Feb. 28 Legislative Report

By Rep. Heinemann

With week seven in the books, the budget is starting to take shape.
There was news from CMS that the proposal for IHS Medicaid eligibles to be seen by providers outside of IHS, be paid at the federal FMAP rate rather than have the state pay roughly half of that cost. This has important implications on our budget, both positive and negative.
It’s a complex issue and our leadership, along with the administration, will have to work together to know how best to implement this news. I hope to know more by next week and will elaborate further.
HB 1182, the sales tax increase, has moved to the Senate side. The full Senate will take up that issue on Monday, unless it gets delayed. We on the House side will be dealing with the three Senate bills that change the school funding formula significantly, but it appears everyone wants to move in the direction of a student to teacher ratio, rather than the present per student allocation (PSA). I think it’s a move in the right direction, but the details have yet to be played out. I have appreciated those that have provided valuable, respectful feedback, as that gives me a better perspective on the consequences of these proposed major changes.
Another issue came up this past week with SB 171, an act to provide for compassionate cannabis use. The bill was essentially rewritten to allow only cannabinoid oils to be prescribed by licensed health care givers and only for intractable (uncontrolled) epilepsy. It would also provide liability immunity for these providers. I have mixed emotions about this issue because I have always opposed legalizing cannabis. This will be a controversial topic this coming week.
The tanning bed issue came up this past week. The bill would prohibit the use of tanning facilities for anyone under 18 years of age, regardless of parental consent. The evidence is mounting for the proponents’ position that indoor tanning is directly linked to melanoma, but the question of an outright ban was not supported by the House.
SB 24 passed the Senate with a vote of 34-0. This bill would prohibit the sale of fetal body parts, and the House will take it up next.
The House also passed a bill to require the Department of Education to recognize dyslexia as a learning disability (HB1198). We also passed midwives legislation, which would allow certified professional midwives (CPM) to deliver low risk pregnancies  at home. Both of these bills will be taken up by the Senate this coming week.
The Madison fourth graders visited us on the House floor this past Tuesday. The Little Legislators program in the Madison Schools is something the teachers and administrators of the Madison School District should be very proud of, as it gets the students involved in the legislative process at an early age. There is no other school district in the state, that I am aware of, that puts forth the kind of effort these Little Legislators did in coming to Pierre and demonstrating their genuine interest in our democratic process!
It should be an interesting upcoming week. You can listen to the audio of any committee or floor debate at legis.sd.gov and follow the issues.
You can contact me at rep.heinemann@state.sd.us

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