Report from Michael Held, Lobbyist for the South Dakota Farm Bureau: March 7, 2014

Five days remain in the full session with March 31 saved for any consideration of vetoes.

SB 46, an act to revise the animal care statutes, will be heard in House Judiciary at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 10. This is the last day for bills to be passed out of Committee. Please contact both of your members in the House and ask them to support SB 46. Most House members are saying they are not hearing from any supporters of the bill. SB 46 was put together by South Dakota State Veterinarian, Dr. Oedekoven, and all of the SD ag groups that represent livestock producers. The latest inaccurate emails coming to House members this week state that it was “written by HSUS and given to the SD Animal Industry Board.” Please take the time to contact ALL members of the House this weekend.

Railroads: HB 1041 is the SD DOT bill to improve and repair the railroad bridge at Chamberlain. Funding was increased from $1.2 million to $7.2 million in Senate Appropriations and then passed 9-0. SB 137 was amended and passed by House Appropriations. Both bills will direct money to restore the railroad west of Chamberlain, with plans to restore service at least to Presho in the next few years.

The wheat check-off bill, HB 1081, passed the Senate 32-3 and is on the Governor's desk.

HB 1112 had a hearing in Senate Appropriations; the $2 million general fund monies were restored and the bill was passed 9-0. It will build a new swine teaching and research center at SDSU.

Another bill sent to the Governor, HB 1185, will for the first time in 60-plus years, give the control of out-of-state waterfowl licenses to Game, Fish and Parks instead of the State Legislature. This battle has been fought annually since the early 1960s.

Starting Monday, March 10 the Appropriations Committee will listen to revenue projections. By mid-week a revenue number will be adopted by the committee. After that, spending decisions will have to fit into the income projection, with the final action being the adoption of the budget on Friday.