PIERRE — With barely a tussle, the Legislature’s Executive Board appointed lawmakers Monday to two interim committees that will study parts of South Dakota’s funding system for public schools and gaps in state laws regarding domestic violence and abuse.
The board also set the parameters for what should and in one instance won’t be studied by the panels.
The domestic relations group won’t look at shared parenting laws, which went through an emotional struggle in the 2013 legislative session. Instead, the scope will be decided at the board’s next meeting on June 10.
Those moves came at the request of Sen. Deb Soholt, R-Sioux Falls, who will chair the domestic study.
Soholt said the panel can look at past work by former Rep. Casey Murschel, R-Sioux Falls, and at legislation that stalled after winning passage in different versions in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Rep. Mike Steven, R-Yankton, will be the vice chairman. Soholt and Stevens are first-year legislators.
Also named to the domestic panel were Republican senators Deb Peters of Hartford and Craig Tieszen of Rapid City; Democratic representatives Peggy Gibson of Huron and Karen Soli of Sioux Falls; and Republican representatives Jim Bolin of Canton, Kristen Conzet of Rapid City and Tona Rozum of Mitchell.
The education funding committee will be chaired by Rep. Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City. She was the House Education chairwoman during the 2013 session. Another veteran legislator, Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, will be vice chairman for the study.
The education committee will look at the impact of technology on teaching and in turn school budgets; the effects of the school-funding system on education results; and the effects of property tax opt-outs and special levies on school funding.
The other 13 members of the education study panel are Democratic senators Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge, Billie Sutton of Burke and Chuck Welke of Warner; Republican senators Jean Hunhoff of Yankton, Al Novstrup of Aberdeen and Bill Van Gerpen of Tyndall; Democratic representatives Paula Hawks of Hartford and Kathy Tyler of Big Stone City; and Republican representatives Dan Dryden of Rapid City, Mary Duvall of Pierre, Mike Verchio of Hill City, Dick Werner of Huron and Anne Hajek of Sioux Falls.
The Executive Board briefly split on the education study members. Rep. Isaac Latterell, R-Tea, wanted Rep. Jenna Haggar, R-Sioux Falls, to replace Hajek. Latterell said Haggar should participate because she is the House Education vice-chair.
But that suggestion met disagreement from the board’s personnel group who nominated the members.
There was “exceptional interest” by many legislators in serving, according to Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg. He said the 15 members were nominated as part of striking a balance between Republicans and Democrats and between senators and representatives.
Soholt said Hajek brings a different experience to the funding study as a past county commissioner and city council member. Hajek also was a teacher and middle school counselor. “We were really wanting to round out perspectives,” Soholt said.
Latterell’s motion was defeated 11-3.
The Executive Board also chose three issue-memorandum topics that will be placed in the Legislature’s permanent research materials file. The topics this year are Common Core standards that will be used by public schools in South Dakota, a freshen-up of the existing memorandum on the state trust funds, and the status of township roads and their funding. Members of the Legislative Research Council staff will prepare each memorandum.