Legislative News

First Week LegislativeReport

By Rep. Scott Parsley,
District 8
The first week of the 2014 Legislative Session is completed. During the opening session the Governor presented the State of the State and outlined his legislative priorities for this session of the legislature.
The Governor’s priorities include insurance reform which seeks to adopt national standards regarding how insurance companies must conduct business in South Dakota.  The Governor also outlined his plan for work force development. Included in this plan is expansion of Career and Technical Education (CTE) which has been a priority for me and others in the legislature for several years. I am excited that the Governor has outlined CTE and other work force development as a priority this year.
I believe work force development begins with early childhood education and strong preschool and elementary school programs. I am hopeful the Governor will include these programs as part of his work force development plan. Along with others, I will be proposing ideas to begin work force development for our children at their earliest age as part of our workforce development legislation.
The Governor also outlined a plan to revise Bank Franchise Taxes for nine large interstate banks doing business in South Dakota.
We also began to discuss recommendations that came from the Education Task Force which met all summer. The conclusion of their work was a recommendation that state aid to education be raised by 3.8 percent for the 2014-15 school year.  Adoption of this recommendation will result in a state aid to education of $4,805, the same level of state aid as 2010.  As you may remember, the Governor is proposing a three percent increase in aid to education. Along with the State Association of School Superintendents, I believe we need to pass the Committee’s recommendation and increase state aid to education by 3.8 percent. While this is a good start, it still leaves schools with no margin for inflation since 2010.
This week we did act on two resolutions that were introduced by the Education Summer Study Committee. The first resolution encouraged school districts to work together whenever they can. The second resolution congratulated our teachers for the job they do and recognized that as a state, we need to do everything we can to attract and retain quality teachers, especially in rural areas. While both of these resolutions passed, I was disappointed that 18 of my fellow House Members voted no on the second resolution.
We will begin discussion of Common Core Standards next week. After extensive discussions with the schools in District 8, I will be supporting the continuation of the Common Core Standards.
Other issues that may come up next week are non-meandering water, a bill addressing shared parenting and school capital outlay dollars.
Finally, I am still very hopeful that we can adopt Medicaid expansion and provide medical insurance coverage to more than 22,000 of our fellow South Dakotans. In some encouraging news, almost two in every three of you agree with me on this issue according to a survey released this week by the National Cancer Society. This statistically valid survey shows that a little over 60 percent of South Dakotans believe we should expand Medicaid, and I am hopeful my fellow legislators can be convinced to make expansion a reality in 2014.
Until next week.

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