needs based scholarship, which I refer to as the Dakota Dream Scholarship, out of Senate State Affairs. This scholarship is designed to help students who want to attend college or technical school with some much needed help.
Ultimately, my intent is to take the lead of Governor Daugaard’s budget address and use some of the “one-time” funds available to endow the Dakota Dream Scholarship. The initial investment will then leverage the use of a three-to-one match from the institution of choice to give financial assistance to students in the most need.
By Wednesday, all of the bills that have appropriations must leave their house of origin, so if you agree that the bills I have introduced are good bills for South Dakota and District 8, I urge you to call or e-mail the members of the Senate and ask them to support SB 236, SB 237 and SB 238.
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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