Advocacy

Chamber Advocate 5/28/21

City financials for April

The Sioux Falls City Council received a presentation on the financial and economic indicators from this past month. The report includes figures such as sales tax collections, unemployment rate, labor force and inflation. Here are the highlights:

  1. Sales tax collections: 1.3% (12-month rolling average). The 12-month rolling average (less audits) ended the month at 1.3%. On a year-over-year basis, collections for April 2021 were up 24.3% over April 2021.
  2. Entertainment tax collections: -11.5% (12-month rolling average). The 12-month rolling average (less audits) ended the month at -11.5%. On a year-over-year basis, collections for March 2021 were 38.2% above April 2020.
  3. Unemployment: 3.0%. The City of Sioux Falls’ unemployment rate peaked at almost 11% in April 2020 and has since decreased steadily. As of March 2021, we are down to 3.0% which continues to be lower than the national and state unemployment rate.
  4. Employment: Slight increase to 153,783. Employment numbers for the City of Sioux Falls has witnessed some recovery since the downturn last year because of the pandemic. Growth is overall steady.
  5. Labor Force: 158,583. Labor force has increased to 158,583 in March. This figure continues to steadily grow.
  6. Inflation: 4.2%. Inflation has increased to 4.2%. It was closer to 0% at the start of the pandemic. This number continues to trend upward and is currently at it highest mark since 2011.
  7. Building Permits: $318.5 million through April. Through April, the City has processed over $318.5 million dollars’ worth of building permits. This is significantly outpacing 2019 and 2020 when the City processed $207.1 and $158.7 million dollars’ worth respectively.

 

Changes to state voting laws

Over the last month or so, there has been an interest in learning about the proposed changes to South Dakota voting laws during legislative session. There were 11 bills specifically focused on voting. Four of the 11 bills passed and will take effect on July 1, 2021. The topics of the voting bills that passed include protecting certain registered voters from making their address public when they are qualified to be eligible to have a secured active designation. Another voting bill that became law requires the county auditor to begin counting the absentee ballots without delay and a couple of bills were clean-up bills.

Bills that became law:

  • Bill revised the term “secondary election” to now read “runoff election.” (HB 1119)
    • Prime Sponsor: Representative Weisgram
    • Bill passed the House 69/0 and the Senate 33/0 and was signed by the Governor. The bill will take effect on July 1, 2021.
  • Bill to remove incorrect cross-reference (SDCL 12-5-10) in provision regarding elections.
    • Prime Sponsor: The Committee on State Affairs at the request of the Office of the Secretary of State. (SB 25)
    • Bill passed the Senate with a 34/0 and the House of Representatives 70/0 and was signed by the Governor. This law takes effect on July 1, 2021.
  • Bill to protect registration information for certain voters. This bill protects individuals who have been victims of family violence or sexual predators from locating their victims through a voter registration list. These individuals do not want their address published but do want to exercise their right to vote. A secured active designation, protecting the individuals address, will remain in effect for five years. (SB 102)
    • Prime Sponsor: Senator Schoenbeck
    • Bill passed the Senate 33/0 and the House of Representatives 68/0 and was signed by the Governor. This law takes effect on July 1, 2021.
  • Bill to requires the county auditor to sort and county the of absentee ballots without delaying the tabulation of the votes. (SB 184)
    • Prime Sponsor: Senator Jack Kolbeck
    • Bill passed the Senate with a vote of 35/0 and the House of Representatives 69/0 and was signed by the Governor. This law takes effect on July 1, 2021.

Bills that did not become law:

  • Bill to require every voter to be given a copy of the measure, constitutional amendment, or other question to be submitted to a vote of the people in its entirety, whether reusable or single use, shall be given to each voter along with the ballot. The sponsoring organization of the initiated measure or initiated amendment shall be responsible for the cost of all copies provided to the voters, including the cost of any necessary postage. (HB 1054)
    • Prime Sponsor: Rep Fred Deutsch
    • Bill died in committee on a do pass motion of 6/7
  • Bill to authorize the recall of county commissioners from office at any time by the voters. The petition to recall would require the signatures of 15 percent of the registered voters of the district the commissioner represent. The percentage and number of signatures required under this section shall be based upon the total number of registered voters at the last preceding general election. The allowable grounds for removal are misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression, or gross partiality. The petition shall contain a specific statement of the grounds on which removal is sought. The form for the county recall petition shall be prescribed by the state Board of Elections pursuant to state law. No signature on a petition is valid if signed more than sixty days before the filing of the petitions. (HB 1058)
    • Prime Sponsor: Representative Ernie Otten
    • Bill was deferred to the 41st day with a vote of 10/3
  • Proposal to limit absentee voting from 46 days to 30, when federal law doesn’t preempt state law. (HB 1245)
    • Prime sponsor Rep Steven Haugaard
    • Bill died in committee on a do pass motion of 6/7
  • Bill to establish fees ranging from ten dollars per one thousand names (or less) to one hundred dollars for more than 25,000 names provided from the statewide voter registration file for an electronic copy. The fees charged varied depending on the type and requested format of the voter registration list. (HB 1229)
    • Prime Sponsor: Representative Dennert
    • Bill died in House Local Government 10/3
  • Bill to make an appropriation for the purchase of a new online voter registration system. The bill sought to appropriate one million dollars for the purpose of purchasing a new online voter registration system. (HB 1271)
    • Prime Sponsor: The Committee on Appropriations
    • Bill died in the House 31/34
  • Bill to allow a change of voter registration information through an online system provided by the Office of the Secretary of State. (SB 24)
    • Prime Sponsor: Committee on State Affairs at the request of the State Board of Elections
    • Bill died in House State Affairs with a do pass motion 6/7
  • Bill to revise certain provisions regarding voter registration records. The bill sought to require each county coroner to communicate the names of individuals determined to be incompetent, deceased, or convicted of a felony to the county auditor. The auditor would then remove the names from the voter registration file and update the master (voter) registration. Failure to comply with the time set forth in the bill would for both the county coroner and the county auditor would result in a class two misdemeanor. (SB 116)
    • Prime Sponsor: Senator Julie Frye-Mueller
    • Bill died in Senate Local Government Committee with a vote of 6/1.

 

New Mayoral appointments

At last week’s City Council meeting, three Sioux Falls residents were appointed to various city boards. Each appointee’s term will be served from May 2021 to May 2026. Kent Cutler was appointed to the Airport Authority Board and Sheku Bannister and Anny Libengood were appointed to the Commission on Human Relations.

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