Kevin Jensen, SD Legislature

Posted February 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm

This is the final week to hear bills in each house. Next Monday is called cross over day which means every bill that has been introduced will either be dead or it has been passed by the house of origin and moves to the other house.

There were a few bills last week that drew some interesting and heated debate. One on those was HB1108 which limits the instruction or teaching of a certain type of sex education. The bill in its entirety is one sentence; “No instruction in gender dysphoria may be provided to any student in kindergarten through grade seven in any public school in the state.” I know this is controversial but in some states where this is being taught, someone we may have called a tom-boy may end up in counseling instead of just letting kids be kids. In extreme cases in some states children have even subjected to hormone therapy.

Interestingly, another billed which was debated heavily was another education bill, HB1066. This bill will require all public high school students to pass a random portion of the standard citizenship test. The bill requires students to get 7 out of 10 questions randomly selected from the standard test which has 100 questions. They can take the test as many times as needed to pass. Maybe it’s my age or the times we live in but I am still puzzled why many of the same people who approve of teaching a 7-year-old about gender dysphoria rejected the idea of high school students passing a small portion of the test that immigrants have to pass to become citizens.

HB1217 passed 11-0 out of judiciary and would make it a Class 1 Misdemeanor to be driving under the influence and have a minor child in the vehicle. Currently you could be charged with child endangerment but this makes the law much more specific and easier to charge.

Another bill which goes to the floor this week came out of Health and Human Services Committee with an 11-2 vote, it is HB1229. This bill would require any new services being added to the list of procedures approved by the state to be covered by Medicaid, to go through appropriations rather than just go through the normal ‘rules’ process. When approved by the rules process is seems to fly under the radar and expand state spending. The expansion of Medicaid is controversial because for every dollar spent on a Medicaid claim the state is responsible for about 43 cents and the rest is federal money. If this becomes law, spending on all new procedures would be in public view. Since we have to have a balanced budget, all new spending must be offset by increased revenue or spending cuts in other areas.

Since many of the bills have not been acted on by both houses yet, there have not been that many signed into law. Over the next few weeks there will be many bills being signed or rejected by the Governor. Next week there will be plenty to report on. My contact email is kevin.jensen@sdlegislature.gov.

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