Legislative News

Rep. Parsley’s Legislative Report

By Rep. Scott Parsley,
District 8
The 2014 Legislative session will begin Tuesday, Jan. 14 with a number of issues to be decided.
The Governor’s budget address called for a three percent increase to education, three percent increase to Medicaid and a three percent increase for state employees. All are good starting points, but I believe there will be a great deal of discussion about increasing at least the first two: state aid to education and increased support for Medicaid providers.
After spending the summer studying our current state aid to education, the summer study committee recommended a 3.8 percent aid to education, .8 percent greater than the Governor’s proposal. The 3.8 percent would restore  state aid to education to the 2010 levels, the amount of state aid prior to the eight percent cut. I believe there will be an effort made to implement the Summer Study Committee’s recommendation of 3.8 percent state aid to education.
The Governor also said that he did not intend to expand Medicaid in 2014. After having missed one year of no cost Medicaid expansion, I believe we need to expand Medicaid to give much needed medical coverage to hard working low income South Dakotans. I continue to hear about individuals who have full-time jobs and make $15,000, $18,000 and $20,000 a year, but because of the number in the household don’t qualify for the insurance pools offered by the Affordable Care Act. Because South Dakota has chosen, at this point, not to offer the expanded Medicaid program about 22,000 of our citizens are denied affordable health care coverage. I am very hopeful that we will adopt expanded Medicaid in 2014.
We will also see bills dealing with education standards, water issues and wildlife conservation. Additionally, I am planning on introducing the following bills: one dealing with an insurance issue related to on-duty first responders, another to allow for the licensing of electric golf carts and a third looking at alternative tuition opportunities for students attending our post-secondary institutions.
As always, please feel free to contact me about any issues that are of interest to you. My contact information is Rep.Parsley@state.sd.us and my cell phone is 605-270-2416.
I will be writing a weekly column to keep you up-to-date on what is happening during the session, and I encourage you to attend the cracker barrels that will be held throughout the district over the next weeks.

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