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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 5, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EST

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of my administration and members of the public. the task force undertook an extensive process of seeking public input. task force members organized or attended dozens of meetings and sought feedback from thousands of south dakotans. they heard an overwhelming message. the public believes we need to be bold and to act to address teacher salaries this year. following that public input, the task force held five daylong public meetings to consider data, discuss policy options and ultimately to make recommendations. and i want to thank the task force members for their very thorough work. the final report makes thoughtful recommendations and is an excellent overview of this topic. the key to student achievement is an effective teacher. we all know that. it's the number one factor that we can control. despite that, we also know that
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south dakota teacher salary are lowest in the nation and have been for decades. the problem has come to the forefront now because more and more we're hearing from school administrators that the teaching workforce is getting smaller. schools are getting fewer applicants for each position. some teaching disciplines like math and science are even more limited. and in remote geographic areas some schools struggle to attract any applicants at all. the data supports this anecdotal evidence. the task force report includes projections from the department of education, which show that over the next five years south dakota will have only one new teacher for each position that comes open. now, one teacher per opening may not sound like a shortage, but for most districts it is. the new teachers coming into the profession will not align with the disciplines where there are
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openings. there won't be enough new teachers in hard-to-fill disciplines. rural or remote districts will still struggle to hire and the quality of education suffers when the schools cannot be selective and have to hire from a limited pool. that's why the task force found that the incoming pipeline of teachers will not meet the projected needs of districts over the next five years. we need to increase the supply of new teachers entering the field and we need more current teachers to stay in the field. now, i now that other areas of the workforce are seeing similar trends. these shortages are caused by many economic and demographic factors. salaries are not the only cause of the problem but we cannot fix this problem unless we increase salaries. we all know that although south dakota is last in teacher salaries, we're not the last in spending for student. depending on the source, we usually rank around 40th.
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the task force considered several possible explanations for this. for example, some were surprised to learn that our spending on administrators both in terms of salaries and in number of administrators is comparable to national averages and lower than some other states in our area. ultimately the task force found that south dakota spending per student is due to the rural nature of our state. we actually spend more per student on facilities and maintenance than the national average. we also have more teachers per student than the national average. significantly, though, we spend less per student than all of our surrounding states. the states that are most like us, north dakota, montana, and nebraska, spend more per student than we do, have more teachers per students than we do, and pay higher salaries than we do. the bad news is the gap is getting worse. we compete with our surrounding states for teachers and we're
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falling farther behind them. ten years ago south dakota's average teacher salary was about $2,000 per year behind north dakota. we were 51st in teacher pay and they were 49th. montana was 47th. nebraska was 42nd. today we're still closest to north dakota among our surroundings states but the gap is not $2,000 it's $8,000. we still rank 51st. north dakota has moved to 36th. montana to 28th. nebraska, 32nd. and even when you adjust for cost of living, south dakota still falls behind our surrounding states. we're closest to north dakota but nearly $6,000 behind. after adjusting for cost of living, south dakota's nearly $10,000 behind minnesota. if south dakota wants to maintain high student achievement we need a new generation of high quality teachers. and we're not going to get them
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unless we become more competitive with the surrounding states. and when you delve into the numbers, you reach the conclusion that the only way to become more competitive is to increase our state's average teacher salary. we need to add more money into the system. much like other problems we've confronted together, south dakota faces a deteriorating situation if we don't take action. to address this need i'm proposing a one half cent increase had in the state sales tax. this plan will bring about competitive teacher pay, a transparent and fair funding formula, and a more efficient education system. the plan is based upon the blue ribbon task force report and will achieve its goals. the one half cent will generate $40 million in new revenue beyond our needs, however, and i propose that this excess be dedicated to property tax relief. the centerpiece of the blue
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ribbon report is a revised school funding formula based upon the real input costs of education rather than a per-student dollar amount. this new formula will calculate funding based on a target average teacher salary and a target student-to-teacher ratio. those two factors. south dakota's average teacher salary is just over $40,000. i'm recommending we set a target average of $48,500. that would be our goal. at that level south dakota would be competitive with our surrounding states and we would no longer be 51st in the nation. as i mentioned, the new formula will also be based on a target student-to-teacher ratio. to be clear, this is not a merumer u measurement of class size, it's a ratio of students to all instructional staff, including regular classroom teachers and others such as special education teachers.
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to replace the current small school factor, a sliding scale will be used to calculate each school district's target teacher-to-student ratio. districts with 600 or more students will be calculated based on a ratio of fa15 studen per teacher or 15-1. those with 200 students or less will be based on a ratio of 12.1-1. those between 200 and 600 are on a sliding scale. let's look at some examples. consider a school district with 175 students, the whole district k-12. 175 students. less than 200, so this district state aid is based on a target ratio of 12.5-1. if you divide 175 by 12.5, that results in a target of 14 teachers. we have a target average salary of $48,500 so you multiply the number of teachers, 14, by that
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target salary, $48,500. then the formula would add additional dollars to cover benefits and overhead to calculate this district's total need. for a district of 600 students, the calculation works in the same way. it's based on a ratio, though, of 15-1. if you divide 600 students by 15, the result is 40. so 40 you multiply times the $48,500 and then again add extra for benefits and overhead. this formula will drive a more informed discussion of education funding rather than base funding on an arbitrary per-student allocation. the debate each year will be based on the appropriate target for the average teacher salary. this is more transparent for both legislators and citizens and will allow for a better discussion each budget cycle. when you go home, as legislators, you'll be able to demonstrate the school districts are receiving adequate state
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dollars to reach the target salary. now, it's important for school districts to understand what this new formula means and what it does not mean. this year we'll be setting a state target of $48,500 for the average teacher salary. that means approximately $8,500 more than the current statewide average. this doesn't mean that every teacher will receive $48,500 as their salary or that every teacher will get a raise of $8,500, it also does not mean that every district will achieve that target average or that level of raise. here is what the proposal is offering, what it does mean to school districts. we will give you enough money so that if your staff meets the target ratio, you will have enough money to pay that target average. but each district will decide exactly how to use the new funding. because the state doesn't propose to mandate that schools achieve their target-to-teacher
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ratio. now, some schools -- some schools, may choose to exceed their ratios and to have more staff than the ratio funds. that will mean that those schools will spread their new money among more people, give smaller raises and fail to reach the target average. but although it is not a mandate, this new formula is creating an expectation from the state level we should all expect that the new funding we send to districts will be used to increase teacher salaries. and it may take some time for districts to adjust and we may not achieve the entire $8,500 increase in our state average in that first year. but we should expect significant movement toward that goal. and i will propose specific reporting and accountability measures to allow us to monitor progress for each district. at the local level, these state targets will also set expectations. teachers and parents will expect their schools to achieve
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significant increases in salaries. this transparent formula will lead to more informed conversations amongst school leaders, teachers, parents and taxpayers about local spending and staffing decisions. it will lead to greater accountability at the local level for decisions that impact teacher salaries. now, if the state is going to expect districts to reach these targets we need to give school leaders more tools to achieve greater efficiency. one important way we can do this is through the statewide center for e-learning at northern state university. this center offers high quality courses at no cost to the school. the state pays for it. these offerings are particularly important for districts who struggle to recruit teachers in high-need disciplines. i'm proposing that we expand the offerings at the e-learning center so that we can make these high-quality teachers available to more districts. i also propose that we dedicate
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funds to incentivize the sharing of services across districts. now, the state has already done this in some areas. for example, the state already negotiates the cost of internet bandwidth centrally and we provide it to the schools at no cost to them. the state also provides the student information system to schools at no cost. now, these services have a cost to the general fund, but they save schools money, more than the cost to the state. in every case it's voluntary for the schools to participate, but we found the vast majority of schools will take advantage of these efficient means to save money. we can expand this approach to even more areas from purchasing to payroll to software licensing. we can even incentivize districts to share staff and by helping districts save money on these administrative costs or staff costs, we can make it that much easier for them to put more dollars into instructional staff.
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now, the introduction of new money into school funding also creates an opportunity to fix long-standing problems with the formula. new money means that fixing these problems is not a zero-sum game. for example, we can move to greater equity among districts. our current system adds state dollars to school district property taxes. you know that. we send more state dollars to districts which have low property values and fewer state dollars to districts with high property values. in this way the attempt is to provide a uniform level of funding whether a district has low property values or high property values. but some school district revenue sources such as the wind farm tax, the gross receipts on utilities, the bank franchise tax and the revenue from traffic fines, they're all ignored in this equalization effort. this creates unfair windfalls for certain districts and the task force recommended we move toward greater equity in this
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area. my proposal will treat these other revenues just as property tax values are treated over a five-year phase-in period. i'm also proposing that the state reinstate caps on school reserve fund. a reserve is a prudent management tool. we have reserves. so do the school districts. but as the state introduces new funds into the school funding system, we should expect that those dollars are used to increase teacher salaries not held in reserves for future years. if a district exceeds the cap which would be established under this proposal, state aid will be offset on a dollar-for-dollar basis and this would take effect in three years so school districts have time to adjust. and i will -- i will also be proposing changes to respond to the dramatic growth of capital outlay in recent years. capital outlay is property tax -- is a property tax levy that schools assess to pay for building construction and improvements. over the past 12 years while the
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per-student allocation has increased by 25%, property taxes for capital outlay have increased by 117%. my plan will restrict annual growth to slow that trend. i'm also proposing to make permanent the current law which has been set to expire in 2018 that allows school districts to shift some of these funds to general operations. school boards should be able to decide whether to spend their dollars and this will allow a portion of capital outlay funds to be used for teacher salaries or other costs on a permanent basis. finally i support the recommendations of the task force to improve our ability to recruit and retain teachers. we will institute reciprocity with other states so that teachers coming to south dakota can avoid unnecessary barriers to entering the classrooms here. a mentoring program will help new teachers find their way to success so that fewer new teachers leave the profession in
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their first years. and we will restore funding to reward the outstanding teachers who achieve national board certification. this is an important way to recognize our best teachers and to encourage more teachers to pursue this rigorous process. we all want what's best for our children. we want to provide them with a quality education. and we know that requires a strong workforce of great teachers. this is the year. this is the year to get out of last place. this is the year to act. let's join together this year to strengthen our schools and keep our promise to the next generation. thank you. another important area where we must continue to look ahead is in the south dakota retirement system.
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i am very proud, and we should all be very proud, that south dakota retirement system is consistently among the best funded retirement systems in the nation. we hold ourselves to a very high standard. the retirement system targets 100% funding while using among the most conservative measurements of liabilities of any public pension plan. other states have taken the opposite approach, which is why nationwide the average statewide retirement plan is only 75% funded. it's one of the reasons why chicago is rated as junk, their bonds. compare that to the south dakota retirement system, which as of june 30th was 104% funded. while other states have failed to consistently make the contributions their actuaries recommend, south dakota does not fail. now, the success of our system has been made possible by the effective and conservative
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management of the retirement system board of trustees, the outstanding performance of the south dakota investment council and the cooperation and support of all stakeholders. but even with these successes, the board of trustees is taking a proactive step to improve the sustainability of our plan for the next generation of public employees. at its december board meeting the board unanimously approved a new retirement design for new public employees who begin work after june 30th, 2017. the new design accommodates longer life expectancies and adds variable hybrid benefits and eliminates inequitable subsidies. those that fall under the new design will not be subsidizing members of current design. both plans will be self-sustaining. this change will not affect current employees. not now and not when current
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employees retire. this change will not affect those who are already retired. and this change will not require additional contributions from employees. the board's unanimous recommendation is subject to your approval. so, you will be hearing more about this proposal in the coming weeks. i strongly urge your approval. unlike other states, south dakota is not waiting for a crisis to tackle this issue. our state would strengthen this system now when our pension is over 100% funded so that our pension plan will be well funded through any future challenges. whether you or i are here any longer or not. last month in the budget process i spoke to you about the state's continuing conversations with federal officials about medicaid. since that time federal officials have continued to work on the issues surrounding reimbursement to the state for services provided to indian health service enrolles.
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i just received a detail letter from the federal secretary of health and human services in response to our comments on the draft federal policy change and i believe that by the end of the month we will know if this plan is viable. some of you have asked me, why would a conservative republican governor propose a plan to expand medicaid? in fact, last month "the new york times" ran a front page story discussing medicaid proposals by conservative governors in south dakota, utah, and wyoming and comparing their approach with the u.s. senators from those states. well, if i were in congress, i'd be doing exactly what senators thune and rounds and congresswoman nome are doing. the federal health care law is about far more than medicaid expansion and we're already seeing how it has distorted the marketplace for health insurance and led to higher costs. in my opinion, the law needs to be repealed or significantly changed.
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but at the state level we do not make federal policy. it's our responsibility to understand the federal programs as they exist and to make the best decisions for our state. that's why although i oppose the federal health care reform law, my administration has spent three years discussing possible approaches to expansion with federal officials. the deal i'm proposing makes sense for south dakota. it is a good deal. it is a very good deal. this plan will fix the long-standing indian health service reimbursement issue, secure better health care for native americans and cover 50,000 more south dakotans at no cost to our state general fund. this change will benefit counties by relieving their indigent care costs and by reducing the health care costs for jail inmates. it will reduce the charity care expense that hospitals now mass on to patients like you. we all know that native
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americans in our state were promised health care by the federal government as a treaty obligation. when the federal government fails to meet that obligation, the cost now falls to us. consider this story. illustrating the current level of service from ihs. gina is a 39-year-old rosebud sioux tribal member and a mother of two. when she was 24 she received a kidney transplant due to a genetic disease and her grandmother died of cervical cancer, placing gina at higher risk for this disease. during gina's health exam in april, 2014, at ihs, some abnormalities were detected. given her health history, these results should have raised an immediate red flag. in fact, gina didn't learn about the abnormal pap smear until eight months later by letter, not by a phone call. she immediately called ihs to get an appointment with a
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gynecologist only to be told there isn't one available. she asked to be referred to an outside specialist, but this was denied because it was not considered a priority one life or limb case. fortunately, in gina's case, she was able to afford to pay out of pocket to see a specialist and although there was no cancer, she must remain vigilant. a few of you may know gina. i know you all know her husband senator troy heinert. the heinerts gave me permission to share this story so we know we need to do something about the ihs. if this plan is adopted the new relationship between ihs and health care providers will allow native americans to get better health care. ihs will be able to use telehealth to provide better primary care. if a native american is eligible for medmedicaid, the state will longer bear half of this expense for this treaty obligation. this deal makes sense for south
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dakota. most of south dakota's tribes have already strongly endorsed this plan, and i believe they all will. but as i've said before, i will not move forward with this plan unless the state legislature expresses its support through the passage of a state budget that includes the necessary budget authority. and i won't support the plan if it will cost the state any new general funds. now, i know some of you are concerned about the soundness of the cost projections for this plan, and given the experience of some other states, that's a very valid concern. you're right to raise the question. i raised it myself. but let me answer some of those concerns. four years ago we undertook a survey that indicated 48,500 south dakotans would be covered if we expanded medicaid. that was four years ago so last fall we conducted a new survey that updated that number to 49,700. a little bit of a change but not
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much. for comparison, north dakota has expanded already. they added 19,000. citizens in their expansion. for our projections i took the 49,700 and added 10% to be safe. 55,000. in the states where projections have been wrong in part it was because they didn't expect all those eligible to sign up in the first year. in our projections we're assuming 100% of those eligible sign up by the end of the first year. we've also been conservative in estimating the cost per enrollee. we believe that each enrollee will cost about $6,400 per year. we have calculated that based upon actual costs of low-income adults who are already covered under south dakota's medicaid plan. but it's also within about $20 of actual costs incurred by expansion states. to be safe, we added 20% to
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that. and budgeted $7,700 per enrollee. in addition to the safeguards, we're also ignoring that some of the expansion population, about 30% of the expansion population, will be native american and eligible for 100% ihs reimbursement. that -- those savings could poe ten shas potentially be as much as $15 million. we ignored all of that entirely. we're going to save some of that $15 million if this plan is adopted, but our assumptions assume none of it. we're also ignoring the likely positive impact that the new funds will have on our state's economy and the resultant impact on our tax revenues. we're ignoring that entirely. finally, i would support, and i hope you will pass, trigger language to require that if the federal government changes the
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deal, south dakota would withdraw from expansion. if a republican president and a republican congress are elected in 2016, the federal health care law could be repealed entirely. regardless -- regardless -- if the federal funding goes away, so should the program. but even in that case, however, i am optimistic that our efforts to fix the ihs reimbursement issue and the improvements to native american health care would remain. even if the affordable care act is repealed entirely. and in that case native americans and the state would continue to benefit from that situation. now, i went through that quickly, and i'm sure you still have questions. over the past month i've organized four meetings around the state in aberdeen, in sioux falls, in pierre and in rapid
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city, for legislators to explain the projections and answer questions. i'm hosting another one this week. and i hope those of you who haven't attended one of the other meetings will be able to come. my request of you is this, all of you -- wait to pass judgment on this proposal until we receive final word from the federal government. take that time to scrutinize the cost estimates and ask questions. as i said last month, there are things about medicaid expansion that bother me also. but we all owe it to the people of south dakota to give this complex issue careful consideration this year. and if the plan comes together to improve health care for native americans and at the same time expand medicaid with no cost to us, i hope you'll agree it makes sense for south dakota. it just makes sense for our state. three years ago on another front, i first spoke to you about south dakota's high
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imprisonment rate for adult offenders, higher than any of our six surrounding states. per capita, we were locking up 75% more men than north dakota, four times as many women as minnesota. continuing on that path would have forced the state to build a new women's prison and a new men's prison within ten years. worst of all, our high imprisonment rate wasn't making our state any safer. today because of the public safety improvement act which you adopted, the prison population is now below initial projections, better than we even hoped, and we saved millions of dollars last year by avoiding the cost for a new women's prison. by avoiding the cost of constructing and operating new prisons, south dakota should save over $100 million in correctional costs this decade. also, thanks to criminal justice reforms, the parole success rate increased from 37% of parolees succeeding in fiscal '12 to 55%
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succeeding in fiscal year '15. today they can reduce their parole by a month of come pliges. for every month of perfect compliance they can reduce their parole term by a month. in just one year, over 7,000 days of parole credit was earned. and in addition, more nonviolent offenders are getting the help they need within their own communities. our reforms added new drug and dui courts throughout the state. in fact, we increased the number of drug courts by five times. today over 500 children have a parent who is enrolled in a drug or a dui court. instead of going to prison, these parents are getting the help they need while staying in their own homes and supporting their own families instead of putting those kids into foster care where we're supporting them. today we've also launched a pilot program for parole.
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under this program the tribe supervises enrolled parolees on the reservation so these parolees can return to their homes. as of last summer 97% of offenders in the pilot program have not absconded or committed a parole violation. now, according to the most recent crime reports from the fbi and our attorney general, south dakota's crime rate decreased from 2013 to 2014. and we can't definitively attribute the reduction in crime to the public safety improvement act, but it's certainly a positive sign. experts say it will take three to five years really to know, see all the results of these reforms and know if they have had the affect we intended. still, the early data is promising and i'm hopeful the reforms will save the state money, hold offenders accountable and make south dakota an even safer place. last year in that same vein, we also passed a significant reform of our juvenile justice system.
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the new policies are expected to cut in half the number of youth committed to the department of corrections allowing the state to reinvest in programs and practices that will achieve better outcomes. now, the state has been working to prepare for the most significant changes. they just became effective january 1st. the department of social services has identified a core set of effective programs to be available in communities. 12 contracts have been awarded to deliver what's called functional family therapy throughout south dakota and training for those providers is taking place right now. this program is designed to address adolescent behavior problems, substance abuse and delinquency and help families support their children in positive ways. the unified judicial system has been working to assure judges are aware of the statutory changes that impact them and that probation officers have the tools they need. probation officers will utilize a guide of graduated consequences much like in the
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adult system, to hold youth accountable for their conduct by responding consistently and quickly to violations and also to incentivize positive changes the department of corrections has created a financial incentive program to encourage counties to divert juveniles from detention to other programs and yet allow counties to request funds when the number of detention beds in a given calendar year exceeds an established baseline. and a native american focus group was established to determine how state and tribal governments can better partner to serve youth. the group recently held its third meeting in the department of tribal relations reports they've been receiving positive feedback from tribal leaders. just as the adult system reforms have helped us avoid building new prisons, the juvenile justice reforms are impacting our juvenile corrections facilities. over the last few years the number of juveniles sent to star academy has been decreasing
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already and the juvenile justice reforms are expected to reduce those numbers still further. we recently closed the star academy's east campus at the old youth forestry camp and consolidated programs at the main campus near custer. in the coming year star academy's programs will be downsized to reflect the smaller population being served there. in the midst of this downsizing, i must say the star academy staff members have continued to do their jobs with commitment and dedication. in some cases they may be working themselves out of a job. yet, staff members continue to work selflessly, placing the needs of the youth ahead of their own. i've also spoken to you several times before about workforce. south dakota continues to face a shortage of skilled workers. i hear from many business owners. they're delaying expansions or even turning work away because they simply cannot hire enough people. we've taken many steps to address this issue over the past
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few years and we all understand this is a marathon, not a sprint. it needs constant attention. we have a low unemployment rate and a nearly 1-1 ratio of job seekers to job openings. just like in the teacher shortage situation, 1-1 teams ideal, but most of those seeking jobs don't have the skills in this situation needed to perform the jobs that are available. there's a misalignment. and we must overcome this misalignment through education. more than ever before it's important for young people to continue their education beyond high school. the board of regents recently proposed a goal that 65% of young people in south dakota achieve a post secondary -- post secondary credential of some sort and i think that is a worthy goal to pursue. students need to be able to attend college or tech school and finish in a reasonable time without an unreasonable debt. two years ago we froze tuition
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to keep schooling affordable and my proposal this year to freeze tuition again by using onetime funds to pay debt will again move us toward tuition affo affordability. our successful state subsidized dual credit program also pursues this goal. these are the cheapest credits a student will ever take. and they help make college more affordable. last school year south dakota students saved more than $2.5 million by using this program. averaging more than $1,000 per student in savings. completing college credits while in high school also helps that student succeed in college. by reducing the course load they need to take because they already have credits under their belt. also, it can potentially reduce the time they need to graduate. the build south dakota scholarship -- excuse me, the build dakota scholarship is also making post secondary education an option for more young people. just over a year ago the state
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announced a partnership with danny sanford to create a $50 million fund for this full bright scholarship for those that will work in high-need, technical fields in south dakota. last fall, nearly 300 students made up the first class of build dakota skilled sko ed scholars. overall enrollment at the technical institutes went up and it went up even more in the high-demand programs. before we know the first build dakota scholars will be graduating and entering the workforce in south dakota. and, of course, young people need good information in high school to help them choose a career path. the department of labor and regulation recently rolled out a new system which enables people to view employment and wage outcomes by program for graduates of our public universities and technical schools. students and families can use this tool to make informed decisions on post secondary programs they're considering. for any degree program they can find out how many graduates are
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earning a wage in south dakota, how much graduates are making on average and in which industries those graduates are employed. the department is also overhauling its sd works jobs database. employers will post openings by the specific skills and competencies required for the job rather than using job titles and job descriptions. job seekers will have a tool to translate their resume into those same skills and competencies and this improvement will ensure there are no missed opportunities in making the match between employers and job seekers. as we face our work fort shortage there's untapped labor pool of people ready, willing, and completely able to work. the unemployment rate among americans with disabilities is over twice the unemployment rate than those without a disability, even though more of those with disabilities are working in south dakota, there are still too many south dakotans with disabilities who want a job but
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can't find one. my goal is to make south dakota an employment first state. this means making employment the first priority and the preferred outcome for our citizens with disabilities. as part of this employment first effort, we're working to change perceptions through the ability for hire campaign. the campaign launched in august when the department of human services partnered with the south dakota retailers association to educate employers about the process of finding and hiring people with disabilities. as we look to our next generation, we must not overlook south dakota's native americans. last year i established the native american student achievement advisory council to examine the issues impacting the education of native youth across the state. our native american students hold great promise as future leaders in their communities, of their tribes, and in our state. but we know that our native
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youth continue to underperform. the council met five teams over the course of the year, and the meetings included conversations with students who shared their very personal and powerful stories of struggle, challenge, and success. two important themes that emerged from these conversations were the students' desire for high expectations of them and the tremendous impact that caring teachers can have on their educational experience. in december the council issued its final report and offered several recommendations including creating a grant program to fund the establi establishment of up to three pilot schools aimed at improving academic outcomes for native american students. council members visited schools in other states which solidified their vision for an educational experience that incorporates not only academics, but an emphasis on the whole student including cultural background and on challenging students while also recognizing their individual interests and skills. recognizing the absolutely
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critical role that teachers play in a student's educational experience as well as the difficulty of attracting qualified candidates to teach in rural, isolated areas of the state, the council also recommended a program to assist paraprofessionals who already live and work in some of our struggling school districts to become fully certified teachers. this year as you know from the budget address, i'm recommending we allocate $2.2 million in onetime funds to start these efforts to improve educational outcomes for native american students. we need to do better in this area. we really need to do better. every year i report to you on our better government initiatives to make state government more efficient, more open, and more accessible. over the past five years we've made strides in these areas. let me just give you a few examples. the bureau of finance and management has revamped the open sd web portal, so if you haven't visited open sd in the last
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several months, i encourage you to take a look at it. the public can now easily -- more easily access state financial information. the bureau also posts financial metrics to its website every week. we launched the administrative rules website to help citizens find and follow rule making. we also established the boards and commissions portal which is the one-stop shop -- one-stop site, i should say, for meeting notices, agendas and information for the more than 100 state boards and commissions and that portal is going to be improved in the next couple months as well. we're continuing to improve that. we've improved on transparency so much that the u.s. public interest research group has named south dakota among the top states for transparency. since 2011, south dakota has improved its transparency rating from a "d" plus to now an "a" minus. and my administration has also worked on red tape repeal efforts. over the past five years we've proposed and you have supported
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the elimination over 4,000 sections of obsolete or unnecessary rules and laws, accounting for 450,000 words. this year state agency will -- state agencies will again be introducing still more bills to continue this effort. i know from my time as a legislator that the trend is always to add words to the statute books. thank you for helping us remove needless words as well. i will also be asking you to support my efforts to improve state government's internal controls. this has been brought to the forefront by the situation that has unfolded with midcentral co-op. as you know our secretary of education terminated midcentral's contract to administer the gearup grant after attempts to improve inaccurate and incomplete accounting failed to bring about improvement. at my request, the attorney general and the auditor general have begun conducting detailed
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investigations in to that matter. like every south dakotan, i am disappointed and disheartened when i learned about allegations of financial wrongdoing. i'm also frustrated at the necessarily slow pace of thorough criminal investigations. and like you, anxious to know the whole story. when a situation like this arises, it's important to handle it in an open and forthright manner and that's what i've tried to do. first we report to law enforcement and request an investigation. second, do everything possible to aid in that investigation. third, share information with the press and the public as soon as the investigation allows. and, finally, invite audits and reviews to identify areas to improve and act quickly to implement those recommendations. overall, south dakota in our state processes has very good internal controls. aimed at safeguarding state government assets and providing
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assurances that state and federal tax dollars are spent correctly. however, we've learned plainly that our processes don't go far enough to oversee entities outside of state government. these grantees or subrecipients are not part of state government but may be used by the state to administer federal grants. the state needs better internal controls to manage these entities that are arm's length to the state. we must install safe guards that will ensure that federal and state objectives are met, expenditures are documented and appropriate, and potential conflicts of interests are recognized and avoided. i've asked lieutenant governor michaels to lead an effort to review state government's internal control processes and recommend changes and in particular focus on situations involving the arm's length entities such as midcentral co-op where it's more difficult for state government to maintain
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direct oversight. i know lieutenant governor michaels is working closely with the bureau of finance and management and with your department of legislative audit to identify internal control reforms to be substituted in every agency that maintains relationships with third parties like this. having these controls in place will identify areas where the state can improve and prevent future problems from recurring. i hope to have a specific recommendations for your consideration during this legislative sessions. we can do a better job of providing oversight and transparency in these instances, and we will. you know, there are some things about my job that i enjoy more than others. i remember feeling that way as a legislator, too. many things are exciting, though, about things that are happening in south dakota right now, and i'd like to turn to a few of them and share them with you. i'm very excited about good
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earth state park at blood run. three years ago you approved $2 million to establish our newest state park. the south dakota wild parks and wildlife foundation is in the homestretch of a $7.5 million fund raising effort to match the public funds with private charitable gifts. this will pay for land acquisition, trail development, and a visitor's center with exhibits. trails have been established. native vegetation restoration is under way and an entrance road has been constructed. work on the new visitor's center is just now beginning where the native american history of the park will be told in a spectacular building near a wooded area. last summer seizing an unexpected opportunity, the parks and wildlife foundation acquired the spring creek country club property bordering the park to the south adding 200 acres to the park and increasing the park size by 25%. a portion of this property lies
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within the blood run national historic landmark and the preservation of those historic resources will become an important element of the park. my son chris and i canoed to good earth state park this past summer on the big sioux river, and it is just as beautiful when viewed from the riverside. in fact, we canoed up blood run creek. i am also enthused about all the progress under way at custer state park. last year the 50th buffalo roundup attracted a record crowd. over $3 million of private donations are supplementing the $1.5 million appropriation the legislature made in 2013 and the half a million dollar investment from game, fish and parks. contractors are making progress on the park's new visitor's center which is scheduled to open this spring. the new visitor's center will include a theater where visitors can view a film about the park before exploring it themselves.
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following the buffalo roundup last fall, work began on the resort improvements you authorized last year. the motel wings on the state game lodge are being remodeled and 15 old clapboard-sided cabins are being replaced with more spacious and modern units. the legion lakes store and restaurant are being replaced and upgraded and three additional reunion-style cabins are being added in the park. infrastructure improvements will follow next spring and renovations in the historic portion of the game lodge will begin next year. it is because of the generosity of many people that we're able to build world-class facilities at good earth state park and custer state park visitor's center. thanks to their generosity as well as the legislature's continued support, these parks will remain world-class destinations for generations to come. there is another world-class destination, though, in the black hills that i'd like to talk to you about today.
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over the past few months the spearfish canyon foundation has been working with the state game, fish and parks department to acquire beautiful property from home state mining company. within just a few few weeks, th foundation will donate funds to game fish and parks including spear fish falls. that land with two other sparseles is the genesis of this student. my hope is to establish spear fish canyon state park in the northern black hills. the proposed park would contain features in the canyon with spear fish falls, spear fish creek and fishing ponds. game fish and parks exist camping and fishing and
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sightseeing opportunities and upgrade roads. i remember being there when spear fish falls was restored. water flow that now feeds the falls had been diverted for 86 years for use in hydro powered generation for the home stake mining company. in 2003, home stake returned water to the stream and the long dry falls were reborn. i remember riding my bike, climbing the never ending hill and then going down the hill at full speed. whether on a snowmobile ride or a day enjoying the colors of the fall foliage, many people from across the state and nation found fond memories. the famous architect said this
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after his 1935 visit. how is it that we have heard so much of the grand canyon when this is more miraculous. my hat is off to south dakota treasures. i am excited about making spear fish canyon more accessible as the newest state park. we have many steps to go before this idea can become a reality. the senator is leading an effort by the delegation to authorize a federal state land exchange. this is not a certainty, but we are hopeful. this map shows the property in which the state owns or will shortly acquire with a spear fish camera and the outline shows the surrounding national forest land which we hope to add to it to comprise the larger part. the state has been instrumental in improving and protecting
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spear fish canyon. i believe this will carry on that tradition to preserve and improve had to this yule for future generations. another and will be literally on the horizon this fall. this is called dignity that will be placed on the high bluff near the louis and clark rest area. as a gift to the people of south dakota and a tribute of native people, they have commissioned south dakota artist to design and create this sculpture of a native american woman receiving a star quilt. the sculpture will be lit at
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night and i believe dignity will become one as well. they will be unveiled in december. i would like to talk about the railroads. rail may not be as visible, but i am excited by what was made. they possess only modest grain, our state relies on railroads to deliver the grain to out of state markets. the u.s. department of transportation awarded the railroad a tiger grant and to install a long siding near philipp. a siding project may seem
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insignificant. today that 165 mile stretch has no siding long enough for head to head trains to pass each other. a train leaving forces a train in rapid city to wait for the train to reach the area before that. construction of the new siding will allow up to 100 more trains to run over the section if demand warrants. this is good news and this good news follows the state launch just over a year ago of four other rail projects in south dakota. two involve sidings and reconstruction of a portion of the sioux valley line. a larger project will upgrade the line in northeast south dakota. this project will construct that
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and replace it with heavy rail to handle modern traffic. dirt work is complete and final delivery of heavy rail will be in march and installation will begin in spring. a $30 million grain terminal is under construction prompted by the rail improvements. another project was supported in part by the appropriation of $7.3 million. this is reconstructing the line which between chamberlain has been unusable for many years. here's a picture of how that deteriorated. work is on schedule with 90% complete and the balance to be finished by the end of march. the bridge work is complete with minor punch list items
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remaining. 100% of the tiles and anchors and bolts on hand. rail but not ties is in place for near reliance. go figure that out. we will go back to install ties and anticipate an operating railroad. the grain and fertilizer terminal prompted by the improvement will be complete as well. i'm pleased with the former home stake mine. the experiment and the associated long base line facility made great progress this past year. the proposed experiment will fire a beam from the lab outside chicago where it houses huge
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detectors to give them information never before collected. that's to install the rock will handling equipment and make site preparations for the monumental experiment. we are hopeful it will be and they put the lap in an unprecedented condition to succe succeed. residents will move into a veteran's home in hot springs. many of you were here to support construction of this new home and you know it has not been easy. our first request was denied.
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the lieutenant governor and department of veterans affairs considered designs and working with the va. after months of long meetings, the federal va extended giving us time without additional state funds. now the home is finally finished and has been completed on time, under budget and debt-free. it is a fitting tribute and a grand opening event is planned for the spring. for the past two years, the department of veterans affairs has been on a mission to contact all veterans in south dakota with over 70,000 veterans, this has been a challenging undertaking. this year they are focused on
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contacting veterans of the korean war. over 60 years have passed since the armestice was signed, wedged between world war ii and vietnam. the war has been referred to as the forgotten war. to thank our heroes and let them know they are not forgotten, the republic of korea is awarding ambassador of peace medals to all american veteran who is sacrificed for freedom. hundreds of metals will be confer the at the capital and other locations. joining us today from south korea is the honorable park, the minster the veterans affairs. let's welcome them to south dakota.
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>> following today's state of state address, i invite all of you to join us in the rotunda where veterans will receive the korean ambassador for peace medal. it will start at 2:30. thus you know we are rapidly approaching. south da coat ans can be very proud of our state. i am proud that in south dakota, we stayed true to our values and
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exercised frugality and good stewardship rather than following the path taken by other states. we remain self reliant while coming to the aid of neighbors when they need a hand and look where the values have broad us. our budget is balance and we have no unfunded liabilityings. we have upgraded our credit rating to aaa. we made improvements to schools, rails and medicaid providers. we're keeping up the capital building through regular maintenance. we comprehensively reformed the criminal justice systems. our tax burden is low. our regulations are reasonable. and our stellar business climate is bringing in agp, ad, lehigh defense and fresh logistics.
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i remain committed to our values and meet the challenges we face. we will join together i know to meet the challenges and to serve our state. i am proud of what we accomplished together over the past five years. i am looking forward to the work ahead and continue to believe the best days of yet ahead. >> the governor delivered a
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state of the state address at the vermont statehouse in montpelier. [ applause ]
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it is now my honor to present to you the honorable pet peter e.schumlin. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you, thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you so much. mr. president, mr. president protem, mr. speaker, mr. chief
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justice, senator leahy, general heston, members of the general assembly, distinguished guests, and fellow vermont ans. thank you all so much. i'm also really excited to welcome today the person who stood by me every day of my governorship. you have been patient and loving and supporterive. my love, your first lady. >> i am as honored and humbled to stand before you today as i was giving my first inaugural
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address in 2011. that day i spoke with affection about our last governor from put me in. three quarters of a century ago he stood before this and reflected on the challenges and progress of his day. he said during these four years, vermont in common with the rest of the nation has experienced changes and put into practice new functions of government that were either unforeseen or in the visionary stages a few years ago. our task has been to apply these innovations in a practicable manner. 75 years later his words call to mind our own efforts over the last five years.
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when i became governor, i promised to focus every day on making the lives of vermonters more secure. secure in an economy that grows jobs and works for everybody. secure with the smarter energy policy that relies on vermont-grown energy while protecting our planet and economy. secure with an education system that gives all vermont kids an equal shot at success. secure in the justice system that relies less on incarceration and more on rehabilitation. secure in the health care system that offers coverage to all and costs vermonters less. from day one, i made it clear that i didn't run for office to be a caretaker. i ran to get tough things done. i ran for governor because
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vermont is a great state. i wanted to make it greater. i knew it wouldn't be easy. i ended my first address to you with these words. our obstacles are many and challenges are daunting. it could not happy quickly or easily. it is not easy, but together we accomplished so much. vermont is a better place to live. it's a better place to work. it's a better place to raise a family than it was when we began. there have been times when we encountered rough places women
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have been successful for the most part. both are as true today as they were. we put vermont back to work. we started at the trough of a great recession, unsure whether we would be able to build back. soon after, i will instruct. we were down and got knocked down again. we added 17,600 new jobs in the past five years and the incomes are at or above the national average and that never happened in vermont's history.
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we expended health insurance to 19,000 vermonters who had no coverage when i took office. no coverage! in my forth coming budget speech, i will address the important work left to do with the health care system and we have plenty of it. this hard work and these positive statistics are about real vermonters who have been helped to better times. kristi was living the dream with her husband and eight children when her husband became ill. they were forced to sell the family farm. she was only able to get a part-time job at the time. she was struggling to support her family when she found a free job training opportunity sponsored by the state to work as a medical coder.
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now kristi is earning a great salary with excellent benefits and describes the job training that she found as a life changer for her. they are here in the chamber. stand up so we can recognize you and thank you for your fight for sticking with it. thank you. thank you. now, while there thousands of success stories like kristi's, there still vermonters stuck with bills that are piling up faster than they can pay them. we have more work to do. vermonters who are stick should not have to choose between going to work or losing their job. this is not just about fairness
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to employees. it is about protecting all of us. almost 90% of food workers report they go to work sick. according to the cdc, 65% of foodborne illnesses result from the handling of food by someone who is sick. i'm encouraged that they are committed to getting the house passed to my desk. let's get that done this year. in the race to the bottom where states cannibalized each other for jobs, vermont succeeded by being smart, not big. two years ago we added to our job creation arsenal the vermont
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enterprise fund. in my budget will i ask you to enhance and extend it because of our job creating successes. this tool helped us create 70 new jobs at gw plastics in royalton. i am proud to announce today that bhs composites from quebec is expanding to vermont with 75 new manufacturing jobs in st. john's thanks to the enterprise fund. now the ceo and her husband and vice president are here today. thank you for being vermont's newest job create ares and for believing in vermont.
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stand up wherever you might be. thank you. >> thank you. we will make sure you don't regret it. 4400 of the new jobs we created are because of the new face of locally grown food in vermont. 4400. it was not that long ago that many believes our best farming days were behind us. today a new young generation of farmers are competing for land and resources and they are producing the best fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, beer, cider, and spirits in the world.
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in the world. in the past two years, i had the privilege of moving america's best cheese award from one vermont farm to another vermont farm. take that, wisconsin. take this. i'm not done. long known out of staters for the great deer hunting. i love to hunt deer. flat landers are coming to vermont to hunt beer. no, they are literally rising at dawn to drive to the promise land where they stand in a long
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line and they wait and they wait and they wait some more to purchase vermont's beers. here's the point. we can't let up. we can't let up on the farm to plate, farm to glass and farm to can revolution. i am pleased to announce $175,000 in new money for the working lands fund which has been a catalyst in that agricultural renaissance. we have generous donations of
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$100,000 from lee and charles from townsend. 50,000 from the progressive farm alliance and 25,000 from the trip. we are honored to have them backed up and thank you for supporting the farm resolution. >> as we travel talking to employers, the biggest challenge was finding enough educated workers to help them grow. you can find them, they will grow. they know that our success in moving the kids beyond high
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school will tomorrow their success. by expanding a number of kids earning college credit while they are still in high school and becoming the only state to guarantee every three and four-year-old access we have taken the good education system and made it better. congratulations. icate is a single mom working in johnson and raising her 4-year-old daughter. finding affordable child care has been tough and critical to her job. thanks to our expansion of pre-k programs, kate's daycare in mud city was able to offer kate and her daughter exactly what they
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need. thank you for being here. thank you for showing them how to get it done. now, despite having one of the highest graduation rates in the country, we fall short getting more students the college education that is now a rerequisite to earning a decent wage. we must ensure vermonters who are not born with mountains of opportunity have the same shot at economic prosperity as those who are. they have to help families start saving from the day their children are born. now we must fund it. my budget will ensure that every
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child born in vermont will receive a $250 contribution to get that savings plan for college started and low income vermonters will double that. $500 a child. we need to make it easier for those who are working hard to get back to school. i constantly talk to vermonters who ended their studies and working numerous jobs to make ends meet, long for a better future and more education, but don't have two pennies to rub to pay for it. the other night i went to
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morrisville and i visited the man up program that offers support and mentoring for young men who are in exactly this situation. last year he was a line took and justin working at a grocery store. these two brothers are back on track, back on their academic careers. brandon, justin and billy dunham are here today. stand up and recognize them for pulling this off. now, it's our responsibility to offer the same opportunity to
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every vermonter. to every woman and every man. i propose that we not just man up. let's step up for everyone. let's do it. >> in partnership with the vermont state colleges and uvm, my budget will provide two million to launch. funding a semester of free courses and support services that are critical. to help first generation and lower income students to get back to school like justin and brandon. now, global foundries has agreed to offer mentoring support to
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step up students. mike russo and kimberly finnegan are here today. mike and kimberly, thank you for investing in vermont and our step up program. stand up so we can give you a hand. thank you so much. they are working better than most of us would have an dissipated. communities across vermont are having the very difficult, but necessary conversations about how we write our enterprise to improve quality for students and reduce costs overtime for
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taxpayers. the spending caps that were a tiny part of the bill, i believe has become the enemy of the good. i ask you to work swiftly in the coming weeks to pass a moratorium or repeal of this has to send them to printers. let's get that done together. the most tropical christmas in memory, the most prop cal christmas in memory should remind us that climate change threatens the ver mond we love from the ski season to our lakes. that's why we are working so hard to move to renewable energy
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that is creating jobs and reducing power rates and putting money in vermonters's pockets as we do it. we are living in a state where electric bills have gone down, not up for three of the past four years. when i became governor, our largest power the power plant. we now have more clean energy jobs per capita than any state in america.
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during peak demand, solar power replaced it as the largest power generator in our state. folks didn't think that was possible. now, last year we passed the most ambitious and long overdue clean water bill in vermont's history. than marcel that the lake is a great lake. that's right. no one worked harder to make it greater than the leahy team. they are with us and thank you for all you have done with our lake and all you have done for vermont and all you do in america. we are so happy.
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>> as the team can tell you, the clock keeps ticking. we are running out of time. and the urgency for us to take every sensible action against climate change has never been greater. california under governor brown's leadership recently passed a bill to divest state funds from dirty coal and explore from big oil. our small state must partner with california which manages hundreds of billions of dollars of state funds and divest
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vermont of coal and let's do it now. >> i will need to remind you that vermont is downwind of the coal fired plants to the west. we are the tail pipe to their dirty energy choices. their pollution sickens our children and creates acid rain and dumps mercury on the forests and the lakes and increases green house gas emissions. while you are doing that, governor brown and i will invite other governors to join us in
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what should be a national effort. let's do it together. vermont should not "twilight" rid ourselves of the exxon-mobil stock. it has been clearly documented since the 1980s that their own scientists have long known about the dangers of global warming and those to conceal it from the public. at the same time that they were building the rigs taller to account for rising sea levels, they were funding groups as scientists to deny that climate change is real. this is a page that denied the health risks of their products
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while they were killing people. owning the stock is not a business rermont should be in. let's sell it. now, there is no one who has done more to promote divestiture than bill. bill is here today. thank you for your leadership. stand up, if you would and thank you for all you are doing for climate change.
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>> since we took office, we helped thousands and thousands of families and farms and businesses with small scale methane, solar, wind, and hydro. we can't stop there. we need more renewables to power vermont. we are learning as we go. last year we gave them more say in the public service board process. i believe we should continue to build on a vermont scale rejecting projects that gobble up hundreds of acres and require them to pay for costly grid upgrades. we must also reject anti-renewable extremists who shut down renewables through moritoriums and other job-killing tactics.
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instead, let's give an economic advantage for locating solar on roof tops, ground fields, landfills and other already developed plans where we currently have transmission capacity. it makes good sense. let's do it. homegrown and not corporate sgroen vermo grown is vermont's future. let's not forget that. >> you all remember it was a lonely place when vermont had the courage to acknowledge the terrible disease of opiate addiction that was threatening the quality of life and killing
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too many of our neighbors. today there can't be a state in the union that hasn't joined us. our innovation over the past two years is getting results. 65% more vermonters are getting treatment. we are moving addicts into recovery instead of jail. by getting rescue kids to anyone who will take them, we prevented hundreds and hundreds of overdose deaths. we saved lives. most important low, we removed the stigma that discriminates against friends and family members struggling so hard against this terrible disease. recently i met megan and chelsea. two young moms who are beating
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addiction to build a better future for their children. chelsea became addicted, homeless, and alone and her daughter was taken from her. success meant fighting relapse with all of her might and falling and crawling back up again. megan had a college degree, worked in early childhood education and began using opiate as an adult, an example of how easily things can get out of hand and how quickly someone can fall into the pit of addiction. with the help of our treatment system and the center, chelsea and megan are doing the hard work to recover. megan and chelsea are here today. stand up and thank you for your streng strength.
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i said two years ago opiate addiction is the one they think could destroy vermont as we have known it. today we live almostdale we drug-related violence. whether it's dealers getting shot on church street or people burning to death after being doused with gasoline.
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the horrors seem unimaginable. we live with despair, crime, death and small children neglected by the people that are supposed to love them the most. so much of this burden lands on the shoulders of our state's social workers who spend every day making difficult, tough, unfriendly choices to protect and give hope to heroin's most innocent victims. our most vulnerable children. we will manufacture honor our very best whose love and compassion for every child, every family, every vermonter she touched shall be forever edged in our femmery.
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indeed it's the commitment. her daughters, her husband, her family. give us the faith in our common humanity to keep pressing on. to continue our search for a smarter approach as folks continue to be addicted faster than we can treat them. we are so honored to be joined today by her two daughters and her husband. thank you. stand up, if you would. we will never forget your mom.
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to continue the legacy, let's give her colleagues the support they need to do their job. by approving my request to fund 35 new positions at the department of children and families and help me take measures to ensure their safety in the workplace. let's do that. we also need to take two
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additional actions to deal with our addiction crisis. first in order to meet our goal of getting rid of the waiting list, we must continue to expand treatment. in franklin county where approximately 250 folks have to travel to other hubs for treatment, my health department is working with the northwest medical center to expand treatment options closer to home. in addition, we are also working with the hospital to increase the effects of opiate for a full months. in burlington, harry chen is working with the mayor and the medical center and recovery providers and to prevent addiction and reduce drug-related crime and expand
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treatment options there. the department of children and families are sending to drug screeners out and into homes to children being abused or neglected. parents with young children in the d.c. f symptom will be moved to the front of the line until the waiting lists are gone. second, let's go after the source that led us into this mess in the first place. it's difficult for me to find words that express my frustration, but i can find the three letters that are at the root of the problem.
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fda. in the 1990s, the fda approved oxycontin that lit the match that ignited the heroin and addiction crisis. in 2010, we prescribed enough to keep every adult in america high for an entire month. in 2012, we issued enough prescriptions to give every american adult their own personal bottle of pills. on television, they see commercials for drugs whose sole purpose is to help relieve the side effects of taking opiate. you know the words we have fda approved drugs to help you take more fda-approved opiate. a few years ago, the fda
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approves oxycontin on steroids against the recommendation of their own advisory committee. they approved oxycontin for kids. you cannot make this stuff up. the $11 billion a year opiate industry in america knows no shame. compassionate pain management is transformed into drug promotion and profit. until america is willing to have an honest conversation about the way we are dealing with pain, our challenges will continue unabated. in light of this, i ask you to help me implement the following. first, we are putting it into the system where doctors and
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dentists and providers cent patients home with 80, 90 pills in their pockets. a maximum of ten pills will be the limit for minor procedures. >> we are also looking at reasonable limits for measured procedures that provide pain relief without filling up the medicine cabinets with unused opiate. that's just vermont common sense. let's get it done together. second, we are going to partner with local pharmacies and
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communities to expand drug take back programs to get rid of vermont's most dangerous leftovers. that too is good common sense. 30, we are partnering with neighboring states to upgrade the monitoring system to prevent them from crossing state borders to go pill shopping. ski for support on all three of the actions. we must also continue the good proo gress we have made. it shouldn't surprise anybody that when you take people's driver's licenses for non-driver-related offenses like underage tobacco purchases that we end up with four times as
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many vermonters with suspended driver's licenses than we have enrolled in the state college system, four times. that's right. i want to recognize our innovative state's attorney who worked with us to create two driver restoration days in wind s windsor county. stand up. the stories that we heard from low ranking vermonters made me ask this. why are we creating a permanent economic disability and making it so difficult for people who
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want to improve their lives. i ask you to make restoration days unnecessary. abolish them boy passing legislation that ensures that non-traffic-related offenses don't lead to vermonters losing their ability to get to work and drop their kids off at school. it's just common sense. let's do it together. the outdated war on drugs has also failed. we all know that. there is no greater example than our nation's marijuana laws. that's why vermont took steps to change our criminal penalties and institute a well-regulated medical marijuana system that
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now serves 2400 vermonters. this careful approach shows that we know how to regulate marijuana thoughtfully and cautiously avoiding the pitfalls that caused other states to stumble where vermont succeeded. so we have a track record. but the black market of drug dealers selling marijuana for recreational use is alive and well in our state. serving over 80,000 vermonter who is reported using marijuana just last year. 80,000. these dealers could not care less. how young their customers are, what's in the products they sell, or what illegal drugs you can buy from the rest of their stash while you are there, much less whether they pay taxes on the earnings. that's why i will work with you
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to craft the wright bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably. to do it right, we must do it deliberately and cautiously step by step. roll it out as they legislate what went before us. they must keep marijuana out of the hands of kids that the current system does not. our new system must. second, the tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the market and get rid of the
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dealers. fourth, we must strengthen law enforcement's current capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana who are already driving on vermont's roads right now. and fifth, take a hard lesson learned from other states and ban the sale of edibles until other states figure out how to do that one right. do that one right. those are the five things that are good common sense. now, i understand that the senate's going to go first, and i look forward to working with senate president pro tem john campbell, with the senate leadership, senator sears and the senate judiciary committee to construct a sensible, cautious bill. we have a history of tackling
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difficult issues with respect and care the vermont way. i believe we have the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right the vermont way. let's do it together. as we begin a new year and start a new legislative session, we commit ourselves anew to the work ahead. i know that there are those critics who perpetually see the cup, vermont's cup, as half empty. while some pessimists talk down our economy, vermonters know -- they know that we continue to make progress growing jobs,
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attracting businesses because of our unique quality of life, our tight-knit communities and our dedicated, innovative workforce. while some cynics call endlessly for vermont to join the race to the bottom taking place in some other states, i believe we should continue our commitment to clean jobs, clean water, clean energy, and a quality educational system. our cup is not half empty. it's overflowing with the most hard-working, most resilient, most rugged, innovative people in america. that's vermonters. together we aspire rightfully for a brighter future, and vermonters deserve leadership that is forward looking and unafraid.
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that's right. while some want vermont to join the majority of governors in our nation in closing its borders to the syrian refugees fleeing violence and death, i believe vermont must not abandon its long heritage of being a welcoming state to those who are escaping unimaginable horror, unimaginable horror, to seek a better life.
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how many of us can claim that our own family's arrival in america, fleeing famine, religious oppression, dictatorship or war was not a motivation to come here? vermonters have a long tradition and a proud tradition of rejecting racism, bigotry, bullying, intolerance, and fear. you know, when mccarthyism reared its ugly head in america, senator akin cautioned his own republican party that sought, and i quote, victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance. more than half a century later, the same un-american spirit
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dominates our political dialogue. we are so blessed to live in a state where so many reject fear and hatred. and i pledge to continue to work with president obama, with our congressional delegation, our refugee resettlement community, clergy, volunteers, and our mayors to make our state a beacon of hope and hospitality to muslims, to our syrian brothers and sisters, to all who seek to build a better life right here in vermont. let's do that.
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now this news probably won't surprise you, but i love being governor. and i'm so grateful for the privilege of serving you. those of us entrusted by the people of vermont to effect positive change have the unique opportunity every day of putting words into action. our time is now to make a difference in the lives of vermonters. let's get to work. thank you so much.
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thank you. thank you. a number of campaign evens to tell you about this weekend in new hampshire ahead of that state's first in the nation primary. coming up tomorrow, hillary clinton will hold a get out the vote campaign rally in portsmouth. live at 7:15 p.m. eastern. sunday, florida senator marco rubio holds a town hall meeting in bedford live at 10:45. later in the day, donald trump in holderness at 1:00 p.m. eastern. watch all of our coverage this weekend live from new hampshire
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on our companion network c-span. ♪ i'm voting for bernie sanders because he's honest and he has a good record and he cares about the people and really wants to make changes. >> i think this election's really important to participate in because it's such a historic race and our color has never been more polarized. if you don't participate you don't have a voice. >> i'm participating because this year istr55qájjt to be historic. either side could give us the first female president. >> the most important issue as a citizen and taxpayer should be the growing national debt. state department sanctions policy coordinator daniel fried took part in a discussion hosted by american university school of international service here in washington. he explained several lessons he's learned over the years coming the use and application of sanctions and discussed the
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current sanctions regimes against russia, iran and north korea. >> welcome, everyone. thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. i'm jim goldgeier, dean of the school of international service at american university. it's a great pleasure to continue our dean's discussion series this year with ambassador daniel freid, who i was just thinking as we walked up here, it was 20 years ago that we worked together in my brief stint in the government. he's had an incredibly distinguished career in the foreign service. he's currently the state department's coordinator for sanctions policy. prior to that, ambassador freid served as special envoy for closure of the guantanamo detainee facility, which we will discuss briefly because we can't
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not bring it up even though the main focus of our conversation would be on sanctions. and he also had additional responsibilities as the secretary's special adviser from november 2011. served previously as assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs and before that u.s. ambassador to poland and a number of other postings in the foreign service. so, it's wonderful to welcome you to the school of international service. thanks for being here. >> thanks for the opportunity. appreciate it. >> so, one of the interesting things about u.s. foreign policy in recent years is as people have gotten -- grown disillusioned with the effectiveness of military force as an instrument of coercion in american foreign policy, a lot of attention has focused on sanctions as a way to try to get others to do what we want and not have to -- not have to use

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