Meth, Ethics Legislation, Sales Tax Highlighted In State Of The State Address

PIERRE, S.D. – A big change for thousands of online shoppers in South Dakota; starting next month, they’ll be paying South Dakota state sales tax.

This was just one of the plans unveiled by Governor Dennis Daugaard during his state of the state address in Pierre Tuesday.

Governor Daugaard was met with applause from lawmakers this afternoon, before diving into tough issues in his State of the State address.

There’s been a recent decline in state sales tax revenue, so the Governor was happy to announce a new deal with a major online retailer.

“The state has reached an agreement with Amazon to remit and collect sales tax in South Dakota,” says Gov. Daugaard. “Amazon will begin voluntarily to collect sales tax on February 1, and will remit beginning in late March.”

Lawmakers from both parties are happy to hear this, as well as the Governor’s plan to tackle the increase in meth use throughout the state.

“I’m joining with the Attorney General to propose a joint drug task force comprised of four new highway patrol officers and designated agents of the division of criminal investigation.”

The Governor hopes this will stop meth from coming in to South Dakota, while also preventing use and helping addicts.

But District 10 House Representative says isn’t Daugaard’s job.

“Our culture has degraded significantly and that’s why it’s important for individuals to step up, community organizations, churches to be involved so that they can take on the burden that has somehow been put on the state the last couple of decades,“ says District 10 Representative Steve Haugaard.

Daugaard also touched on a controversial subject: getting rid of a voter-approved government ethics overhaul.

“I will support efforts to repeal IM 22 and replace it with revisions that are well crafted, constitutional and responsive to the voters.”

Daugaard says it’s not the content of the measure he has a major issue with, but who’s backing it, a group based out Massachusetts.

“We need to find a way to stop out of state organizations from experiencing with South Dakota’s constitution and laws.”

But some Democratic lawmakers disagree with Daugaard, saying his speech lacked urgency.

They’d like to see a bigger focus on issues like healthcare.

“We can do better for the 50,000 South Dakotans that have no access to health care,” says State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton. “As well as the 22,000 to 25,000 that could lose coverage if the ACA is repealed. What are we going to do with those people?”H

So with the Governor’s vision laid out, lawmakers now have 40 days of homework, deal making and voting ahead of them.

The legislative session ends March 10.

But lawmakers could come back after that to consider any vetoes made by the Governor.

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