Wollmann’s legislative week eight report

Week eight of the 91st legislative session has finished and we are entering the final week. Many of the big ticket items have had their limelight and have either moved onto the Governor’s desk or found their spot in the trash.
The education funding bill received its final passage by the legislature passing the Senate by two votes, receiving the required two-thirds majority. There are two additional bills that have not received final passage yet that are crucial to the success of the Governor’s Education Reform Package. SB 131, which establishes a target teacher salary and a target teacher ratio, passed the Senate 29-6. SB 133, which appropriates funds for districts to use innovative education options, passed the Senate 33-1. Both of these bills will be heard on the House floor this week.
Another big decision that was made last week was the Governor’s veto of the transgender bathroom bill. The Governor’s reason for veto was that he wanted to keep local control with the districts, and also that local school districts have been making necessary restroom and locker room accommodations without statewide legislation. We on the House floor had an opportunity to override the Governor’s veto last week. After hearing from the bills prime sponsor, asking us to uphold the veto, I decided to vote to uphold the veto decision.
I have learned a great deal about the transgender community during this process for which I am very fortunate. A child’s physical gender is determined at six weeks in the womb, while at six months its mental gender is determined. The chemical balances of testosterone and estrogen in the womb determine the child’s gender mentally. I encourage you to research the topic because it will not be going away.
We have also heard more about the possibility of Medicaid expansion during the current session. The Governor has recommended not moving forward with expansion during the 2016 session. The good news is that new federal policy will allow the expansion of Medicaid without a general fund cost to the state. The Governor and many others do not believe that there is time to craft a final proposal and seek legislative support within this last week of session. We could possibly see a special session this summer to handle the expansion of Medicaid.
Thank you very much for your support this session. I look forward to earning your trust and support again for this year’s re-election. It is an honor and I encourage any and all emails to myself at Rep.Wollmann@state.sd.us

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