Displaying Knowledge

I have been extremely active and effective while in the Legislature for the past 8 years. Most bills I bring are passed and signed into law, a few have not, but I do eventually get the win after a couple of years of working with the interested parties to get any outstanding issues resolved. I work on a variety of issues so I can learn as much as I can about issues that affect South Dakota citizens and I work on issues which we can fix in the South Dakota Legislature.

2005: passed HB1228, and SB97
2006: passed HB1058, HB1059, HB1070, HB1129, and HB1177
2007: passed HB1089, HB1114, HB1150, HB1183, HB1184, HB1204, HB1205, HB1256, SB71, SB86, and SB136
2008: passed HB1218, SB64, and SB69
2009: passed HB1270, SB8, and SB105
2010: passed HB1138, SB88, SB184, and SB186
2011: passed SB64, SB70, SB86, SB146, SB147, HB1080, HB1081, and HB1087
2012: passed SB66, SB93, HB1172 and HB1263
2013: passed SB90, SB120, SB121 and SB239
2014: passed SB9, SB69, SB84, SB124, SB176, SB177, HB1175, and HB1212
2015: passed SB99, SB101, SB124, HB1118, HB1135, and HB1148
2016: passed SB5, SB69/HB1145, SB79, SB106, SB120, HB1061, HB1089, HB1091, and HB1214

Some of the bigger issues which I have worked to pass are:

  1. Budget Chair of Appropriation - Balancing Caucus priorities with available resources to ensure a balanced budget, an investment in education, and we are taking care of people
  2. Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund issues, whether it was finding a way to prevent a surcharge or reducing the taxes
  3. Property tax issues; whether it was for business incubator's tax exemptions or increasing the elderly's homestead exemption to include more folks in the property tax exemption
  4. Working with the Department of Social Services and other child protection advocacy groups to modify the definitions of child abuse and neglect and to change the procedures for investigating child abuse and neglect
  5. Working with the Business and Industry to change the state's laws on deceptive trade practices
  6. Looking for ways to steamline the state's business of revenue or fee collections. The more efficient the state government is running, the lower the taxes and fees need to be to pay for essential government services
  7. Working to make a better quality of life for our military folks as well by sponsoring serveral bills dealing with military families and working with the US Department of Defense to allow South Dakota to join an interstate compact for educational opportunities for military children
  8. Working to make government more accountable by opening up their record keeping, policies and procedures
  9. Working with Business & Industry to ensure the Department of Revenue operates in good faith when there are differences of opinion on the taxability of products and services

A bill that I worked on several years ago but didn't pass was the updating of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. South Dakota has not made any updates since the law was passed in 1964. As we all know, we are in a different time, and things have dramatically changed since 1964. I was looking at amending the Human Rights Act for today's world. We have a number of classes of South Dakota citizens who are not protected for basic human rights. The bill I brought was to add certain classes of individuals to our Civil Rights Act, such as, military men and women, the elderly, and folks with different sex orientation.

I was brought up by very conservative parents - money was never spent on random items, we had a plan and vacations were treasured family time. Growing up, I didn't know whether they were republican or democrat but they did teach me to treat people with respect. My parents taught me to treat people as I would want to be treated. Everyone is different. We are all born different. We are born into families with different religions or different financial means. It shouldn't matter if someone is wearing a torn sweatshirt and work jeans or a suit; they should all command the same respect. It shouldn't matter if you are a farmer, a doctor, an accountant or a stay-at-home mom. All jobs are important, all people are God's creations and should be treated equally.