First in from the State House: two bills on the agricultural productivity tax (you know, the quasi-income tax now imposed on farmers in place of plain old property tax). House Bill 1001 changes shall to may in a couple spots (ah ha! So shall and may do mean different things!) and allows the folks in charge of this tax to incorporate more data in the calculations. HB 1002 clarifies the need for documentation and the kinds of data the director of equalization can use to assess taxes on ag land.
HB 1003 empowers the Interim Rules Review Committee to revert rules that impose "unreasonable" costs on local governments and school districts. If I'm reading the law right, the interim committee already has the power to revert rules for other reasons. But I wonder if this change will resurrect debates over costs that are better settled during session by the full body.
The Senate is a bit slower out of the blocks, with a couple of style and form changes. Senate Bill 3 has a little more substance: it clamps down on the use of South Dakota's state seal. Section specifies that the state seal may not be used for the following:
- On or in connection with any advertising or promotion for any product, business, organization, service, or article whether offered for sale for profit or offered without charge;
- In a political campaign to assist or defeat any candidate for elective office; or
- In a manner which may operate or be construed as an endorsement of any business, organization, product, service, or article.
Senate Bill 3 would empower the Secretary of State to come up with rules to "assure tasteful and high-quality reproduction of the seal." I welcome readers to compose their own punchlines.
The Interim Bureau of Administration Agency Review Committee put this bill together. They even had the foresight to pre-empt complaints of censorship. Says Section 7:
Nothing in this Act prohibits the reproduction of the state seal for illustrative purposes by the news media if the reproduction by the news media is incidental to the publication or the broadcast. Nothing in this Act prohibits a characterization of the state seal from being used in political cartoons.
Hey, Ehrisman! You're still good to go! But now let's see if there's floor debate on whether blogs meet the Legislature's definition of "news media."
There's much more fun to come from our hearty 105 in Pierre. Stay tuned!