Mills: Grinding it out in Pierre


Legislative report

We finished week four, and boy can I feel it! Twelve-hour days in suit and tie, combined with limited sleep, take their toll. The mood on the House floor this week reflected the stress. It was quite a rollercoaster. Here are a few bills that made it through:  

HB1083 – would rename our technical institutes as technical “colleges.” Proponents say this will aid in marketing our tech schools. The numbers say that our tech schools are growing without a name change. At the same time our university enrollment is declining. I voted against this one because renaming the tech schools isn’t needed to help them grow and could hurt university enrollment. We need both to succeed so South Dakota kids have high quality in-state post high school options. 

HB1081 – would allow postsecondary schools to brew or ferment beer and wine on campus as part of a class for students 21 and older. The bill includes controls to lessen the likelihood of abuse, but I voted against it. 

HB1084 – would increase the maximum height for hauling baled hay or feed to 15’-0”. Modern equipment makes bigger bales which makes many loads exceed the current 14’-3” maximum height. After checking our bridge clearances, the Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation agreed this change would be OK. This one passed by a rare unanimous vote.

HB1096 – would prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts and provide a penalty for facilitating a commercial surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy would be allowed. This was a long, tough, emotional debate. Unfortunately, there isn’t space here to adequately explain it. The bill passed with an amendment to include a legislative summer study.

HB1056 – would allow in-room video monitoring of residents (with family permission) in assisted living centers and nursing homes. This was another long debate. This sounded like “big brother” to me, so I voted against it. When I’m not sure about something, “Nay” is the safe vote.

At sdlegislature.gov you can learn more about any bill, listen to committee testimony or find your legislators and their contact information. All of the bills mentioned above head next to the Senate, so I encourage you to contact your Senator on any that are important to you.  

In service to God and you,

John Mills, Representative, District 4 

[email protected] 

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