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December 12, 2012 09:59 PM

Lawmakers Talk 2013 Legislative Session

Now that texting while driving has steered away from a statewide ban toward individual city ordinances, incoming Democratic Representative Paula Hawks and Republican Representative Jim Bolin said the focus will be on education and the economy during the 2013 legislative session.  Hawks said that includes House Bill 1234.

"Well, I hope it just goes away," Hawks said.

The former teacher said even though about 70 percent of voters rejected the education reform bill in November, lawmakers are likely to try to pass small components of it.  Hawks worries about the message that sends to voters.

"I think it says that we aren't necessarily ready to listen to what they have to say. Perhaps they need to speak louder as well," Hawks said.

Another topic that has been loud and clear across the nation is the fiscal cliff. If congress does not agree on tax rates, Bolin said we will see reductions in federal programs.

"If that takes place, a number of programs that impact South Dakota will be trimmed, they won't be eliminated but they'll be trimmed five to 15 percent," Bolin said.

Bolin said this includes head start programs and special education.

"Even if there is an agreement, we probably have to face the fact that with the federal government running a deficit of more than a trillion dollars, there's going to be reductions to these programs from one degree to another," Bolin said.

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