Rep. Wollmann reports on legislative week two

By Rep. Wollmann

Week two of the 91st legislative session is in the books, and things are starting to pick up. As of now 141 bills have been introduced, 76 from the House and 65 from the Senate. By this time last year we had 156 bills introduced.
One of those bills that has gained a lot of attention is HB1067. Many of you remember Initiated Measure 17, the patient choice act that was passed in 2014 by the voters (62 percent). This piece of legislation is being lobbied hard by Sanford Health and heavily against by the specialty hospitals. I will see it first in the House Commerce Committee. The will of the people spoke in 2014 and I am sure we will have plenty of testimony from both sides. More on that in next week’s column.
Another piece of legislation that has been quite popular on social media and in the news is HB 1076. This legislation would require drug testing for those under 65 that receive assistance from the government via the temporary assistance for needy families or the supplemental nutrition assistance programs. I will also be one of the first legislators to take a vote on this in the House Health & Human Services committee.
I did some research and currently as of July 27, 2015, at least 13 states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening, and many others have proposed legislation – that ultimately failed. The estimated costs in these states were from $92,487 for drug testing 20 percent of recipients and treating two percent of those tested in Louisiana, to $20 million for testing all recipients in New York, which costs roughly $52 per recipient. It would cost South Dakota roughly $304,382 to test all of our 5,849 recipients if we followed the same format.
Granted this legislation places the cost on the individual so that number will be lower. I also learned that the amount of individuals that were busted for drugs was very low. Anywhere from .0002 percent to 8.3 percent.
As much as I agree that I would find it fair to have these individuals take a urinalysis like many of you do (including myself), I just don’t think the data supports such legislation.
I am also working closely with a few different groups regarding eminent domain and land owner rights, bicycle legislation, Parole Board reform and of course education funding. These next few weeks will be busy, but it is an honor to represent District 8 in Pierre. As always contact me any time at, on Facebook, or via Twitter @MathewWollmann. Thank you and God Bless!

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