Keeping Our Promise To Taxpayers And Teachers

 

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard
October 13, 2017

Pierre, SD – Two years ago, South Dakotans joined together to solve a longstanding problem. Our state’s average salaries for teachers were lowest in the nation. Even after adjusting for cost of living differences, teachers made significantly more in our neighboring states. I heard from many educators that the problem had reached its breaking point. As many older teachers retired, schools were struggling to fill vacant positions.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force met throughout 2015, and after seeking input from thousands of South Dakotans, it recommended a number of solutions. I proposed several legislative changes based on that report, and a bipartisan coalition in the State Legislature passed versions of those proposals with two-thirds votes. We raised the state sales tax to put more money into education, changed the funding formula to prioritize teacher pay and put strict requirements in place for use of the new money.

Those salary increases took effect for the 2016-17 school year, and the state recently received the final results from that first year. We made great progress. In one year, salaries increased by an average of 8.8 percent. The Blue Ribbon legislation set a target average salary of $48,500, and in one year we moved more than halfway toward that goal.

Raises varied in individual school districts, but I was pleased to see that the largest increases happened in some of our smallest districts. Several districts, including Wall, Gayville-Volin and Mobridge-Pollock had increases of more than 20 percent, and Leola had an increase of nearly 30 percent.

The State Legislature wanted assurance that the new money would be spent as intended – for higher teacher salaries – so the legislation included strict accountability measures. A school district that failed to direct at least 85 percent of those funds to teacher salaries could forfeit 50 percent of the new money it received – a very serious penalty. At the same time, however, the Legislature recognized that schools might fall short due to unforeseen circumstances, and created a waiver process by which a school district can explain its unique situation.

Thirty-six school districts failed to meet at least one aspect of the accountability requirements. They tend to be smaller districts. Although approximately one-quarter of districts missed a requirement, these districts account for less than 11 percent of the teacher salaries paid.

Most of these districts missed the target by a very small margin. Edgemont, for example, was short of the required spending on teacher salaries by 0.1 percent. Herreid missed the required average salary by $109. In Pierre, the district was short by 0.2 percent because a teacher passed away during the school year, which meant the school district spent a little less on salaries than planned.

Examples like these will be considered by the School Finance Accountability Board and the Joint Appropriations Committee. If a school made a good faith effort to comply with the law, and has a corrective plan in place, I hope these bodies will consider a waiver. If, on the other hand, a school district knowingly took the teacher salary funding and spent it for another purpose, it is important that the problem is remedied. The Blue Ribbon legislation was passed with the understanding that the money would be used for teacher salaries, and we owe it to taxpayers to keep that promise.

Non-Meandered waters. What the heck is that? By Rep. Tim Goodwin

September 26, 02017
By Representative Tim Goodwin

Non meandered waters.  What the heck is that?  Well, summer’s over, fall is here and I need to start writing and reporting to you, my constituents, about what is going on in Pierre.  We were called in on June 12th for a special legislative session.  We heard rumblings of a special session being called, but weren’t notified until Thursday, Sept 8, to report at 10 am on Monday, Sept. 12.  So much for having a summer!  I had to send someone in my place on a bear hunt, but what the heck.

Of course the subject was non meandered waters.  So let me give you the Reader’s Digest condensed version of non meandered and meandered waters.  In our state, before statehood in 1889, surveyors had completed surveys on the majority of the state.  If a lake was less than forty acres, it was deemed non meandered, and ownership was the landowners.  These were mostly homesteaders who wanted water on their 160 acre plot (a quarter of a section).

If a body of water was more than 40 acres, it was deemed a lake and was considered state property.  Homesteads didn’t include any of these bodies of water.  A simpler was to understand how things were in 1889: non meandered was a slough, meandered a lake, with the 40 acres the criteria of which was which.  Clear as mud?

So, since 1889, a lot has happened.  During the dirty ‘30’s, all of the sloughs and many of the lakes dried up.  Some of them were even farmed.  Since then, there has been a steady climb in water tables.  The late 1980’s, ‘90’s and up until present time, many of these sloughs (non meandered waters) continued to expand.

Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) used many of these sloughs to stock mostly walleye fry, mosquito size, for summer rearing ponds.  In the fall, they were seined and stocked in lakes.  Because it was impossible to get all of the fingerlings while seining, a lot of these sloughs became as good or better fisheries than lakes.  GFP even put boat ramps/docks on 26 of these sloughs at a taxpayer cost of approx. $260k per ramp.

In Day County (Webster), a couple of landowners sued the state and the lawsuit made it to the state supreme court.  The high court made a ruling on March 15, 2017.  (We ended our legislative session on March 10, 2017.)  The ruling stated that the landowner and sportsmen had equal rights to the non meandered sloughs, and it was up to the legislature to sort it out.  I’m not making this up!

On March 16, 2017, Gov. Daugaard ordered GFP to lock out all GFP boat ramps on these 26 sloughs.  They reluctantly put cables across all these boat ramps, stopping anyone from launching a boat.

Well, the impact to the economy around these lakes was catastrophic!  The town of Webster’s revenue was down 35%!  Many motels and bait shops were going under financially.

So we hauled it into Pierre to make a ruling about who can fish and hunt on the non meandering waters.  There was a hand-picked task force that met several times before June 12th and drafted a proposed bill.  So what now?

I stated during floor debate that I felt I was voting with the proverbial gun to my head because I can vote against more government all day long, but how could I vote against private business??  The governor refused to open thee boat ramps unless this bill, HB1001, was passed, so we passed it in both the House and the Senate.  We did add a sunset clause of June 30, 2018.  This means that the bill expires on that date.

I’ll keep you posted, as we are not done with HB1001 by a long shot!  Thank you  for giving me the opportunity to represent you in Pierre!

-Representative Tim R Goodwin, tgoodwin1955@gmail.com or 605-390-5324

Rounds and Thune Throw Support Behind Bill That Hurts South Dakota

 

September 21, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Sam Parkinson released the following statement today reacting to the news that Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune support the latest attempt by Republicans to take healthcare away from millions of Americans, including thousands of South Dakotans:

“South Dakotans will suffer under the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson bill. This harmful bill will end Medicaid as we know it, cancel tax credits that help families afford health insurance, and eliminate subsidies that reduce out-of-pocket costs for working families. Tens of thousands of South Dakotans will lose their healthcare, and those who still have healthcare coverage will pay more for worse coverage. Instead of supporting this cruel bill, John Thune and Mike Rounds should listen to the South Dakotans they represent and work with Democrats to improve our health care system.”

Here is a look at a few of the ways South Dakotans will suffer under the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson bill:

  • 70,000 South Dakotans would lose their healthcare coverage.
  • It puts 81,672 South Dakota children’s healthcare at risk.
  • It would raise costs for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • 68,000 South Dakotans could see lifetime and annual limits again
  • It could cost seniors in South Dakota $17,221 in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  • It ends Medicaid as we know it, hurting seniors, people with disabilities, and other communities across South Dakota.
  • It cancels tax credits that help 24,953 families – 91 percent of South Dakota marketplace enrollees – afford health insurance.
  • It eliminates subsidies that reduce out-of-pocket costs for 16,144 residents, which is 59 percent of the total marketplace enrollees in South Dakota.
  • It slashes billions in federal funding to states for expanding health insurance coverage and lowering costs, including $4 billion to South Dakota.

Service Academies Offer Students a Unique Opportunity to Serve

By Sen. John Thune
September 15, 2017

President Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” For nearly 250 years, America has been blessed because from each new generation of Americans have come leaders and warriors’ who have not only protected freedom and liberty on their watch, but have helped ensure those pillars of American democracy are preserved and strengthened for those to whom they’ve passed the torch of freedom.

South Dakota has been home to many of these leaders over the years – it still is today – and I’m humbled to play a small role each year in helping South Dakota’s future leaders take the next step in life by nominating them to one of the service academies throughout the country, including the Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Merchant Marine Academy. Any South Dakotan who meets the requirements (age, marital status, etc.) can apply for a nomination through my office.

There are many well-known leaders and pioneers in their field who graduated from one of America’s service academies. Astronauts like Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who both flew to the moon, graduated from the Military Academy, as did U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who I’m fortunate to serve with in the U.S. Senate, graduated from the Naval Academy. Generations of other Americans who went on to serve in countless other fields, including business, academia, and athletics, have all gone through the ranks of one academy or another.

If you’re interested in beginning your career at a service academy, now is the time to act. You can find more information on my website,www.thune.senate.gov, under the “services” tab. Once there, you’ll be able to determine if you’re eligible to apply. You can also write, email, or call any of my offices for more information or to discuss this opportunity with a member of my staff.

The class of 2018 has already been selected, but the deadline to apply for the class of 2019 is on October 31, 2017, which is right around on the corner. I’ll review all of the applicants and will announce my selections early next year.

The men and women who choose to pursue this path deserve our respect and gratitude, and those who are selected will have their names etched among some of the most prominent leaders our nation has known. I want to thank all of the young South Dakotans in advance who will consider this opportunity, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Paris Climate Agreement Puts U.S. At Competitive Disadvantage

Paris Climate Agreement Another Misguided Step That Puts U.S. At Competitive Disadvantage

By Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

April 28, 2017

Last year, President Obama entered into a radical climate agreement called the Paris Agreement with other global leaders in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gas. Unfortunately, it is a bad deal for America. We all want to pass on a clean, safe environment to future generations, but the Paris Agreement was made without the support of Congress or the American people. The new energy restrictions outlined in the Paris Agreement will lead to higher electricity rates and regulatory costs for U.S. producers and manufacturers, which are passed onto us in the form of higher prices. This puts our country at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world as we compete for new markets to sell our goods and services.  Simply put, the Paris Agreement is a bad deal for the United States’ economy.  It shackles our economy and raises electricity costs without even meeting the agreement’s goal of having an effect on climate change.

Currently under the agreement, the United States is obligated to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2025, or about 1.1 billion tons. That’s in addition to the more than 820 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions we’ve already cut over the past decade. Meanwhile, other signers, including Russia, India and Iran, are allowed to actually increase or have no cap on their emissions output. Crazier yet, China, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, has no emissions cap. So, while we increase our costs of production, the rest of the world continues to produce greenhouse gases and grow their economies which explains why research has shown the agreement has no measurable effect on the environment.

Cutting emissions comes at a big cost to our economy. According to a March 2017 study by NERA Economic Consulting, the Paris Agreement will cost the United States $3 trillion and cut 6.5 million jobs by 2040. Industry in the United States has already been stymied by the countless regulations imposed throughout President Obama’s tenure in office. It’s time that we allow industry to grow and create more jobs for our citizens. They should not have to leave the U.S. to competitively produce their products. The Paris Agreement is a bad deal, one which impacts our economy while allowing other countries to continue producing greenhouse gas emissions.

Good energy policies include an ‘all of the above’ approach that will strengthen our economy, create jobs and enhance our energy independence.  While we only have one clean coal power plant located at Big Stone in South Dakota, we still rely on electricity produced at clean coal fired plants in other states.

In South Dakota, we have clean air and water. We intend to keep it that way. We also intend to have a strong economy that creates jobs for our citizens. These are not mutually exclusive. Let’s do both. Let’s not destroy our economy by adhering to the Paris Agreement, an agreement which clearly allows for the production of greenhouse gases by most of the rest of the world.

Guns in Fall River County Courthouse An Opinion By District 30 Rep. Tim Goodwin

Tim R Goodwin, Representative for District 30

Tgoodwin1955@gmail.com or 605-390-5324

Guns in Fall River County Courthouse.  As promised from last week, this is our subject.  I know, I know, aren’t there more important issues than guns in the courthouse?  There are, but its hard to  put a price on our constitution and the amendments to the constitution, which make it part of our constitution.  Men and women have fought and died for it.  So, yes, it is very important!

In question here is the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Going back to this past legislative session, we had HB1156 Capitol Carry.  In a nutshell, it would allow you to carry a pistol, concealed, into the capitol for protection.  The House majority leader was the prime sponsor.  This was not just for legislators, but more importantly, the personnel that work inside the capitol 12 months of the year.  I visited with the Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, and the Commissioner of School and Public Lands, Ryan Brunner, and they both were in favor of being able to defend themselves, should the need arise.  The other three constitutional officers, the State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Attorney General (Marty Jackley), all were in favor of HB1156 Capitol Carry.

The governor asked us to amend the bill to “if you are carrying in the capitol, you have to pass the enhanced carry course (cost $200 approx.), and give the capitol security a list of who is carrying in the capitol.  So we amended it.  The gnashing of teeth amongst us conservatives was considerable.  We passed the bill on the House floor, as did the Senate.  Once this happened, it went to the governor’s desk for his signature to become law.

Well, as most of you know, the governor vetoed it.  WTH?  I was more than upset!!  So I asked the particular lobbyist who was liaison for the governor on this bill what happened.  It was his amendment that we compromised to get his approval.  The answer I received was, “The governor has the right to change his mind.”??!!  In my opinion, in this case, no, he doesn’t!  He told the legislature what we needed to do to get his signature, and we did it.  We tried to override the veto on the last day of the session, and failed by 5 votes.

Getting back to Fall River County.  I was in the court room (that’s where the county commission meetings are held) when Circuit Judge Craig Pfeifle asked the commission to reconsider their earlier 3-2 ruling allowing guns in the courthouse on days court was not in session.  The commission did reconsider, quite rapidly I might add, on a 4-1 vote to not allow guns in the Fall River County Courthouse.

Now, I believe government is best kept at the lowest level, therefore I am not second guessing the county commissioners reversal.  They work for you, the residents of Fall River County, and you hired them, and if you disagree with their decision, you can fire them.

What I am wanting us to think about is the Constitution, specifically the 2nd Amendment, which I quoted earlier.  What gives any elected official the right to override the Constitution?  Now these pro-constitution-over riders always start out with “I’m a card-carrying NRA member.  I own several guns.  I love to hunt.  Asking the public to pay $10 for a concealed carry permit is only $2 per year, etc.”  Okay, with that analogy, let’s go to the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech.

Let’s implement a Free Speech permit.  We’ll keep the cost the same, $10.  Of course, you will need to fill out an application at the Sheriff’s Office, and you will be vetted to see if you should be allowed to speak freely in public.  (I probably would be denied.)  We could even add an enhanced speech permit that we could say is needed if you speak in front of a group of 20 or more people.  It’s only $200; that’s only $40 per year.  IT’S AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION YOU YELL!!  My point exactly!

Editor’s Note.

 Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted. Source: Gun Violence Archive.

Planning Efforts for Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake Areas Put on Back Burner

Photo: SDGF&P

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks

April 11, 2017

To date, the planning effort the for the Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas has included gathering public feedback through the website, written comments, the Little Spearfish Canyon public meeting, Focus Group meetings and two Volunteer Advisory Committee meetings.  A stakeholder meeting was also held with Bismarck Lake permittees.  A range of inventory and analysis has also been completed in Little Spearfish Canyon, with minimal inventory work started at Bismarck Lake.

After careful consideration, Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has decided to pause the planning efforts for the Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas not currently owned or managed by GFP. GFP’s goal continues to be the preservation of the areas in Little Spearfish Canyon and the area surrounding Bismarck Lake.  Taking a pause, at this time, will give GFP, stakeholders, partners and the general public the opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate these areas and their future.

GFP staff will continue their ongoing planning and preservation efforts for the areas they currently own and manage, including Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Falls and the Savoy Fishing Pond. More specifically, enhancements will continue this spring to the Spearfish Falls Trailhead, with an anticipated fall trail dedication. Fish and Wildlife Division staff will also continue their ongoing research projects and management efforts in the region, including several ongoing projects related to the brown trout in Spearfish Creek and the funding of a two-year project to survey and monitor the state-threatened American Dipper.

Peaks to Plains Design, the stewardship planning consultant, will close out the inventory and analysis phase of the project for the Spearfish and Little Spearfish Canyon portions of the project. They will also tabulate the information gathered from the public through project website comments, the Spearfish Canyon public meeting and the Focus Group sessions. This information will be included in the inventory and analysis report and will be valuable for both GFP and our partners in guiding the future for these areas. The scope of the stewardship planning contract will be modified and when Peaks to Plains has completed the items in the modified scope, their contract with GFP will be closed.

No additional public meetings, for either the Little Spearfish Canyon or Bismarck Lake portions of the project, have been scheduled and will be postponed indefinitely.

Please direct any questions or comments to 605.773.3391 or StateParkMasterPlan@state.sd.us

Tribal Leaders Participate In Governor’s Roundtable On Enforcement of SB 176

March 30, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard yesterday met with tribal leaders to discuss Senate Bill 176, potential pipeline protests and public safety. In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota, state and tribal leaders came together on Wednesday to converse on how to avoid potential problems, share concerns and work on possible solutions.

“I thank tribal leaders for traveling to Pierre to participate in this discussion,” Gov. Daugaard said. “I value the intergovernmental relationships the State of South Dakota has with the tribes and I appreciate their input on this pressing issue.”

The roundtable discussion resulted from the bipartisan passage of SB 176 earlier this month. After the bill received legislative approval, Gov. Daugaard sent a letter to all nine tribes within South Dakota inviting them to participate in the meeting.

“It was a productive meeting,” said Secretary Steve Emery, head of the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations. “Everyone came together to share their concerns and ideas. Both state and tribal leadership agreed that working together and keeping lines of communication open are essential to protecting and maintaining individual freedoms as well as public safety. We all think it would be beneficial to coordinate future meetings with representatives from tribal, state and local governments, as well as law enforcement.”

In addition to the Governor and Tribal Secretary, Lt. Gov. Matt Michels and Secretary of Public Safety Trevor Jones attended the meeting. Tribal leadership who were present included Yankton Sioux Tribe Chairman Robert Flying Hawk, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Chairman Boyd Gourneau and Rosebud Sioux Tribe Vice-President Scott Herman.

During the roundtable, state leaders emphasized SB 176 as a way to protect those who seek to peacefully exercise First Amendment rights. State officials also explained that the bill’s provisions extend beyond potential protests and may be useful in other emergency situations and natural disasters.

Other issues discussed in the meeting included drug use, extradition agreements, emergency management and police training.

SB176

Oversight Council Releases Report On Juvenile Reforms – Gov. Daugaard Signs SB 179

 

March 28, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – Today the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act Oversight Council released its first annual report on progress made under Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s juvenile justice reforms. The Oversight Council is the statutorily authorized entity that monitors the juvenile justice reforms.

“While we still have a long path ahead of us, this report indicates the state made great progress in juvenile justice during FY 16,” said Gov. Daugaard.

Before the 2015 reforms went into effect, South Dakota had the second highest juvenile commitment rate in the country and was 188 percent above the national average. More than three-quarters of the commitments to the juvenile justice system were for nonviolent or probation violations. Since the passage of the reforms, new commitments to DOC have declined 43 percent and the number of recommitments has declined 62 percent, from FY 14 to FY 16.

“The reforms focused on increasing public safety, holding juveniles accountable and reducing costs. We are making progress toward these goals by increasing the use of diversion programs, expanding evidence-based programming in our communities, and providing better support services for youth and their families,” Gov. Daugaard added.

Other points in the report include:

·         Nearly 70 percent of diversions from the juvenile justice system were completed successfully.

·         Ninety-four percent of youth completed their term of probation – a 9 percent increase from FY 14.

·         Twenty-five counties applied for and received funds from the Fiscal Incentive Diversion Program, with the state reinvesting $242,500 back into the counties.

The Oversight Council recognized the need for adjustments to the law during the 2017 Legislative Session. Gov. Daugaard recently signed four bills to strengthen SB 73:

·         SB 83 clarifies a state’s attorney’s authority to file a CHINS petition if informal action is insufficient.

·         SB 84 allows the court to extend a youth’s probation period if he or she absconds.

·         SB 103 increases flexibility for school officials and state’s attorneys to manage truancy by using either a citation process or a formal petition.

·         SB 179 amends the length of terms of juvenile probation.  SB 179 was signed into law today.

To read the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act report, go to jjri.sd.gov and click on “Resources.”

Also today, Gov. Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 179, an Act to revise the length of the maximum probationary period for juvenile probationers.

The bill was introduced on the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session in response to the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 164. SB 179 mirrors an earlier version of SB 164, which received hearings during the main run of session, and does not include the section on self-harm which Gov. Daugaard found problematic.

 

Looking Back On A Successful Legislative Session ?

 

Looking Back On A Successful Legislative Session

 A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Friday, March 10, was the last day of the main run of the 2017 Legislative Session. Although the session was more “low profile” than in some past years, we can all be proud of our legislators’ hard work.

South Dakota balances its budget every year, and the Legislature overcame very slow revenue growth to pass a structurally balanced budget again this year. I was very pleased that we were also able to find a way to offer small inflationary increases to K-12 schools and many Medicaid providers.

Perhaps the most important legislation this year received the least attention: a package of bills relating to the South Dakota Retirement System. Unlike many states, South Dakota’s pension plan is 100 percent funded. This year, retirement system trustees unanimously recommended legislation to secure our strong footing decades into the future – and it passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and only five dissenting votes.

The Legislature also kept its commitment to South Dakota voters to deal with IM 22, which a judge enjoined from taking effect due to its numerous constitutional problems. A package of replacement bills includes a bipartisan bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Karen Soli to create a Government Accountability Board to investigate ethics complaints. Other bills reinstated a ban on gifts from lobbyists to elected officials, new whistleblower protections and enhanced ability to prosecute conflict-of-interest cases.

We also took action to confront the scourge of meth. We are adding more treatment capacity for meth addicts, imposing tougher penalties on probationers or parolees who use drugs, educating young people about the dangers of meth and encouraging first-time drug offenders to complete treatment to break the cycle of abuse.

A task force convened by the Chief Justice brought important legislation to help our state do a better job of identifying and responding to mental health issues in the criminal justice system. This will allow counties to handle these cases more quickly and avoid lengthy, unnecessary, expensive jail stays for those affected.

The Legislature also approved the construction of a new state animal diagnostic and research lab at South Dakota State University. This lab is crucial to protecting our public safety and our state’s livestock industry. I was very pleased that the ag community and legislators found a way to finance this project, despite the tough budget year, without using new state general funds.

We also made progress in open government. BoardsAndCommissions.SD.gov will become a mandatory portal for all state boards and commissions to post their meeting notices, agenda, minutes and other materials. The Legislature also approved the public release of police booking photos, or “mugshots,” for felony cases.

Many other important pieces of legislation passed this year: bills allowing for the sale of state lands and buildings that are no longer needed, a bill to strengthen laws to respond to a potential protest emergency, legislation to create a new Board of Technical Education, and a bill to improve primary care, especially in rural areas, through more independence for nurse practitioners.

Our legislators accomplished all of that, and much more, in just nine short weeks. South Dakotans can be proud that we have a part-time, citizen Legislature. They are not “career politicians.” This session, the average state legislator had four years of legislative experience, and 29 of the 105 had never served in the Legislature at all. They are our friends and neighbors, and they take time away from their jobs and families to come to Pierre and serve our state.

If you see one of our state legislators in the next few weeks, please thank them for their hard work and for a job well done.