Representatives discuss issues at cracker barrels
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Representatives discuss issues at cracker barrels

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Week 4 is done, completing legislative days 13 through 16. Let’s start off with a good news story. As most of you know, we have interns who are college students that stay for the entire session. We also have pages that come for two week increments since they are juniors and seniors in high school. At 4:45 pm on Thursday, February 6, page Isaac Buchholtz was sitting in the back of the House chamber as we were still in session. He received a call on his cell phone, so he stepped out to take the call. When he came back into the chambers, he was beaming because he was admitted into the U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, New York!! Isaac is a senior at Riggs High School in Pierre. Once it was announced on the House floor, everyone was going over to congratulate him.

That night at 6 pm, we had the annual Military Dining Out put on by the National Guard, both Army and Air Guard. I asked Isaac to be our guest, and he accepted, and we all had a wonderful time. One person I introduced Isaac to was Retired Major General Ron Williamson, who was a West Point graduate. MG Williamson was ecstatic to meet and talk with Isaac. He asked him what sport he was going to do at the Point, and that’s when we found out he was recruited to play football; more specifically, to be the academy’s kicker!

So, how about that! Next year when you watch the Game of the Year, that being the Army vs. Navy game, look for the kicker Isaac Buchholtz from little old Pierre, South Dakota!

Sen. Russell, Rep. Frye-Mueller and myself had two cracker barrels on Saturday. One in Hill City and one in Custer. We also had one in Rapid City, but missed that in order to attend the two entirely in our district. Subjects encountered:

– Full-time daylight savings time. Much interest but could only muster 34 votes for passage in the House. It needed 36 yeas, so nothing changes.

– HB1087, specifically in Custer, wondering how we voted. It passed out of the House 46 yeas, needing 36. Both Rep. Frye-Mueller and I voted in favor of HB1087 which basically delays any sex change drugs or operations until they are 16.

– HB1182. That passed, I believe, in 2015 which added ½ cent sales tax. In section 17 of the bill, it spells out that 63% of revenues go toward teachers, 34% towards property tax reduction, 3% to vocational institutes. The question was, “Where’s the 63% for teachers?” In Hill City, they received the property tax reduction but because the teacher revenue was only a one-time money, the school district has lost $600,000, when the intent of the bill was for a pay raise. There was also a lot of talk about the school funding formula and capital outlay and how it should work. It looks like in the House of Representatives we are going to have a summer study trying to address these concerns. I am going to volunteer to be on the study.

Other bills discussed:

– HB1215, act to prohibit the state from endorsing or enforcing certain policies regarding domestic relations

– HB1212, an act to add certain persons to the list of mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect

– HB1276, an act to provide for a review of occupational regulation

– HB1136, licensing and regulation of practitioners of acupuncture

– SB92, repurpose Star Academy

– SB75, habitat stamp on hunting and fishing licenses

– SB50, revise certain provisions regarding the practice of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

That pretty much took up two hours at each location, Hill City and Custer. I would like to thank the Hill City Prevailer and the Custer County Chronicle for sponsoring these two events, as well as Super 8 Hill City and the Senior Citizen Center in Custer for hosting.

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