Week 2 District 8 Legislature Report

By Rep. Randy Gross

The legislative pace began to pick up during the second week.  Bills are beginning to work their way through committees. Most bills can be considered as either proactive or reactive. Proactive bills look to the future and propose a new or innovative idea for the benefit of the state. Reactive bills are written to modify or correct an existing situation, again for the betterment of the state. Both types of bills serve useful purposes.

Finding South Dakota’s “Next Big Thing” was a request from Governor Noem in her State of the State address last year. This year, a group of legislators are submitting a bill on behalf of South Dakota State University and the School of Mines for South Dakota’s next big thing. In this example of a proactive bill, the two universities are requesting funds to develop plans for a bioprocessing research and development facility. This collaborative effort would be a public-private partnership designed to bring together faculty from both schools, along with private industry, to develop new uses and new products from crops and timber. The effort would draw on the engineering, biology and agricultural expertise of the schools, combined with the ingenuity of South Dakota students, to work with industry partners to find and develop products that will add value to crops and timber and create jobs for South Dakota. 

If any District 8 resident has any big ideas that will help the future of South Dakota, please share your thoughts.

At the request of the South Dakota Sheriffs Association, initiated by Lake County Sheriff Walburg, I am leading a bill to modify/correct fees charged when a local sheriff serves legal papers. In 2016, the legislature modified most of these service fees. During training, conducted by Sheriff Walburg, it was noted that one fee was missed when the 2016 legislation was approved. My bill corrects the unintended omission and simplifies the sheriff’s legal responsibilities. This is an example of a reactive bill.

Many of the initial bills being heard early in the session are “agency bills” initiated by state departments or agencies (with a House or Senate sponsor) regarding items the agency believes need updating or clarifying. While most of these bills are fairly straight forward, the legislature still takes a close look at each one in committee before sending it on to the House or Senate with a recommendation.  These are additional examples of reactive bills.

Next week, the pace will pick up even more as numerous bills and resolutions will begin making their way to either the House or Senate for action. I will work to stay informed about actions impacting the 8th District while serving on the Appropriations Committee.

I have previously mentioned the wonderful people working and serving in Pierre. On Wednesday of last week, we took time to have a joint memorial service for past legislators who passed away during the last year. This was a very moving event honoring those who have provided service to our great state.

Please remember, this is your government and all citizens are welcome to visit the Capitol and testify on bills or simply observe the process. Information on the content and status of bills is available on the state website https://sdlegislature.gov. I can be contacted at Randy.Gross@sdlegislature.gov.

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