Happy President’s Day Weekend!
It’s great to have a little break from Pierre and to enjoy some family time over a long weekend. My family is one of the main reasons why I chose to run for the legislature, and regardless of how tough it gets during session I am committed to working hard for families in District 14. There’s lots to talk about from the last week, so let’s dig in.
The big topic in House Judiciary this week was guns. We heard HB1227, which was an attempt to create red flag laws in South Dakota. I’ve been committed to protecting our second amendment rights throughout my campaign, and that is a position that will never change. I believe that red flag laws can be a very slippery slope when it comes to due process, gun rights, and actually achieving the desired outcome of getting timely help to those in crisis.
Another bill, HB1213, was branded as increasing penalties and felonies to gun owners for unsafe keeping or for giving, loaning, or selling a gun to a minor and then a crime being committed. The committee was left with more questions than answers and was reminded that we already have similar, better laws on the books that address these issues. As a gun owner, I know the responsibility of keeping my firearms out of the hands of young children and criminals starts with me. Both bills were overwhelmingly defeated.
This week we did pass SB98, which makes it easier to renew an enhanced concealed permit. The bill allows for a more efficient process while keeping safety protocols in place. I voted in favor of SB98 in committee and on the floor, where it passed with minimal opposition.
As we continue working on the budget for the next fiscal year, the appropriations committee held their “revenue setting” meeting this past week where they looked at what kind of economic growth and tax revenue we can expect in the future. The committee set a revenue projection of $2.38 Billion. There are two major themes that can be acknowledged from that number. First, our economy in South Dakota continues to be strong, and we’ve seen impressive growth over the last couple of years. Second, this number shows a more conservative projection for next year’s growth, which brings into account some of the changing economic conditions we are seeing across the country. With this number now set, the legislature can accomplish our biggest goal of the year, to make sound spending decisions, and to continue our 134-year tradition of a balanced budget in South Dakota.
On Wednesday, I sat down with South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s “In The Moment” program to talk about education, abortion, and a few of my legislative priorities this year. The SDPB team does great work covering the legislature every year and I was glad to be able to have a conversation with them. If you want to check out the interview, click on the image below.
Looking ahead to next week, there are a couple of things that you can expect to see. We are going to be having “crossover day”, which means that all bills need to be out of their chamber of origin by the end of session on Wednesday. With all of these House bills being addressed next week, be sure to reach out with any questions that you may have. I welcome any questions, feedback, and advice. Have a great long weekend!