2018 Capitol-ism January 12

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South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter

January 12, 2018

Governor Daugaard Seeks Multi-State Licensure Compact

The list of occupations that require some kind of license or certificate granted by the state government is ponderous.  And, if you happen to work in one of those professions or earn a living as a licensed skilled craftsman and you move to another state, you can’t work until you get the license from your new state.

The fact that license requirements are often very different from state to state makes the move even more complicated and the world ends up with well-qualified workers being sidelined and not able to work at jobs that often have severe shortages in available skilled workers

Governor Daugaard is asking a straight forward question – Why can’t professional people and skilled craftspeople that are licensed or certified in one state keep working while they get that same license in a new state? 

Governor Daugaard’s idea is to create an 18 month long period where licensed or certified professionals and craftspeople can work in a new state under the license granted by the state they departed.  During this time, they will be tax-paying productive members of their new community and will be working on getting the license or certification in their new state.

The idea is receiving a critical review from some professions and will undergo a thorough analysis in the next few weeks.  Among the issues being raised are questions about whether other state’s requirements really protect the public as well as ours do - even though it seems unlikely that Wyoming or North Dakota are allowing incompetent plumbers to wreak havoc on the people of their state.

Other Concerns Key among concerns that have been presented to the Governor’s team is the possibility that some professionals may take advantage of the 18 month window to do a significant job in a neighboring state without ever intending to actually relocate to the second state.  For example, an architect could step to the state next door to design a world class Tiddlywinks Arena, complete the job within the 18 months and never actually relocate to the new state.  The bill as drafted has no residency requirement.  

Another concern about the multi-state compact is that it might allow someone whose license was about to expire in their home state to de-facto extend that license for 18 month by moving.

This multi-state compact concept might apply to professionals such as doctors and dentists and also include some completely obscure skills such as door repair contractors and euthanasia technicians (a profession with virtually no repeat customers).  Click here for the list of nearly 150 professions that are licensed, certified or permitted in at least one of the 5 states that are initially being evaluated as potential members of the compact.

It is early in the process and the Governor undoubtedly will be making adjustments to accommodate these and other concerns.  Capitol-Ism is thankful to the Governor for seeking innovative ways to address South Dakota’s workforce shortage (assuming more skilled workers come to South Dakota than those who head out).  

Two Measures Qualify for the November Ballot – Legislature to Review Initiative Process

The Secretary of State’s office is the middle of reviewing signatures turned in by people hoping to put proposed new laws on the ballot this fall.  Twenty proposals were approved for gathering signatures last spring; eight measures turned in signatures on November 6th of last year.  Two of the proposals have had their signatures reviewed and have been declared to have enough signatures to be voted on in November.  These initiatives are:

Amendment W

An initiated amendment to the South Dakota Constitution changing campaign finance and lobbying laws, creating a government accountability board, and changing certain initiative and referendum provisions  - This is similar to IM-22 that was on the ballot in 2016 and approved by the voters.  The measure was challenged in circuit court where constitutional issues were affirmed as part of a judge’s suspending the measure from taking effect.  The legislature subsequently repealed IM-22 but put many of its provisions into law last year.  The group from Delaware that promoted IM-22 and funded the campaign, decided to place many of its provisions on the ballot again, this time as a constitutional amendment. 

IM 24

Prohibiting contributions to ballot question committees by non-residents, out-of-state political committees, and entities that are not filed with the Secretary of State. – Authored by Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson, this measure would require organizations to have been registered with the Secretary of State for the past four years in order to be allowed to contribute to ballot measures.

There are six measures that await signature review including:

  • $1 increase in tobacco tax – part of the funds dedicated to reducing tuition at the state’s technical institutions with the balance of the money to be placed into the general fund
  • Establishing open primary elections for statewide candidates
  • Creating a commission to provide legislative redistricting required after each census   Redistricting is currently done by the legislature itself
  • Allowing certain elections to be done through a voting-by-mail process
  • Establishing a cap on the price a state agency may pay for prescription drugs
  • Legalizing marijuana for medical use (this measure turned in 15,000 signatures and is unlikely to qualify for the ballot)
Waiting to know which of these measures may actually be on the ballot in November is like waiting to see if a pregnancy test is positive or negative.  Whether you are eager or fearful of the results, one thing is guaranteed – if the answer is “yes,” life is going to be very different in about nine months. 

Changes to the Initiative Process

There are eight bills already submitted to this year’s legislative session that will deal with the initiative process.  These early bills come out of several interim committees and make technical changes in the process.  None of these proposals make sweeping changes such as increasing required signatures or limiting the number of ballot measures that can be voted on in any given year. 

Without listing each individual bill number, here is a brief overview of changes being proposed so far:

  • Listing “entities” among groups required to report contributions
  • Empowering the State Board of Elections to control the requirements (types of paper and printing fonts) for printing initiatives so they can be handed out by petition circulators
  • Determining the specific language to be used on the ballot to explain what a vote “Yes” does and what a vote “No” does
  • Authorize the Legislative Research Council staff to make suggestions regarding ballot measure language – this is the staff that writes new laws during legislative sessions
  • Create a citizen review commission to review initiated measures prior to signature gathering
  • Require a fiscal note for initiatives
  • Provide for resolution of conflicts if multiple/conflicting initiated measures are passed during the same election (one with the most votes prevails)
  • Revise provisions regarding the time period during which petition sponsors may submit ballot measures to the legislative research council
The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry has help lead ballot measure campaigns in each of the most recent seven elections.  These proposed changes will be carefully evaluated by the Chamber’s Board and lobbyists.

Don’t Let the Legislature Set its Salary?

HJR 1001 is titled: Proposing and submitting to the voters an amendment to the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, removing the Legislature's authority to set legislator salaries for a regular legislative session.

The measure is sponsored by:  Representatives Mickelson, Gosch, Haugaard, Hawley, Qualm, Reed, and Stevens and Senators Greenfield (Brock), Bolin, Curd, Langer, Partridge, and Stalzer at the request of the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council.

If this measure is approved by voters, the salary for legislators will be determined by a formula that is stated as “The salary for members of the Legislature during a regular session shall be equal to one-fifth of the most recent South Dakota median household income as provided by law.”

The median household income for South Dakota for 2016 was $54,467.  One fifth of that amount would set legislators salaries at $10,893, an increase of about $4,000.  There are undoubtedly details about how this new formula would be implemented that will be reviewed during the upcoming hearing.

Reminder:  Click here for the list of professional licenses, skilled worker certificates, registrations and permits that will possibly be included in the Multi-State Compact discussed in the first story.

The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be celebrating Business Day at the Legislature Thursday, February 22nd in Pierre.  We hope to see you there.

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