Heinemann Feb. 5 Report

Week 4 concluded with the passage of the deadline to submit bills to either house this past Friday. There have been 211 House bills and 177 Senate bills filed with some additional resolutions, so the number compared to previous years is about the same.
Rep. Marli Wiese was sworn in on Tuesday, so we would like to congratulate her on being appointed by the Governor to fill the vacant representative position in District 8. Many of you know her, and I believe she will represent the citizens of the district well in the coming weeks. I’m anxious to work with her to address some key issues facing the legislature.
With the passage of HB 1069 and the Governor signing it last Thursday, I will provide a very short summary of why I supported repeal. I didn’t believe having the Attorney General continue to spend taxpayer dollars to defend a law that was unlikely to survive was a wise choice for our money. I also didn’t agree with waiting two plus years to find that out for certain, when the court told us it was, by and large, unconstitutional. Instead, I believed that we should focus our energy on taking the ideas that surfaced from the initiated measure and place them in legislation that can be vetted by all interested parties, then gather the support necessary to pass into law.
There have been about 17 bills introduced, and some have started to make their way into committee hearings. I would suggest you review each of them to give me some feedback as to what is important to you. I can highlight some of those that survive the process, but they fall into three categories: campaign finance, accountability and lobbyist reform. The democracy credits idea, as most of you indicated to me, was not only a cost to the state budget, which many disliked, but would take away from other programs, like education, unless there was a tax increase. Most of the changes in the lobbyist area center around longer waiting periods after serving in a state/executive office, and better defining what a gift is, and I will support those ideas. I hope to have more information for you as we decipher the various bills in the next few weeks.
The Board of Regents is requesting a salary increase for teachers that work with K-12 students at the School for the Deaf and School for the Visually Impaired to match the increase the K-12 teachers received last year. The BOR funds DSU, which makes up only five percent of the BOR budget, so I believe they provide a very valuable opportunity for our area high school students to consider for post secondary education choices.
This past Tuesday was Madison Day at the legislature, and I’m always impressed by the number and energy of those that make the trip to see how the legislature works, especially the Madison Leadership group. It is great to see your community strive to help identify and develop new, young leaders within your community, and I, for one, see and appreciate those efforts. Thanks to those that have worked it and helped set it up over the years. Your efforts are appreciated.
On that note, I would like to thank Rosie for her past hard work on keeping and developing the Greater Madison Area Chamber organization to where it is today. We will miss your pleasant smile, and welcome Eric Hortness, the new Executive Director. I wish him the best with his new role.
As always contact me at Leslie.Heinemann@sdlegislature. I look forward to your feedback.

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