Session 1 Week 6

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The 6th week of the 90th legislative session had many interesting things occur that most of you who pay attention to the news already know about but are worth mentioning in my column this week.

Guns – Some of the representatives like to talk about guns, a lot. Others not so much, but when gun bills get out of committee and are heard on the floor everyone gets to talk about them. Now I’m a proponent of guns: in my view they’re a tool like a hammer, or chainsaw (both of which can be used to kill or harm someone). My basic philosophy on firearms, especially concealed firearms, is pretty simple and straight forward. The only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. A gun free zone is simply a false sense of security because only responsible law abiding citizens will disarm and the last time I checked harming someone with a gun not in self-defense is already illegal. So why would someone hell bent on doing harm care about a sign that says “gun free zone”? In South Dakota’s own constitution Article 6 section 24 is very clear when it comes to the possession of weapons, “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be denied”. HB 1206 would have allowed concealed carry on the public universities and it died on a 20-48 vote. On the flip side HB 1215 passed unanimously, it creates an enhanced concealed carry license. It requires fingerprinting, a $100 fee and proof of completion of a firearms training course. In return you are able to carry in states we currently don’t have reciprocity with, Minnesota and Nebraska in particular.

Shortly after the guns on campus bill died we debated HB 1123 which would’ve allowed 24/7 alcohol sales in Deadwood. During the course of debate the previous debate about guns on campus came back up in which there had been a comment made about the pervasiveness of alcohol on the campuses, it was mentioned that maybe we need to set a better example and I think that made a good point with many Legislators. That bill died 29-39.

We voted on Joint Resolution 1005 which will allow Shannon County to change its name to Oglala Lakota County. This change will cost the state roughly $300,000. In the future I think there will be a bill brought that requires the county asking for the change to pay for all associated costs before they may change the name of their county.

The technical schools may soon have a new form of Governance. HB 1118 will establish a new local board to oversee the Tech schools which would consist of 9 members would be appointed in a staggered fashion by the governor, the other board members and the local school board.

And finally Common Core. These educational standards and the subsequent curriculum and testing are perhaps the most controversial topic of this session, for myself anyway. There is a growing opposition to them from around the state judging from my email inbox, but interestingly there are not many from District 20 who seem to have an opinion on them. The bill brought before the education committee which would repeal them died in committee on an 8-7 vote. However, the next day the full House ‘smoked out’ (demanded) the Education Committee deliver that bill to the floor to be heard in full debate. By the time this is read around the District we will have already acted on the bill, either by killing it again, or passing it on to the Senate. I know an amendment will be proposed that will put the state standards, which were in place before the federal government got involved with No Child Left Behind, back into place.

This next week will be cross over which means that all the House bills need to be heard and passed on to the Senate or killed, and vice-versa the Senate bills. The first couple of days will be quite long as we hear debate on everything in order to meet the deadline.

Thanks for all the input from home.

Rep. Joshua Klumb