South Dakota Legislature Produces Mediocre Results
The 2015 South Dakota Legislature did a mediocre job. They had some moments of good, followed by hours of much less than good.
Add in "why are we spending so much time on this," and childish and boorish words and actions, and you have mediocre results.
In the "Why Are We Spending so Much Time on This" category, are the numerous bills dealing with guns and the people who covet them. Guns in the Capital. Guns on campuses. The elimination of conceal carry laws. All of these proposals took hours of time, with no changes in state law. Rational thinking prevailed.
In the "Why Aren't We Spending More Time on This" category should have been discussions and actions to deal with teacher shortages, school funding, and student accomplishments. This year produced nothing. Why can't 105 minds, most of them educated in South Dakota, figure out the problem and create solutions during the session?
According to the Governor, we need another task force. Obviously, he doesn't trust the legislature to get the job done.
The lack of legislation to deal with the large number of people without health insurance (Medicaid) is another sign of less than mediocre work.
On the dark side, many legislators will brag about creating a sub minimum wage for our children. In a state where wages are already low, they have taken a bad situation and made it worse. Adding insult to injury, they created this sub minimum wage immediately after the voters decided to raise the minimum for all workers. As of this writing the Governor has not signed or vetoed this bad proposal.
Probably the darkest moment came when the House State Affairs Committee voted to eliminate a task force which was dealing with sexually abused children. I have written another column on this subject naming names of those I feel sank below the gutter to make a political point for the chair of that committee.
Fortunately, the Governor stepped in and is taking over the funding and operations of this very important work.
On the good side, the juvenile justice system is changing. Fewer kids will be locked up. More kids will get help close to home.
Also a plus, raising taxes and fees to fix roads and bridges in the townships, counties, and on the state road system. Those changes take place April 1st.
A truly avant garde proposal to allow terminally ill people access to drugs not yet totally approved by the FDA was approved.
It is sad to live in a state with so much potential and elected leaders unwilling or unable to take advantage of it.