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Report from Pierre

Report from Pierre

By Shawn Bordeaux


Hau mitakuyepi na mitakolapi, iyuha cante wasteya nape ciuzapelo.  Hello friends and neighbors, I extend my hand to you with good feelings as I report on the 97th legislative session.  By the time you are reading this, we will only have about three weeks left in the session this year.  It comes and goes pretty quickly and those bills left have had the support of legislators or committees and still have a chance of becoming law.


I hit them with everything but the kitchen sink sponsoring 28 bills and one resolution.  I had a couple more in the hopper for a sacred site bill and a water commission as well as resolutions on Canton, Redfield, Yankton, Sioux San and Boarding Schools.  But they will have to wait.  Only one has passed out of the House chamber, the beaded cap bill.  It is up in the Senate Education committee.  House Bill 1185 an act to permit the wearing of a beaded graduation cap at a school honoring or graduation ceremony.  The question about design is one that the administrators would have discretionary authority to determine if something is inappropriate.


The other bill I have is in House Education this week.  It is HB1190, the paraprofessional teacher program the previous Governor supported back in 2018 that ran out of money.  It was a successful three-year program that helped people get their teacher certification.  I am hopeful we can fund it again this year with all our federal money we have in the coffers.


HR7001 was the resolution that Senator Heinert brought in the past to the SD Senate floor.  It passed 35-0 on the Senate floor back then, but it was only a Senate Resolution.  I thought it was important to get the House members on record for how they feel about the inquiry into returning 20 Medals of Honor that were awarded to members of the 7th Calvary, if not returning all of them.  I was not surprised that this was defeated.  However, it got the support of the Democrats and one other veteran to support it.  It died 10-3.  I do appreciate that bit of support, even though it is far from the unanimous support the Senator was able to get.


Another one of my bills that came up last week was the Indian Relay race bill, HB1193, to appropriate $500k for the races to take place here in South Dakota.  The State Tribal Relations committee approved giving the group $120k last term.  It had a lot of support in the committee with requests for me to talk to SD Tourism and bring it back in the future.  I think this is a great sport and we need to consider expanding it as best as we can.


House Bill 1281 is an attempt to bring the state, the tribes and NASA together at Sinte Gleska University.  SGU has been working to bring this opportunity to research 3D print housing while exploring possibilities of creating a space station on the Mission to Mars.  Yankton, Oglala and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes are working together with the university to make this housing, research and workforce development effort come to fruition.  This bill would fund the matching portion of the grant for about $300k.  Rep. Blare from Winner is the prime sponsor.  We hope this is funded by the state and serves as an example of working collaboratively.


Senate Bill 139 is a bill to create and fund the operation of the Oceti Sakowin Charter School legislation, which would allow two schools to be funded this year in the state.  It passed through the Senate and now goes to House Education and Appropriations committee before it comes on the House floor, where I hope to speak in support of it as an educator.


By now I am down to my last few weeks of being in the House of Representatives.  If you want to show interest in the activities of state government, make efforts to register and vote in the upcoming elections.  A newly hired GOP director said he intends to get rid of all of the remaining eleven Democrats in state government.  I need your help to make sure that our voice is heard in Pierre and across the state.


I would like to encourage district members to go to SDLRC on your computer to find information about bills and hearings that are taking place this session.  I thank all of you for your time and attention.


(Contact me if you need my assistance at my office number 605-856-8241 or email me at the Shawn.Bordeaux@sdlegislature.gov)

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