2011 Legislative Report
The 2011 Legislative Session began on January 10, 2011 at the State Capitol. Many thanks to our SAMSOG Legislative Committee appointed by President Ed Cowherd for this year, Josh Lewis, Chairman; Trent Turk, Dean Olson, Lane Bishop and Frank Gaddy and to our Executive Director Ginger Walker for all her assistance.
Despite all our hard work this year, we were unsuccessful in getting all of our agenda passed. As you all know, we decided not to pursue HB 1117 this year that would have separated many functions for the Secretary of State Board of Registration due to opposition from the Secretary of State Brain Kemp. Our BOR Coalition with the engineers met with SOS Kemp on several occasions and came to the conclusion that we would not be successful in getting it passed. The BOR Coalition continues to meet with him however to try to resolve some of our issues internally and have asked him to collect some data for us to try to pinpoint the current problems.
Our main agenda item for this year was HB 166, Education Bill. Trent Turk and others took the lead in drafting a well thought out update to this legislation from previous years. Rep. Alan Powell agreed to carry the bill for us this year and worked very hard on our behalf. The bill passed the House Regulated Industries Committee, but got hung up in the House Rules Committee due to opposition from Rep. Earl Ehrhart. We of course have had further discussions with Rep, Ehrhart and will be pursuing this bill again this upcoming session.
We worked with the Department of Transportation on HB 137 this session to modify to our liking regarding the transfer of digital maps. This bill passed.
We also worked on HB 135 regarding timber transactions and the definition of property lines. We amended the bill to our satisfaction; however the bill had issues from other groups that prevented its passage this year.
There was also discussion again this year regarding the elimination of the County Surveyor. The discussion this year was about limiting it to the counties to decide if they wish to vote to eliminate the position. We had discussion with several groups and were able to head this issue off again for this year and no legislation was dropped.
We had a wonderful SAMSOG DAY at the Capitol again this year with many legislators visiting us for lunch. We continue to be hopeful however to get more participation from our members to attend in years to come. This is a great event for SAMSOG members to be able to participate in the process, and we look forward to seeing more members there next year!
The budget remained the biggest issue this year at the capitol and took most all the focus from legislators which prevented many groups, including SAMSOG from being able to get much addressed. We will get back to work prior to the upcoming session to assure that our issues are addressed next year.
As always, on behalf of me and your SAMSOG Legislative Committee, we appreciate the opportunity to serve SAMSOG.
Steven Neff, SAMSOG Legislative Consultant