PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers failed Monday to override Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s vetoes, including proposals to move up the start date for introducing legislation and to give home-schooled students another path to a state scholarship.
The Legislature met for the final day of the 2018 legislative session to debate vetoes from the Republican governor, but lawmakers didn’t muster the two-thirds margin required to overcome any of his three regular vetoes. Daugaard last week rejected the three bills and issued two style-and-form vetoes of measures from the session that convened Jan. 9.
“I’m pleased that the Legislature agreed with me — or at least a sizeable enough minority agreed with me that the vetoes were sustained,” Daugaard said after the votes.
Republican Sen. Jack Kolbeck, the sponsor of the scholarship bill, unsuccessfully pushed for an override, saying it sought to “create fairness.”
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All students who get at least a 28 ACT score or 1250 SAT score are eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship for residents who attend South Dakota colleges. Students who complete specific coursework at accredited high schools can be eligible with a lower ACT score of 24. The bill would have allowed home-schoolers such a path.
“We’re denying a lot of people who are very talented from having the scholarship because we’ve set an artificial limit,” said Republican Sen. Lance Russell, a bill supporter.
Daugaard argued in his veto message the bill would hold home-schoolers to a lower standard than public or private high schools graduates, writing that there’s no accreditation requirement for home-school courses. The push didn’t advance out of the Senate.
Across the Capitol rotunda, representatives voted not to override Daugaard’s rejection of a bill that aimed to impose new requirements for college tuition assistance programs.
The veto override attempt for a measure that would have allowed lawmakers to pre-file legislation earlier also fell short in the House. GOP Rep. Elizabeth May, the sponsor, said it was about improving transparency for South Dakota citizens.
Right now, lawmakers can file bills within 30 days of a legislative session. The bill would have allowed lawmakers to file up to 10 bills after the official canvass in an election year and July 1 during an odd-numbered year until the session’s start.
Daugaard wrote in his veto letter that the bill would have given legislators the ability to seek media attention throughout the year by filing a bill to address “any newsworthy topic.” He called that a “grandstanding tactic that is all too common in Washington, D.C.”
Looking forward, the Legislature’s Executive Board voted on two topics to study ahead of next year’s session. It will examine access to mental health services in South Dakota and the increasing need for special education in schools.
Lawmakers on Monday officially adjourned the 2018 legislative session, which was Daugaard’s last as governor. He gave a speech to legislators, saying they can be proud of a successful session as they return home. House Speaker Mark Mickelson also isn’t running for re-election.
“For those of you, well, who are leaving with me, and for those of you who are staying behind: a wise man once told me, ‘Opportunity and security seldom travel the same path,'” Mickelson said. “It’s been a pleasure serving with you.”