Session 1 Week 2

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The second week of the 90th Legislative Session started to gain steam as committees began hearing s bills and we cast our first votes on the House floor. In Education we heard from the Board of Regents as they outlined the Regental system and their priorities for higher education. On a note of Ag interest, SDSU is working on a partnership with Minnesota and Iowa to place up to 15 of South Dakota students in Veterinary Sciences courses. We also heard the Technical schools outline their need for increased per student allocation funding.

In Ag committee we heard from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and their ongoing mission to protect public health and the environment while maintaining a business-friendly climate. It should be noted that DENR is not asking for a budgetary increase this year which I appreciate.  We heard from the Department of Agriculture and they gave us the year in review of the state’s number one industry and provided us with some interesting statistics on South Dakota and our place in the nation. 43 million acres of land in South Dakota are farmed, we rank number one in the nation for production of buffalo, oats, and sunflowers. There are 270,000 head of sheep, 3,650,000 head of cattle, and 3,722,000 head of pigs. The department is also actively working to stop the spread of the Mountain pine beetle in the Black Hills; they showed a picture of the boundary between Custer state Park and the Federal Black Elk Wilderness. The State has actively worked on a buffer zone around the federal wilderness area because of the ban on any human interaction, the trees are overgrown, the beetle infested area is rapidly expanding and the whole place is becoming a tinder box that soon nature will remedy. The buffer zone will help slow the spread of the beetle to the rest of the Black Hills and help if a fire breaks out in the Wilderness area.

On the House floor we have only had a couple of votes, mostly agency red tape repeal bills. We did approve the use of bullheads to be used as bait here in South Dakota.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the State Legislature.

Rep. Joshua Klumb