Coming up in the 2016 session: Student Privacy Act, Education, Medicaid Expansion, and the first Legislative budget.

I was at a Republican meeting today getting a preview of bills we can expect this next session, and it seems that this next session is going to be anything but mundane.

Everyone in attendance agreed that education and medicaid expansion are going to be the highest priority and overreaching topics of the next session. And some thought that given the funding challenges, the two were literally going to be connected at the hip, given the savings opportunities afforded if the federal government agrees to the state’s proposed plan for the feds to pick up Native Americans receiving off-IHS services which had been funded by Medicaid.

The impression given was that the intent of the legislature is to look strongly at finding money within the system before any new taxes are discussed. Otherwise known as “looking in the couch before we pass any tax increases.”  There was also discussion over the basic philosophy of the medicaid expansion, which goes back to the Governor’s thoughts on it some time back – should we be providing entitlements to able-bodied adults who are perfectly capable of going and getting jobs to pay for it themselves?

Since these are the two big ticket items in next years’ proposed session, I’d expect we’re going to hear much more about them in the remaining weeks before the legislative session.

State Representative Fred Deutsch was there and spoke about a couple of bills he would be bringing – first and foremost being the Student Privacy Act. The “SPA” is designed to disallow the opposite sex – according to biology – to be in any state of undress amongst each other, such as in locker rooms and bathrooms.  He indicated the bill is designed to protect and shield school districts by setting the guidelines forth in state law.

What came as the biggest surprise to me was being informed that for the first time, the group was informed that the South Dakota Legislature intends to being it’s own budget to the table as part of budget discussions, in addition to, and as opposed to simply reworking the Governor’s Budget.

That’s right – for the first year, the Legislative Research Council apparently has a computer program to allow the legislative branch to develop it’s own budget, and it was noted that part of the process is intended to reconcile the legislative budget and the Governor’s budget.  It’s a small step, and will be the first time they’re trying it, but in the big scheme of things, it’s huge in terms of legislative independence.  Stay tuned on that one.

Lots more to come as we move past turkey day next week, and tick down until the legislative session.

And if there are legislators out there who want to give a preview of what they’ve got coming up, drop me a note here.

20 thoughts on “Coming up in the 2016 session: Student Privacy Act, Education, Medicaid Expansion, and the first Legislative budget.”

  1. Headline should have been:

    Republican Legislators Plan Big Spending, More Taxes and More Welfare

    Byline: Democrats Applaud Republicans

  2. I’m fairly sure 99.99% of South Dakotans feel the first thing this session that should be done is a transparency bill with real teeth and anti-corruption laws for starters.

    1. Bwahahahahahaha! RINO Daugaard has a legislature full of bucket carrying cronies who have raised taxes, increased spending, and increased government every year he’s been in office (except for 2011 when they had to cut Rounds’ huge deficit).

      The RINOs will team up with their kissing cousins the liberal Democrats again this year and they will raise more taxes and increase spending again.

  3. Is there any chance that the feds will pick up the INH spending? If not, I say no expansion to Medicaid.

    I wholeheartedly support the Student Privacy Act. But it’s too bad that it is even needed.

  4. A few additional comments about Student Privacy Act.

    Schools treatment of transgender students as it relates to the use of restrooms, locker and shower rooms has become a hotly debated issue throughout the country.

    In April 2014 the Obama administration re-interpreted long-standing Title IX provisions to include “claims of discrimination based on gender identity.” The interpretation opened a Pandora’s Box for local school districts.

    If left unchallenged, this means schools will be required to allow students with male anatomy access to shower with girls, and vice-versa.

    As an example of the issue, the Obama administration’s Department of Education Office of Civil Rights recently ruled that a school district in Palatine, Illinois must give a transgender student who was born a male and still has male private parts, unrestricted access to the girls’ facilities or lose millions in federal funding.

    The bill I will introduce will require every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public school designated for student use and accessible by multiple students at the same time to be designated for and used only by male students or by female students. Further, the bill requires that if any student asserts that the student’s gender is different from the student’s biological sex, the student must be provided with the best available accommodation, but prohibits the accommodation to include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex.

    Interestingly, in one of the first published federal court rulings on this issue, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed a transgender student’s claim under Title IX seeking access to the school restroom of his identified gender.

    The District Court concluded that the Title IX claim was precluded by the Department of Education’s own regulations. The court noted that Title IX prohibits sex discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance (20 U.S.C § 1681) but noted this prohibition is not without exceptions. Among the exceptions listed in Title IX is a provision stating that:

    “A recipient may provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex, but such facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex.” 34 C.F.R. § 106.33.

    The court concluded that this regulation expressly allows schools to provide separate restroom facilities based upon sex, so long as the restrooms are ‘comparable.’ The District Court also concluded the federal Department of Education’s interpretation should not be given controlling weight, because “§106.33 is not ambiguous.” It clearly allowed the School Board to limit restroom access “on the basis of sex” including birth or biological sex. Furthermore, the Department of Education’s interpretation of §106.33 was plainly erroneous and inconsistent with the regulations.

    If our legislature passes the Student Protection Act, schools will be required to follow state law. The law will not only protect our children, but will also protect our schools from the feds.

    1. Fred,

      Why not have these transgender kids use a 3rd room and shower? I remember the extra coaches offices had their own showers. Those transgender kids feel bad enough about their own bodies and probably don’t want others to see them anyways. Why make this more difficult than it really needs to be for everyone?

      Wouldn’t the school teachers and admin have a better feel of what that situation requires and do what they can along with parents and mental health professionals to keep this as the least threatening as possible for all parents and students?

      1. !00% agree. The bill will require students be provided with the best available accommodation. That may include a third room with shower, unisex room, or any other measure except what’s specified above. I agree these situations are typically very sensitive, and the mental of emotional health of the student should “always” be given heavy consideration, but not include putting the student in a shower room full of people of the opposite biologic sex.

        1. Fred.

          So, this is it? Of all the problems facing us, this is “first and foremost”. If this is the most pressing issue that you can come up with, maybe its time for some introspection.

          Are our high school administrators incapable of handling this issue should it arise? Is this really a major problem in South Dakota?

          Sorry, but it looks like grandstanding to me.

          1. –Are our high school administrators incapable of handling this issue should it arise?


            –Is this really a major problem in South Dakota?

            If one analyzes media attention, apparently is is a major issue.

    2. Fred,

      It looks like an extreme interpretation of what the federal government requires which can really cause some problems for everyone involved. I’m anon 3:32pm.

  5. So, if our Republican governor will be working in 2016 to “expand Medicare” which is doublethink or code for strengthening Obamacare’s presence in South Dakota. Will our Republican delegation in Washington continue in 2016 with their rhetoric in opposition to Obamacare and will they continue to support and vote for Obamacare’s repeal in 2016?…. I was just wondering…??? … (Will the real Republican party please stand-up!) …. Or better yet, did the South Dakota Republican Party and its leaders in particular finally decide that Romneycare, I am sorry, I mean Obamacare, was not that bad after all?

  6. I find it amazing that we are having an adult conversation about immature young brains full of mush too unimportant to vote, smoke, die or drink decide that they were born with the wrong set of sex parts before their 18th birthday. And even more amazing are adults believing it to be true.

    1. Agreed.

      The obsession with sex and sexualization of our children by liberal activists and their sickopants in educashun and the media is simply perverted.

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