CHARLIE HOFFMAN: Texting and driving one of many dangers
The URL address http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/07/new-study-downplays-distracted-driving-dangers/ is the most popular of the week.
Many think government should mandate all sorts of things to make people safer in their daily lives. If it were that easy we would not have any overweight people, skin cancers caused by solar radiation damage, cirrhosis of the liver, automobile crashes, drug overdoses, murders, rapes, etc. It is easy to understand what limited control any law will actually have while we have free choices bearing the ultimate outcome of personal responsibility.
The texting bill we sent to the 41st day is classic. I am not going to spend much time on this but once we start going down that road then eating, drinking, smoking, putting makeup on, reading any printed material including maps, need to be outlawed while driving. Distracted driving is already a crime in most states though it is seldom enforced for a myriad of reasons. For $6 to $10 per month any parent can install an application which stops all texting upon the phone after the vehicle goes faster than 10 miles a hour and it works 100 percent of the time.
We took up many bills with some finding much discussion on the floor before voting took place. I will try to expound upon a few of interest. HB 1038 would, if the Senate approves it, increase the fine for leaving a brand area without the proper authorization to a Class one misdemeanor, which will allow the DCI to become involved in any cattle rustling case. Previously as a Class two misdemeanor the rules of engagement did not allow for that to occur.
HB 1029 will allow the Department of Revenue to publish the top 100 delinquent taxpayers if after being given 90 days to either pay the tax or set up a tax payment schedule neither has been done. HB 1190 sets up rule making authority needed by any governmental agency given by the legislature before a Health Insurance Exchange may be set up. This bill sets in motion a perpetual authority taken by the State of South Dakota should the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act attempt to diminish our state’s right to govern from within our borders those things granted to us by the U.S. Constitution.
HB 1183 limits the co-pay amount an insurance company may charge for physical or occupational therapy to that charged for using a primary care physician. These bills all passed the house and are on their way to the senate for final approval.
HB 1091 was a bill many put hours into bringing forth. It would have put a few more three-day non-resident waterfowl tags into Eastern South Dakota, which would have given the Game Fish and Parks commission a tool in actually selling enough of the tags to pay for the lease program set up along the Missouri River on private land.
Currently 500 tags are sold in nine counties in eastern S.D. 1091 would have allowed any of the remaining 900 to 1200 not being sold along the Missouri River to move into all of S.D. including the previous nine-county slot the 500 are currently being sold in eastern S.D. This bill flew out of committee 13 to 0 and should have in my opinion passed out of the house. In all reality once the house members started receiving literally thousands of emails from a few South Dakota Wildlife Federation members, fear set in and we lost 29 to 37.
An interesting note is that the lease program needs around 1200 tags sold to lease the land along the river and this bill would have brought in non-resident money to pay that lease.
Now the residents of South Dakota are being asked to provide that money for a chosen few who receive the benefits of that waterfowl hunting being non-residents who come to Pierre to buy the three-day tags. The deal made with the 500 previously helped do just that. If one thinks about what has happened in the past 10 years with the loss of more than 10,000 resident waterfowl hunters not replaced with non-resident hunters we easily can say that South Dakota is a terrific refuge for waterfowl.
North Dakota has over 25,000 non-resident waterfowl hunters which we certainly do not want to mimic; but spreading out another 600 to 900 tags in all of eastern South Dakota brings out the big guns of the SDWF? Go figure.
Many more bills that were voted on are on-line and can be found at http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2012/BillList.aspx . Others of note that passed last week are HB 1195; allowing public schools to charge fees for pre-school and drivers education; HB 1182; changing deadlines for Independent candidates; HB 1186; stopping sex offenders from being able to circulate petitions; HJR 1004; changing the length of term limits; HB 1170, putting forth a limited speeding index point system failed; and HB 1116 disallowing sales tax from being charged on animal bedding.
Thank you for your postcards, emails, and phone calls. I will do my best to respond to them and do what is best for District 23. I take this position very seriously and will always do what I believe is in the best interest for all of us. Let me know if you are coming to Pierre so we can meet.
District 23 Rep.