Jan. 30 legislative report from Rep. Heinemann

By Rep. Heinemann
It’s hard to believe we have three weeks completed, but after some of the contentious debate, I’m ready for the weekend to get some rest! I’ll continue with what the process of getting an idea into law is, and, hopefully, some of you will then want to get involved in the process, to see first hand how it works!
I will start where I left off in my last column, on getting sponsors for your idea or bill. You would file the bill with LRC, they would “jacket” it, meaning make it a formal, unalterable document, then you would present it to the house you want it to start with to be filed, given a number (House bills start with HB and Senate bills with SB), and placed on the LRC Web site for everyone to see and read.
It then gets read on that floor, during session, and the speaker of that respective chamber assigns it to a committee. This is the time when you can come and testify on that, or any other bill before the legislature. Once it is heard and voted on by the committee, and passes, it goes to the floor of that respective house. Then the legislators discuss it, and if it passes, it goes to the other house, goes through a committee hearing, then to that respective house floor. Once passed there, it goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature or veto.
So, everything considered, it takes five steps for an idea to become law! The great thing about the Internet is you can go to the LRC Web site (legis.sd.gov) and follow any bill from start to finish. That is how we conduct our business every day. I encourage you to check it out.
We have been told that the long-awaited Governor’s bill on education will be filed on Tuesday of next week. I have been contacted by many of you, and since I believe it is important to know and understand the complexities, as well as consequences, of a particular bill, I have reserved comment until I see the details. Some have indicated concerns, especially with the proposed loss of “other revenue” over five years. Others are concerned about the cap, or proposed cap, on capital outlay. I would say please stay tuned, as we are just beginning to learn of the details.
Several bills had hearings this past week, and moved on to the House floor. The Student Privacy Act would provide reasonable accommodations for those students who feel they identify with members of the opposite sex, in our school restrooms, locker rooms and showers.
The effort to change the allocation of the alcohol beverage fund (about $15 million/year) passed through the Senate, despite strong opposition from the administration. It would give the counties a first ever slice of that fund (25 percent), when, in the past, it was split 25 percent cities/75 percent state general fund. I will be carrying that bill on the House side.
Several agency bills got passed along in the process, thus this next week we will be discussing those on the House side. I will introduce a couple dentally-related bills. One would  allow a dental hygienist, through a collaborative agreement with a dentist, to provide preventative care in areas of our state that lack access to routine dental care. The other bill would require more transparency when dental services are advertised in the media, as well as a required posting in dental clinics for the public to view.
If you are interested in coming out to see the Legislature at work, please let me know. I can help you  “see” the process first hand. I do have a couple students that will be shadowing me in February, so am looking forward to them having the opportunity to experience it first hand. As always, you can contact me at rep.heinemann@state.sd.us.

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