Legislative Report – Rep. Cronin
Happy New Year to you all! It is once again my great pleasure to serve District 23 as your State Representative for this my third term. I was also again elected to serve as the Assistant Majority Leader in the House of Representatives again and look forward to working with my two very accomplished and hardworking district mates Senator Corey Brown and Representative Charlie Hoffman. We have a great team in district 23 and hope to prove once again that you all made the right choice.
District 23 had three major changes to its makeup over the last election. Hyde Co. is no longer in the makeup. Hand, eastern McPherson and two of the southwest townships of Spink are now included in District 23. Hope to see many of you during session!
The eighty-eighth Legislative session is up and running as of Tuesday, January 8th, 2013, consisting of four sessions and running through Friday, January 11th. Governor Dennis Daugaard gave his State of the State address on Tuesday the 8th , in which he expressed his gratitude for all of last the years progress as well as encouraging efforts of continuing state growth through education. He was followed by Chief Justice David Gilbertson’s State of the Judiciary Message Wednesday, January 9th. Chief Justice Gilbertson addressed the issues for “abused children’s, people addicted to drugs and alcohol, and veterans who have fallen on hard times.” The third and fourth session days, January 10th and 11th, covered proposed House Bills under consideration.
The State of the State address Tuesday, January 8th consisted of Governor Daugaard applauding previous “tough budget decision[s]” that were made last year, proposing this year’s WINS agenda, and to encourage investing in teaching. Governor Daugaard’s current agenda is for the South Dakota Workforce Initiatives (WINS), to help “get more South Dakotans trained and ready to work.” The WINS effort consists of a 20-point plan split into 4 categories: Preparing our children, Training for skilled jobs, Promoting Rural Health Occupations, and New South Dakotans. Daugaard suggests that by implementing more opportunities for scientists and engineers more jobs will be created and filled. As for Governor Daugaard’s call for investment in teaching, the word investment will not be coined strictly to a monetary increase. He expressed that throwing more money into the system has not shown better achievements and that we must instead invest in keeping and hiring effective teachers. Investing in teachers will be conducted by implementing a teachers training program, dropping No Child Left Behind, and having a better teacher evaluation system. However, although Daugaard does not think a budget increase will help achievements, by 2014 the state may see a 3% increase for K-12 education. Daugaard also suggested that future teacher’s tenure change, therefore “ending availability of tenure, effective July 1 of this year”.
The State of the Judiciary Message, given by Chief Justice David Gilbertson Wednesday, January 9th, covered the expansion of substance abuse courts, veterans and the need for more programs, and a three-point plan aimed at keeping attorneys in rural areas. Chief Justice Gilbertson’s personal experience has led him to conclude that the state of South Dakota needs to take action in implementing more rehabilitation centers. Patterns of repeat offenders, he believes, are due to the fact that those incarcerated have historically only been given one of two options: either return to incarceration or be put out on probation. Gilbertson had called for a third option, drug courts, and continues to encourage their growth and implementation of Alcohol courts as well. Current drug courts have shown signs of success as forty-one people have graduated from the programs with only seven relapsing. Therefore, the courts allow for an 81% success rate. Veterans were also a key issue in the speech as Gilbertson wanted to implement programs for veterans to try and help them cope with changes in their lives instead of prosecuting them in times of hardships. Gilbertson also asked that the state works on increasing the access to attorneys in rural areas by providing resources, developing incentives, and creating a website.
Sessions slowed down on the 10th and 11th with house cleanup which consisted of the motion to roll over the House rules of the eighty-seventh legislative session into the eighty-eighth session. This motion was carried and affirmed January 10th, 2013. This week’s House Bills 1036 and 1063 were passed and the committee of State Affairs is still taking into consideration House Bill 1012 after proposed amendments. The Committee on Judiciary is also taking into consideration House Bills 1008 and 1009. Both committees recommend that all bills do pass after listed amendments for HB 1012 are made. The last day of session was a short one, beginning at 12:30 Friday January 11th and ending at 12:42.
As always your input and concerns are appreciated. I can be contacted by phone @ 605-769-1017 (please leave a message if you do not get me). I can also be contacted by email at either my personal justinRcronin@gmail.com or my state Rep.Cronin@state.sd.us . Traditional mail may be sent to PO Box 42 Gettysburg SD 57442.