Republicans in South Dakota Legislative Committee Kill Child Protection Effort
Understanding the thinking of individual South Dakota legislators and the entire body when it comes to important issues such as children who have been sexually abused, is difficult. Sometimes it is easy to wonder if any thinking is actually happening.
SB 71 continues the work of the Jolene's Law Task Force, created in 2014 to study and recommend changes in law and procedures to deal with the issues regarding sexually abused children for another year with $21,000. It passed the Senate without opposition.
I listened to a recording of the testimony of Wednesday's House State Affairs Committee.
They voted to kill SB 71. Ten ayes. Two nays. One absent.
The motion to kill the bill was made by Representative Solum of Watertown and seconded by Don Haggar of Sioux Falls.
Solum's motion to kill the bill had nothing to do with the work of the task force. His concern was articulated around the nuances of "summer studies" vs "task forces." Frankly, it sounded lame and contrived.
Republicans, Don Haggar, Jim Bolin, Kris Langer, Steve Westra, of the Sioux Falls area, along with Roger Solum from Watertown, Scott Munsterman from Brookings, Mike Stevens from Yankton, Brian Gosch, Dean Wink, and Mike Verchio, all from West River voted to kill the bill.
Democrats Jule Bartling from Gregory, and Spencer Hawley from Brookings, were in the minority. Mark Mickelson from Sioux Falls was absent.
A companion bill SB 70, created as a result of the work of the task force was passed without opposition.
There were several proponents of both SB 70 and 71. There were no opponents.
Yet the vote to continue the task force work in SB 71 was no.
There was NO discussion on the motion to kill the bill. The silence was deafening.
The membership of the State Affairs Committee is made up of the leadership in the Republican Party. You could easily conclude killing this bill was directed by those people for a partisan reason.
They ought to be ashamed of themselves. There should be a strong effort made to "smoke out" SB 71 so the full House can vote on it.
Ironically the Legislature is moving with speed and enthusiasm to create a task force to deal with abuse of the elderly.
I hope you remember the names at election time of the legislators who voted to kill this important work