The 2016 Legislative Session
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
The main run of the 2016 Legislative Session has just concluded.
In nine intense weeks, state legislators have grappled with some of the most important issues facing South Dakota – everything from education, to hunting, to public safety, to transportation, to health care. Many of the actions taken this year will have an impact for years and decades to come.
I am particularly proud that the state Legislature continues to uphold our state’s longtime commitment to balanced budgets and fiscal discipline. Our state constitution mandates a balanced budget, and we achieve that goal without accounting gimmicks, without spending one-time money on ongoing expenses, and without unreasonably optimistic projections of revenues or expenses.
Our state has an open legislative process, in which every bill receives an open, public hearing at which anyone can offer comment. In a very short session, the Legislature handles hundreds of bills. Decisions are rarely based on partisanship or political posturing – they are based on honest exchanges of information and argument.
South Dakota can be proud of our state Legislature and of our legislative process. Our state legislators are truly “servant leaders.” They serve on a part-time basis, with low pay and very little staff. They leave their homes, farms, and businesses to come to Pierre to represent their friends and neighbors.
As the session ends, legislators will be leaving Pierre and returning to their communities. During session, they often hear from those who have criticisms or requests. I hope that, if you see a legislator in the coming weeks, you will join me in saying “thank you” for their service to South Dakota.