Wollman Legislative Review Week 1

By Rep. Mathew Wollmann

Greetings all, and I hope this week one review finds each and every one of you well. The 92nd legislative session has started and I am excited to get to work again for District 8. Many of you already know, but I will be serving on the House and Joint Appropriations committee this session. This committee dedicates many long hours to our state’s budget, that is required to be balanced every single year unlike our federal budget.
We started out the first week by hearing from the Legislative Research Council, Auditor General, Public Utilities Commission, the Secretary of State, State Auditor, the Bureau of Finance and Management, and other governmental agencies. Each agency provided a budget overview, and an in-depth summary of their department and expenditure requests and changes. If anyone would want to see these presentations, I would be more than happy to share them with you.
Outside of appropriations committee, we had the privilege to listen to the Governor’s State of the State address, the State of the Tribes,  as well as the State of the Judiciary from Chief Justice Gilbertson. The Governor reiterated that revenue is down another $5.8 million from the time of the budget address, and down a total of $31.9 million from expected. This is due to the lagging farm economy, low inflation, lower tourism numbers, cautious consumers, and online purchases.
On a lighter note, it is very good news that online retailer Amazon will start collecting sales tax on Feb. 1, which could see an estimated added revenue of $12 million to our state’s funds. Chief Justice Gilbertson addressed changes that need to be made to improve public safety and treatment of people with mental health illness. We need to move quicker and more effectively to identify those that are suffering from a form of mental illness.
There has been much news on Initiated Measure 22 in the past weeks, and what the legislature will put in place. Initiated Measure 22 has been deemed unconstitutional, and we as legislators have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of South Dakota. It is unclear what will be put in its place, but I have been advocating to other legislators that we need to keep in mind the will of the voter, and the need for more accountability within the political process.
I look forward to the coming weeks, the discussions that we will have, and again thank you for your support during the 2016 general election. Feel free to contact me at Mathew.Wollmann@sdlegislature.gov  with any questions or issues. Thank you!

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