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  • Mike Weisgram

Legislative Update #4

As I reflect on Week 3 of the 96th Session of the South Dakota Legislature, several experiences stand out that demonstrate the formality and structure of the House of Representatives as well as the attentive and passionate constituents that watch current legislation. Our citizen legislature considers a broad range of issues, and it does it with knowledge, varied ranges of experience, and the respect that all South Dakotans can be proud of.


When considering new and updated versions of legislation, it is apparent that much preparation went into crafting it, with new versions trying to find efficiencies in government oversight and “cleaning up” outdated laws. This week reinforced that communication is the key to success, and that I am here to serve a constituent of people.


My business life was spent serving the customer, always working to accommodate and please. Yet do it profitably. As a legislator, I serve the citizens. Rather than profitability, though, I must keep efficiency in mind. This week, I voted on issues, such as: regulatory boards being combined for efficiencies, license renewals, and continuing education parameters for plumbers, and changes suggested by the electrical commission for much needed technology changes.


I kept as a baseline of how these votes effected the customers. Customers in these scenarios were barbers, cosmetologists, massage therapists, plumbers, and electricians – not to mention who benefits from their existence and services provided to the end consumer. We must balance efficiencies, the real-world workings of these people mentioned, and public safety. If there were controversies, usually it came down to the fact that communication was the ingredient that needed enhancing. This is not a criticism, just recognition of a meaningful pathway to successful improvements and understanding.


This week, I was introduced to the term “smoke out”. But this is not the kind of smoke out experienced during my much younger years visiting taverns with live music and unlimited cigarette smoking. HB 1076 was defeated in the Health and Human Services Committee by one vote, but it was resurrected for floor consideration on Wednesday. The entire process was interesting to say the least. From the bill failing in committee, to the smoke out on the floor, to the lively debate that brought passion from both sides, and the votes cast that ultimately saw the bill pass the full body. With a pass on the floor, the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.


Before the votes were cast, I visited with many of my fellow representatives as well as we all were receiving many emails and messages. I also received many emails and messages after the votes were made from those who both agree and disagree with my position. I have explained the reasoning for my vote to those on both sides of the issue. Hopefully they can agree that we can disagree at times.


As I close this update, I will leave you the basis of how I will decide how to vote on these contentious issues: I will lead with love. Thank you for the honor to serve in the SD House of Representatives and I appreciate you all very much.


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