Editor's note: As part of the coverage of the 2013 legislative session, the American News will provide, on most days, a list of 10 pieces of information helpful to understanding what is — and sometimes isn’t — happening at the state Capitol during the session’s three-month run.
Q. Why is there an attempt to create a special tax category for leased residential property?
A. The House Taxation Committee agreed 9-4 this is a necessary first step toward possibly establishing a separate general-education levy someday that would fall between commercial and owner-occupied levies. For now, House Bill 1143 creates the new category but keeps the levy the same as other commercial property. The full House of Representatives considers the matter today. At this time, said lobbyist Dean Krogman, representing the Multi-Housing Association of South Dakota, “There is no levy shift.”
Q. What’s behind this?
A. This idea from Rep. Hal Wick, R-Sioux Falls, is one of several he’s attempted on behalf of Krogman and the multi-housing members this year. The special category wouldn’t apply to rental housing if it is leased by transients for less than 29 consecutive days. Wick said he wants to get a better idea of the taxable value of rental properties so that discussions can follow about tax changes that might spur more investment and construction in the rental sector. He said more rental housing is needed in communities for workers as those communities work on economic development projects.
Q. How much are the current levies for general education?
A. Agriculture property is $2.322 per $1,000 of taxable value. Owner-occupied is $4.029. Commercial is $8.628. Senate Bill 28, which the Senate will consider today would reduce the ag levy to $2.082 while raising owner-occupied to $4.279 and commercial to $9.163.
Q. Did the hunting-trespass bill pass the Senate?
A. Only Democrat Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge voted against Senate Bill 183 Tuesday. It would increase the penalty from the current one year suspension of hunting privileges to two years and would better define the act of trespassing while hunting. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, said he wished the bill wasn’t necessary. The 32-1 vote sends the measure next to the House, where one of his district-mates, Rep. Justin Cronin, R-Gettysbillurg, is the prime sponsor.
Q. What is happening with the state’s drainage task force?
A. If House Speaker Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City, succeeds it will be scrapped. Gosch used a series of parliamentary maneuvers in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday to turn a bill dealing with elections, House Bill 1235, into a bill that now would repeal the task force. He managed to find two common words in the title of the original bill — “public” and “resources” — that he could use in the title of the hog-housed bill.
Q. What is the response?
A. Now some of the committee members claim they didn’t understand what was happening when they voted 11-0 to support Gosch. The bill goes to the full House this afternoon. The 14-member regional watershed advisory task force was established by the Legislature last year. Earlier this session, lawmakers were bombarded with emails, phone calls and personal visits from agriculture producers and ag service providers opposed to legislation that would create a standard drainage permit for county governments to use. That bill, Senate Bill 179, sponsored by Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, was set aside.
Q. Will people get more days to discharge fireworks legally?
A. House members voted 59-1 Tuesday to approve House Bill 1194 from Rep. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls. Currently, fireworks can be sold and discharged from June 27 through July 5. Stalzer’s bill would allow the fireworks to be used legally through the Sunday after July 4. That means there could be up to seven days more if the holiday fell on a Sunday. The bill doesn’t change the other period that runs Dec. 28 through Jan. 1, and it doesn’t affect the legal-sales period. The bill goes to the Senate next.
Q. Why did they call Tuesday “dollar day” in the Senate Appropriations Committee?
A. The committee deleted the amounts requested in many bills and inserted $1 instead, so the bills can keep moving through the process until lawmakers settle on their revenue estimates for the coming budget year.
Q. What were some of the bills that got the “special buck” treatment?
A. There were the special agricultural roads fund (Senate Bill 155); the extra research funding for the Agricultural Experiment Station (Senate Bill 176); money for the state Railroad Board’s loan fund (Senate Bill 208); a new program to recruit rural attorneys (Senate Bill 218); extra money to career and technical education programs in high schools (Senate Bill 229); critical needs teaching scholarships (Senate Bill 233); and expansion of cyber security and information system programs at Dakota State University (236). The House Appropriations Committee put $1 in the proposed program to give computers to families to help at home with preschool training (House Bill 1183) and trimmed significantly the funding for the new Custer State Park visitor center to $1 from $1.5 million that was requested (House Bill 1184).
Q. What didn’t survive the $1 test?
A. In the Senate committee, some of the bills killed outright were the Medicaid expansion for pregnant women (Senate Bill 140) and the Teach For America program (Senate Bill 188).