Legislative Update #7 (Week 6)
Even though it was a three-day legislative week, we started with a Caucus on Monday evening. For those who don’t know, Caucus is a meeting of House Republicans and Leadership. We met to review more than 40 House Bills asking for an appropriation for a full range of proposed projects for the good of South Dakota. With this banner year of revenues and one-time money available, the ask for these funds are widespread, varied, and worthy. My voice will favor projects that will pay dividends now and into the future. Projects that have my attention include: paying down debt, needs-based scholarship funding, workforce housing projects, a new bioprocessing building at the research park in Brookings, an investment in railroad line upgrades, and a new mineral industries building on the campus of South Dakota Mines. South Dakota has one hundred and five legislators, and there are at least that number of opinions on how the money should be spent. Therefore, much more time will be invested in the merits, need, and benefit of the many proposals for one-time spending.
House Bill 1140 received attention from hunting enthusiasts as well as the Game, Fish, and Parks Agency as it made it to the House floor this week. I had many passionate emails, phone calls, and visits from hunters who were worried about how this legislation would affect the conservation officers’ effectiveness. I very much respect the heritage of hunting that South Dakotans enjoy and value, but not being a sportsman myself, I rely on the opinions of my many long-time friends to educate me on these issues. That said, I do not have the same distrust that some have of GF&P, and I see them trying to manage our outdoor resources in a disciplined and respectful manner. In the end, the measure passed even though many sportsmen do not support it. I was in the minority vote.
The life lesson my dad shared with me when I was young still resonates today. When he saw me discouraged, Dad used to say, “Don’t worry, the sun will come up tomorrow, and it will be a new day.” Usually my discouragement came when my little league baseball team lost a game, but his advice to do the best I could, keep trying, and stay optimistic has always served me well. Thanks, Dad.