SCHOENFISH: A session full of successes
The 2018 legislative session was completed last week. The Legislature will meet again March 26 for Veto Day.
SB 100, on which I was the prime House sponsor, includes a provision for grant monitoring and review. SB 100, which passed unanimously in the House, requires a designated person to distribute audit reports to every school board member. For many years, the accounting firm I work for has sent a hard copy of the report for each board member. It is good to see this requirement put into statute.
School administrators and board members are responsible for understanding and addressing the important information in audit reports. SB 100 requires counties, cities and school to post audit reports on their websites and requires grant and conflict of interest information to be posted online. It has new regulations on who can be designated to determine and receive grants, and it requires certain vouchers and invoices to be retained for seven years. SB 100 was one of three bills I sponsored with Sen. Deb Peters, a fellow CPA, to improve government accountability of our tax dollars. SB 1178 and SB 126 were other important accountability measures I discussed in previous weeks' columns.
HB 1045 increases funding for education in the current year by over $5 million. The money comes from the state's budget reserve fund. I voted yes to support education; it passed, 59-6.
SB 91 starts the process for constructing a veterans' cemetery in Sioux Falls. This issue is important to our veterans and it is something that needs to be done. SB 91 passed unanimously.
HB 1320 sets the budget for the state's fiscal year, which starts in July of this year and ends June 30 of next year. Misleading information is often spread about the budget process; the truth is that the budget is worked on all session and legislators and the public stay informed on it throughout. Legislators who do their jobs and pay attention are able to make an informed decision when it comes time to vote on it. The budget increased funding for education, state employee salaries and health insurance, and Medicaid providers, including nursing homes and community support providers. I voted yes on the budget to support education, state employees, health care providers, veterans and law enforcement. The budget passed, 49-17.
I can be contacted by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 605-660-6468.