DEADWOOD – District 31 lawmakers invested heavily in a 50-minute block of time Saturday morning at Deadwood Mountain Grand.
Moderated by Deadwood Mayor David Ruth Jr. and sponsored by the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Senator Tim Jones, Lead Leader, Representative of Mary Fitzgerald R-St. Onge and MP Scott Odenbach put up question cards taken from the hall of about 100 participants, taking into account current topics such as education, medical marijuana, housing and other issues.
Following the introductory remarks of each of the legislators, several issues related to education, the most relevant topic of the day, were considered.
Every legislator was asked to comment on the question: could you consider why you voted for the House of Representatives bill 1012 and HB 1337, when these issues can be addressed at the local school board level by local elected officials?
HB 1012 seeks to protect students and staff from higher education institutions from divisive concepts.
HB 1337 seeks to protect primary and middle school students from political indoctrination.
“I agree with the bills. I personally did not see anything wrong with them, ”Fitzgerald said. “I by no means feel they are wrong.”
“Both of these bills were submitted through the Education Committee, and we have significantly considered them,” Odenbach said. “I think they’ve both been somewhat substantially amended by the Education Committee.”
Audenbach went on to say that there was considerable controversy surrounding HB 1337, and spoke of the term “separating concept”.
“I’ve always kind of liked separating concepts most of my life,” he said. “I think the essence of America is to be able to discuss, discuss, understand the concepts that share, so if I thought the bill really had to say,‘ Hey, there are things we just can’t talk about. to speak, ”I would not be for that. But you have to go beyond just that term, and if you look at the bill, it defines what is a concept that divides, and it says that for the purposes of this act it is aimed at what we say, hey, we don’t I want teachers, people who are leaders of our children in schools – our children listen and look at their teachers. And it defines. … Things that essentially say we’re going to put people in a box … so I didn’t want to be against it. I think it’s reasonable, and it’s probably something we need when we’re trying to find the right balance. ”
Jones said the two bills had not yet reached the Senate and had not passed the hearing process.
“In general, I would agree with the basic concepts. Sometimes the devil is in the details and I want to see the details, ”Jones said. “We need to teach our students history. Good, bad and ugly. And sometimes things that happen historically aren’t so good. They have a bad effect on us. Battle of the Wounded Knee. This is not something we are proud of. But I think kids need to know about it, so I don’t want to sanitize the story. ”
Jones received a standing ovation for his comments.
The question, addressed to representatives of Fitzgerald and Odenbach, asked: “In December, Governor Christie Noem introduced a 6% increase in public aid to public schools in the 2022-2023 school year to allocate more than $ 40 million of new money to public education, making it the largest growth from ’16 -’17, how do you feel about this increase? ”
Fitzgerald said she believes education is important.
“I think local school districts should run their school districts. Any extra money we can give them to help teach our children is a good idea, ”Fitzgerald said.
Adenbach said overall inflation is around 8%.
“The usual increase, as you know, is 2%, 3% or anything that was thought not to reduce it this year, so the supply was 6 (%),” – said Odenbach. “And I will support it. I was the chairman of the Teacher Wage Assessment Board, which met several times over the summer, and we discussed a number of different factors that affect what teachers are paid. I think it’s important to remember that this 6% is accounted for by education. So it won’t just be about paying teachers. He will go to school districts to pay for everything that goes to education. “
Jones said South Dakota is the last in the country for what teachers are paid for.
“This is a problem. Trying to attract and retain good teachers, ”he said. “The problem we have in Lawrence County, and especially in Lead-Deadwood School District, is that the money coming from the state is based on – on your number of students, so you get a grant for every student – but we don’t get this distribution is due to our high tax base. So now the school district of Lead-Deadwood is looking for a waiver. We have a problem we need to sort out. And we need to be treated better here at the local level. “
Jones said there is talk that the school district is receiving play funds.
“Well, that’s true, but it takes away from what they get for student appropriations,” he said. “The state gives with one hand, takes away with the other. Some of them are really exciting, and maybe one of these days we’ll figure it out. We really need to keep our teachers… at some point we need to figure out how we’re going to fund education, and maybe that won’t fit the current method by which we do it. ”
The second most relevant topic was medical marijuana and cannabis in general, where lawmakers were asked to weigh the issue: “Did Pierre discuss how to combat looting when one person goes to multiple dispensaries and buys within each legal limit accommodation. This is happening in states like Colorado, and is leading to medical marijuana being sold on the black market to children. ”
Fitzgerald said the state is going to conduct tracking from seed to sale, and they will have an electronic system similar to the means by which recipes are tracked.
“We are also fighting for law enforcement to have access to it, and then doctors also have access to it so they can see how many certifications – because doctors will write not a prescription but a certification – about how many certificates in man. So it will be tracked just like a medical prescription that you get anywhere in any pharmacy in South Dakota. ”
With regard to Housing and the 53rd Senate Bill, lawmakers were asked to detail the $ 200 million in housing development assistance for workers and how developers access these funds.
Odenbach said the last revision of the bill he saw was $ 150 million, with $ 100 million being federal funds from the U.S. Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $ 50 million from the state’s general fund.
“Originally it was planned to be called housing for the workforce or low-income housing … but now the proposal, as it really is, is just a way to provide grants, in some cases, or low-interest loans in other cases for developers introduce infrastructure to essentially engage the pump for greater growth and build more housing with the supposed goal of reducing the cost of all or all housing because we are going to increase the ability to build more housing, ”Odenbach said, adding that as currently considered bill, the money will be available to developers through the Office of Housing in the Office of Economic Development of the Governor.
“Developers will work either directly with program administrators in Pierre, or, often, with their bankers.”
Odenbach said the problem he has with the bill is that the state is almost cooperating with private bankers to make them agents of these state housing programs.
“What about all the people who have already built a house and invested in a house and are hoping for the growth and value of that house, and now they are essentially competing with the government to do that,” Odenbach said. “You also have problems with inflation, you have problems finding enough workers, materials and supplies. So it’s not going to be just a magic fix, because we’re throwing $ 200 million at it, at a problem that was identified as a problem … overall, I’m not daring to involve the government in the housing market. “
Jones said he did not like the government being involved in anything other than education, roads and public safety.
“But maybe this is an area where we need to be more or less involved, because I don’t think middle-income people can afford a new home or a used home, and now it’s crazy. I’ve been watching the Spearfish market, and some of these facilities have gone up by $ 100,000 since the first year, so yes, the market is there, ”Jones said.“ I’m not worried about compensating these people who bought property before. gratitude, and if they wanted to sell today, they would make all sorts of money on their property. They don’t need to be compensated anymore. “
An additional cracker is planned to be delivered before the end of the legislative session at Deadwood Mountain Grand.
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