Parsley’s Weekly Legislative Report

By Rep. Scott Parsley
We had a wintery start to the sixth week of the legislative session. As a result of the inclement weather we moved Monday’s calendar to Friday. I hope this change in the schedule didn’t inconvenience anyone who had plans to come to Pierre to testify on a bill.
Friday was the 24th legislative day of the 88th legislative session, and this was a busy week as all bills must be out of the house of origin by next Wednesday. This is known as “crossover” day and, as a result, we held two meetings of the State Affairs committee on Wednesday in order to make sure that all bills had received committee action in order to be on the House floor by Wednesday of next week.
Several bills that I heard a lot from you on were acted on this past week. House Bill 1135, the Meandering Waters Bill, passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee and passed the House floor and is now on its way to the Senate. I voted against HB 1135 as passage of this bill will affect over a 100 years of water law and, in my opinion, end in a court case that has been tried several times and always ends with the finding that all waters are for public use.
I do appreciate all the correspondents I received on this issue, the overwhelming amount opposing the passage of HB 1135.
A second bill that received a significant amount of attention in the House was HB 1128, an act to lower the ACT and SAT scores for home-schooled students to qualify for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship. The first attempt was to lower the score from 28 to 24 for an ACT score and an SAT score of 1090 for home-schooled students and other students who did not meet the curriculum requirement for eligibility for the scholarship. That bill failed on a 35 to 35 vote.
The bill sponsor indicated his intention to ask for reconsideration on the bill, which happened on Thursday. The bill sponsor offered an amendment to lower the requirement from a 28 to 26 on the ACT and an SAT score of 1170; the amended bill passed on a vote of 37 to 32.
I opposed both attempts as there is no curriculum requirement for home-schooled students in South Dakota, while students in public schools must take a very rigorous curriculum in order to qualify for the opportunity scholarship. If a public school student does not complete the prescribed curriculum, he or she must achieve the same test scores as the home-schooled student. Given the fact that the state has no authority to set home school curriculum, I believe it is very important to require a higher level of test scores. These standards were set at the time the scholarship was created, and I see no reason to make this change.
In the Senate this past week SB 179, an act dealing with uniform drainage, was heard in Senate Local Government and referred to the 41st legislative day. Unless this bill is revived Tuesday in the Senate Local Government committee or “smoked out” on the floor on Tuesday, this issue should be dead for this legislative session.
On Wednesday of this week a joint hearing will be held between the House and Senate Health and Human Services Committees to take testimony on Medicaid expansion. The hearing will not be on a specific bill but rather will be a hearing for the public to have input regarding expansion of Medicaid. The results of the hearing will help determine if a bill will be moved forward regarding the expansion.
As always I want to hear any concerns or ideas you have, you can contact me at or by calling 605-773-4484.

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