Commerce panel is getting acclimated

State senators and representatives who serve on their respective Commerce and Energy Committees met twice in recent months to receive briefings from state government agencies they handle during legislative sessions.

Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre, organized the meetings. He is the House chairman.

The first was Sept. 27 at the Capitol, followed by a trip Sept. 28 to Milbank and Huron to visit utility facilities.

The joint panel is meeting again today. At the start, Rounds recalled how some legislators seemed short of basic knowledge about the departments during the 2017 session.

According to minutes from the Sept. 27 meeting, “He indicated that this effort is a pilot program and he hopes it will prove to be successful, encouraging other standing committees to do the same during the interim.”

Those minutes added, “Senator Phil Jensen, Senate Chair, stated he appreciates Representative Rounds effort to bring members up to speed on these issues.”

The lawmakers heard Sept. 27 from the Department of Revenue’s various divisions on property taxes and special taxes, business taxes, gaming, lottery and motor vehicles. They also received presentations from state government’s Public Utilities Commission and South Dakota electric-utilities companies.

According to the meeting minutes, “Representative Rounds indicated that, based on positive feedback, he will approach the Executive Board about using the interim to have meetings like this in the future, and that he appreciated the support of Commerce and Energy members.”

The meeting today features the Department of Labor and Regulation, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Bureau of Administration.

Other House members are Arch Beal, R-Sioux Falls; Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham; Lana Greenfield, R-Doland; Spencer Hawley, D-Brookings; David Johnson, R-Rapid City; Elizabeth May, R-Kyle; Steven McCleerey, D-Sisseton; John Mills, R-Volga; Tom Pischke, R-Dell Rapids; Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford; Mark Willadsen, R-Sioux Falls; and Larry Zikmund, R-Sioux Falls.

Senators are Craig Kennedy, D-Yankton; Jack Kolbeck, R-Sioux Falls; Stace Nelson, R-Fulton;  Jenna Netherton, R-Sioux Falls; Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen; Neal Tapio, R-Watertown; and Jensen, R-Rapid City.