South Dakota State of the State Address 2000
By Stateline Staff
PIERRE, South Dakota - Jan. 11 - Following is the partial text of Gov. William Janklow's 2000 State of the State Address:
Thank you very, very much. Madam Lieutenant Governor Hillard, Mr. Chief Justice Miller, and members of the Supreme Court, you Ladies and Gentlemen who are Constitutional officers, and you Ladies and Gentlemen of the South Dakota Legislature, thank you for that greeting that you've just given to the other constitutional officers and me.
As I start today, I really can't help but reflect on the fact of what the obvious is. That is that you and I and all of us are embarking on a new century. This is a state that's a little over 110 years old in terms of its formality, but it's a state that's had an incredibly rich and diverse history. It's a state that's, frankly, had more challenges than most states in the Union. It's out in the center of America. It was one of the last states in the lower 48 to be developed and to come into the Union. And for a whole host of reasons, a lot of things that have happened elsewhere in America never really came to South Dakota. But as we embark on the new century, you and I and each and every one of us have an incredibly unique opportunity to truly, truly do the things that a hundred years from now will cause folks of any and all political parties to look back and reflect on what we all did together that made a difference in theirs and their predecessors' lives.
Today, I come to speak to you about the state of what I see as the affairs of the State of South Dakota. As I do that, I'd like to run through just a quick analysis or snapshot of various areas that are of incredible importance to all of us.
Let's talk about the kids in this state for a few minutes. We in South Dakota, all of us as elected officials, talk about what we believe with respect to young people, how we want to deal with young people, and what our responsibilities are. But the fact of the matter is, to each and every one of us, that we really need to stand back and reflect on where we are succeeding and where we are failing. Fortunately for us in South Dakota, in the vast majority of instances when children are born, they're born into a robust, healthy, dynamic family. They're born to people who want them. They're born into circumstanceswhether they be born into wealth or no wealththey're born into circumstances where they receive the nurturing and the care and the understanding and the growth and the types of things that any human being needs when it's in a defenseless state as it starts to learn.
Each and every one of us, if we're born normal, is born with 100 billion brain cells. What we do with them really depends on the kind of assistance we have in the beginning in developing them. We're born with them, but they're like a magnificent computer. They can't do anything by themselves initially, other than breathe and eat and just a few functions. What we propose to do over the course of this fiscal yearwe're not even waiting until next fiscal yearis, with every child born in South Dakota, we're going to give them a welcome kit into the family of this state. We're going to give them a little book, the Good Night Moon Book, we're going to give an Ages and Stages Guidethat's just a couple sheets of paper that say what the age-appropriate things are for children at various stages of their early development. We're going to give them a Mozart CD, a Food for Thought videowhich is the video that we showed to you Ladies and Gentlemen of the Legislature a year ago who cared to watch itto show how incredibly important it is that children are read to, how incredibly important it is in terms of how their minds develop, even in the first couple months, when they're subjected to reading and that quality time that adults take with children. We're going to give them all a local library membership card, a little book on parenting tips to the parents, and a resources guide that says where you can go if you're interested to get books and music and videos and things of that nature. We're establishing a toll-free number that will start in mid-day and go until mid-evening that's available for anybody in this state to callwhether they be a babysitter, a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, whatever it isto ask questions about a child at any given moment when they may need to feel that they have something that needs to be answered.
We're moving forward understanding that 62 percent of all the children in this state that are born now are subjected to a hearing test before they leave the hospital. I've written to the medical providers and the hospitals over the course of the last week. I've asked them if there's a way that they can figure out how they can subject the remaining 38 percent of all the children born in South Dakota to hearing exams before they go home without us having to try and address it in a regulatory or a legislative way. I really believe that once we ask them, they'll figure out how to come together to do this so that all children who are born in South Dakota will have a hearing exam before they go home.
It's our objective to make sure that every child born in this state has significant screening with respect to their hearing and their vision and their developmental aspects before the age of three. This will give all of us as a society the opportunity to address unique needs the children may have before they get to school-age years and before it becomes a far greater burden in terms of the ability of the child to learn and the expense or the involvement that society has to take. Children that are born with handicaps are far more adaptable when they're young than when they get older. It's no different than all of us. It's far easier for us to learn when we're young than it is when we get older.
We're starting a comprehensive parenting program, which we've talked to you Ladies and Gentlemen of the Legislature about before. Over the course of the last couple of years, you have passed legislation that makes it mandatory that anybody convicted of domestic violence must be subjected as part of their sentence to a course with respect to parenting. Ladies and Gentlemen, that's beginning to make a difference in terms of the attitudes of people out within our society. It's beginning to make a difference in terms of the violence that we see subjected by individuals towards each other. In addition to that, all of the individuals that are in our correctional facilities must go through a parenting course.
Now, we're moving on to the next step, moving to interactive video through what we have available in the schoolswhich I'll be talking about in a few minutesbut in addition to that, through utilizing the publicly-owned mediapublic television, public radioin assisting in utilizing those facilities to bring about parenting training for individuals throughout the state.
We've got a Web page that should be up and running in just a couple of weeksI've actually just this morning looked at a test of it up on an Internet sitewhere we will try and put together on that site all the information that we gather of an interactive nature, where people can spin into other Web sites on the Internet to find out information with respect to early childhood and children and the development of children, nutrition of children, health care of children, educational aspects of children. All of the various types of things that society has been able to gather as information that's available on the information networks, we're going to make available through that Web page that anybody can tap into free, at no cost, anytime, twenty-four hours a day.
As you all know, we worked together passing laws and funding programs to deal with immunizations in South Dakota, several years ago. I can happily report to you today that we've gone from an average of 64 percent success in what we call age-appropriate immunizations, the first two years, we've gone to 74, almost 75 percent over the course of the last three and one-half years. Our goal is 100 percent. But, we put the infrastructure in place that will now allow us to move forward very, very quickly in making up the gap with respect to the remainders.
Wellmark, the former Blue Cross/Blue Shield, has made a substantial donation to the state that, in partnership with the funding that's available from the state, is going to make sure that all the children in South Dakota get their vaccinations for chicken pox, and we're going to collapse it from both directions. They're going to provide funding to do it from the age of five backwards as we do the age-appropriate from zero forwards. So, in just a couple of years, we should be able to collapse the unimmunized, and we will be able to say that every child in this state is protected from the ravages of chicken poxnot just because of what it means to the children. It actually can save the lives of children, but it keeps them from having disabilities throughout life. The economic costs in our society to parents that have to miss work and parents that have to stay home and all of those types of things are immense. They're an immense drag on the economy in a state that can ill afford it, and we'll be able to deal with it as we move forward on this whole immunization program.
We're going to have a home visitation program that we start in Minnehaha County and Pennington County, working in conjunction with local agencies within those communities. Our goal is, over the course of the next year, to visit 400 children where it's deemed appropriate by the authorities, by the hospital officials, by medical personnel, by school personnel, state Social Services and Human Services, and Labor and Education Department officials. Where it's deemed appropriate, we will offer the resources of the state and the local communities to go in to assist young children400 of themin Pennington and Minnehaha Counties, where we'll do our pilot program to see how those programs carry forward.
Over the course of the last year, we've been able to move forward. We've talked a lot about education, and I realize that educational funding is an important dynamic, but in addition to that, there are a lot of other aspects of how well we are doing with the resources that we have. This state, fortunately, and I say fortunately, has always been able to buy a phenomenal amount of quality education for what we've been able to afford to pay. As you all recall, we've really worked hard on standards over the course of the last several years. As you'll remember from speeches that I've given, our goal of this administrationand, frankly, all of you Ladies and Gentlemen of the Legislature who have supported us on thisis to have standards that are uniform throughout the state. They're universal in terms of their application; they're universal in terms of their content. And they would be clear. They would be measurable. They would be very specific. They'd be very demanding. And they would be comprehensive.
As you recall, several years ago, I put a couple of examples up of gibberish, which were the old standards. I can happily report to you today that the Fordham Foundation, which is one of the major organizations in the country that analyzes school issues and school standards and those types of things, has reported over the course of the last two weeks that South Dakota has gone from forty-third in the nation to the number eight place in the nation in just two years with respect to the standards that we've implemented. As a matter of fact, the grade that we received for mathematicsthey grade us just like a studentis an A. We have as high a rating for our mathematics standards as anybody in the nation. And, the point that I'm making with this is that we can be proud of what it is that we're putting in place that are the goals by which all of us have the responsibility for seeing to it that our children are educated.
Education involves things in addition, in addition, to just setting standards, and we all know that. We've always known that in South Dakota. I deliberately have engaged upon the approach of engaging in a dialog orif you want to call it thata monologue on this whole education question with respect to where we stand. It is too important not to. I honestly believe it is far more important than any political risks that are involved. These children out there that I'm talking about belong to Democrat parents. They belong to Republican parents. They belong to Independent parents. They belong to parents that aren't involved in any political parties or aspect. And yours and my responsibility is an absolute duty to make sure that we put in place the structure that enables them to have a world-class educational opportunity. There is nothing less, nothing less that we're entitled to do for the kids of this state, and testing is part of that.
Testing is clearly part of it. There isn't a one of us as a parent, and none of us I guarantee you ever had parents that would have sent their children to a school that said the greatest attribute of our school is that we don't test the children. We live in a society that believes in testing. Now, we have to make sure the tests are fair. We have to make sure that the tests cover the materials that are studied, and that's why we have standards. We have to make sure that the tests are appropriate. But once we've done those things, we have to test to know where we stand within our own class, where we stand vis--vis other classes within our school system, and where we stand vis--vis the neighboring schools and the rest of the schools in South Dakota and America and the world. It's the only way that we know. We have to measure how well we're doing.
We have to be very, very concerned that we deal with this question of the future certification of teachers. It is too important to deal with willy-nilly. We face the prospect that a large number of our classroom teachers and educators will be retiring over the course of the next half-decade to a decadea huge turnover. And, honestly, public employee retirement programs are feeding into that, because people are reaching the appropriate age measurements of time and service, which give them the ability to leave and go out into another profession. And, in tight labor markets like we have now in America and South Dakota, it's easy to leave an occupation and go to another one and get your retirement and move on and up elsewhere with another opportunity. You and I have a unique responsibility to make sure that the certification we do of teachers or that we allow of teachers is appropriate for our children. We have to be very, very concerned about teacher education. We have to make sure that our five public universities out of the six that have colleges of education are, and stay, on the leading edge of how you train classroom instructors. In the K-8 mold, as well as the high school mold, we have to make sure across the whole K-12 spectrum that we have world-class educator education.
I'm going to be assembling a task force. I probably won't get it done until spring. I'm asking classroom teachers, I'm asking school administrators, I'll be asking citizens of all political persuasions from all over South Dakota, representing large as well as small, and East River as well as West River, and minority school districts as well as majority school districts, and the whole spectrum of citizens, a group of them, to come together to take a look, in a comprehensive citizen way, at the aspect of, Where are we as we embark on the new century? And, How do we want to get into the future? It's not always an issue that you and I can deal with in a legislative sense. It's not always an issue that I can deal with, or any governor can deal with, in a regulatory or an administrative sense. Sometimes, we honestly need to stand back and get the input from the broad base of our citizenry as to where we are, where we want to go, and then you and I have the responsibility to help chart the road map on how we can get there.
We're going to be asking some former Teachers of the Yeara phenomenal group of people in this state, a phenomenal group of peoplewe're going to be asking some former Teachers of the Year to come into the employment of the government for one year, one school academic year. We desperately need them. I've talked to some of these people, and we desperately need them to go out and visit with other classroom educators. We desperately need them to go to our universities to talk to our colleges of education. And, very honestly, we desperately need them to go out to the length and breadth of South Dakota in its hinterland, talking to editorial boards and the media, and talking to Rotaries and Kiwanises and Lions and BPWs and AAUPs and all kinds of organizations. We need them to explain to the people of South Dakota what they are, what they're like, and what their mission is, because if we do that, if we're able to do that successfully, it'll make an incredible change as we build toward the future.
You know, as I've thought back getting ready for this speech, I've really wished that there was a way that all of you in South Dakota could have the opportunities that any governor has. Whether it's Bill Janklow or Walt Miller or George Mickelson or Dick Kneip or Ralph Herseth, it doesn't make any difference. Whoever's fortunate enough to be governor gets to go places and attend things and meet people and be in discussions that, unfortunately, everybody doesn't get to be involved in. And, I'm always left in the circumstance of deciding, How do I come home and tell everybody in South Dakota what I just had the chance to witness? How can I share with people and not leave a lot out, what I just got to listen to or see, on what's really going on out there in this world of oursall-too-often hostile to our interests? How do we do it? When you think back about it, as far back as you want to go, when man and woman first were on the planet up until about 100 years ago, it was the Agricultural Age. People were occupied with just figuring out, How do I get enough to eat today? How do I get enough to eat tomorrow? How do I get enough to store it so we can get through the winter or the monsoons or the droughts or whatever visits us? How do we do it? The world was preoccupied with just feeding itself. Beginning about 100 years ago, the Industrial Age started to spring forth, and I suppose you could say it came when someone invented a fulcrum or figured out what a fulcrum was or a wheel. But as it's progressed in the last 100 years, it's been phenomenal. In the lifetimes of you and me, look at the mechanization that's taken place. It's hard to believe that the PC computer, the Personal Computer, the PC was only invented 20 years ago. That's all.
Twenty-five years ago, one transistor cost six dollars to manufacture. Today, you can make 16 million transistors for six dollars. You can make 16 Megs at a manufacturing price of six dollars. Twenty-five years ago, it cost six dollars to make one transistor. Just think of what an impact that has had on our lives.
We all just came through a huge Y2K scare because of the Computer Age and the transistors, and thank God it was a party that nobody had to go to. Everyone was prepared after having spent lots of money and lots of time.
But, the Industrial Age meant phenomenal things, especially for America, especially for America. The immense, dynamic growth that this country had, part of it was because it was a nation of immigrantsand, but for the Native Americans, we're all the sons and daughters of immigrants, every one of us. We are all of the lineage, except for the Native Americans, we are all of the lineage of boat people.
Some came to this country because they were running from religious persecution and tyranny. Some came because they were running from oppression with respect to their race or their color or their religion or their origin. Some came because of economic deprivation. But they all came to America and got off at Ellis Island, and they stood there with a little carpet bag or a little sack and that's all they had in the world. Those were the risk-takers. Those were the people that understood risk. Those were the people that never looked behind them and always looked fore them. The only things they brought with them were their religions and their culture and everything else they left behind. And this state was one of the last states in the Union to be settled by the immigrants. As a matter of fact, here, at the Missouri River, it was the stopping line for the immigrations from Europe. West of here was the Great Sioux Indian Reservation, as we all know, that covered many states and the whole State of South Dakota west of the river. That's why we, even in South Dakota today, have all these little ethnic communities, the huge Germanic influence of the James River Valley, the Czechoslovakian influencewe weren't original, in some of our names, like Scotland, South Dakota, or New Holland, South Dakotathe Scandinavian influence on the eastern belt, but all of it made up what we call South Dakota.
This Industrial Age was an incredibly important Age, because it's where the real wealth was created by lots of people other than the landed folks. It's where you didn't have to own land and you could generate wealth. But, the new world that we live in, at the speed of electricity and the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second into the future, is the Information Age. And we in South Dakota run the risk for the opportunity, and, you Ladies and Gentlemen and Bill Janklow, will be the ones that will make the choice. There is no next year. There is no five years out for this. It's now or never for the people of South Dakota. We will seize the moment or we will let it pass by, but there is no catch up. There is no way we could ever, ever catch up if we let it pass us.
We have put ourselves, all of us working together, have put ourselves into the position of being able to capitalize on the Information Age unlike any other society on this planet, if we're willing to do it. And, when I say that, I don't mean in any way to minimize the impact or the influence that agriculture has on South Dakota. It is truly the capital and the economic backbone of this state, but from that comes the other opportunities that we will have to generate wealth for all of those people that will not be affiliated with agriculture in the future in the economic sense.
I did not put it in my budget, but I'm asking the Legislature to set up and to fund a new Office of Agricultural Policy and Advocacy that we're setting up in the Agriculture Department. By Constitution, I have the power to do that, but, obviously, we need the funding, and I won't do it without the approval of the Legislature.
We find ourselves dealing with issues that are being thrown upon us externally, external influences that we're being subjected to and we're unprepared to deal with them. We don't even understand the facts. We in South Dakota listen to politicians who pop off thinking they know the facts or somebody in the media who thinks they know it, or somebody else. The truth of the matter is, we can't agree on what the facts are. I've always believed, always, that if we can agree on what the facts are, then the debate gets to be on how we deal with them. If you can't agree there's a problem, if you and I can't agree we've got a problem, we can't fix it. But, if we agree we've got a problem, then it's not hard for us to figure out how to compete with ideas to bring about a resolution to the problem.
An example of this is the wetlands issues as they affect South Dakota. These are immense issues and they're important issues. They involve questions of serious public policy and clean water, but they also involve the ability of agriculture to sustain itself through large areas in this state, and we need to understand the underlying facts. What is a wetland? How are they defined? Are there different ways to classify them? And are our people being treated the same by federal officials as, for example, those in Minnesota and elsewhere? If they are not, how do we deal with it? But, we can't deal with it until we understand the facts.
The same thing is true with respect to the Black Hills and forestry. I'm constantly getting resolutions from local governments that we forward on to Washington. Nobody listens to these resolutionsyou all know thatany more than you listen to resolutions that are sent to you. People like passing them because they feel good, but they don't do anything. They're not laws. They're not policies.
But the important thing is, we've got a beetle problem out there destroying huge acres in the Black Hills. It holds the potential to destroy the vast majority of them, and yet, we're being subjected to a policy that people are still debating.
The same thing is true with respect to the Endangered Species Act. At the present time, we, in South Dakota, have a real reason to be concerned about federal Fish and Wildlife officials and how they will deal with the Topeka Shiner Minnow, how they will deal with the Black Hills Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, and how they're dealing with the Black-Footed Ferret. In addition to that, the plovers and the terns, the Least Terns and the plovers that migrate on the Missouri River and nest on the sandbars are having a direct impact on how the river gets raised and lowered. We need to understand, What are the underlying laws? What are the underlying policies? How do we want to deal with this? Because, in the final analysis, this is where we live. It's where Washington regulates, but it's where you and I live. We have a vested interest, more than anybody, in clean water. We have a vested interest, more than anybody, in the aesthetics of the environment that we live in and live in compatibly with nature.
Railroad policy will also be in this office with respect to understanding it. International tradesomething that is of immense interest. I live in a state where everybody badmouths NAFTA and GATT, but they're the law. What's really amazing is how many people don't like NAFTA, but they all want a four-lane highway from Canada down through their part of the state for the NAFTA highway to go to a place in Canada where nobody livesjust another way to get a highway.
The international trade questions are immense, and we shouldn't have to be left to whoever's governor, whether it's Bill Janklow or somebody else, having to put an embargo on trucks from another nation to determine what the policy of this nation may be. Why do we have to file lawsuits like R-Calf? Ours is the only state, with bipartisan support, it's the only state that contributed to the R-Calf litigation. But, why should we have to sue our government to get them to represent and fight for us on these issues? Ours is the only state that came in with financial support for the sheep-growers with respect to what was happening to them from outside influences.
We need to look at the serious question of landowner rights. We throw that rhetoric around, but it's important that we understand, When I own a piece of property, what rights do I really have with that? What rights does society have to regulate it, and how can we, in a civilized way, deal with those kinds of aspects setting our policies in South Dakota?
How do we deal with the questions of depredation? We hear about it and people come to these halls angry about depredation and what wildlife is doing to their particular economic and agricultural operation. How do we, as a society, understand these issues and how do we deal with them? All of those will be in this Office of Agricultural Policy and Advocacy in the Agriculture Department.
As I indicated in the Budget Message, we need to have a Centennial spruce-up in South Dakota. If you drive from Sioux Falls to the Flandreau exitmy own beloved Moody Countyas you drive north, you can pass more than 20 abandoned buildings just along the Interstate alone. You can do virtually any highway in South Dakota that you want to travel, and we see the same thing.
After the tornado in Spencer, that lovely little community, we hauled away three semi-loads of spare tires as we cleaned up the community.
Not long ago, as I indicated in the Budget Message, in Moody County, we tried a pilot project there of cleaning up the tires where civet cats and coons and skunks and rodents and rats live. And just with a little bit of publicitynot a lot18,000 tires were turned in to be hauled away.
We're going to do that throughout the State of South Dakota. We've hired a couple of individualswe're going to hire a couple more for West River. We've hired a couple for East River. We've hired one to help us work the reservations, and we're going to have a yearlong clean up in South Dakota.
It's really going to be a spruce-up. We're going to haul the tires away. We're going to get these batteries, these old batteries that have sulfuric acid and lead, hauled away. We're going to get the pesticides to the extent the people want them removed, old pesticides and herbicides, hauled away. Household hazardous materialswe're going to get them all hauled away. We're going to assist people in bulldozing down their buildings and burying them, or, maybe in a lot of instances, with landowner permission, we'll probably burn them with the local fire department using them for training and then bury the refuse of what's left.
We have almostI thought it was 1,000. This morning, the report told me we have 1,900, or virtually 2,000 abandoned underground gas station tanks in South Dakota. And, these are places where gas stations used to be that are now gone. And, we, all of us that are older, remember what it was like. And then we watched them abandoned. Then, over the years, they slowly fell in, and then the surface was hauled away, but the tanks remained.
In an experimental program, over the course of the last year, we picked 10 sites at random from Wood, I believe it was, to Timber Lake, and we pulled 10 of those tanks out of the ground. Six of them were full of water or nothing; four of them had the old sludge in them and were contaminating the soils around them. We cleaned up those four. The average cost was $30,000. It was a little over $6,000 to do the other tanks, because it takes specially trained people.
What we did was try to figure out, in real time, what it's going to cost us to address this problem. Well, the time has come now to just move forward and let's get them all dug up; let's get them cleaned up. It's in all of our selfish interests. We don't need any petroleum distillates going to any of our children or grandchildren. We don't need to leave it there for the generations of the future. Let's get those tanks out of the ground over the course of the next couple of years and get them cleaned up. We're going to be proposing legislation to allow us to use the Petroleum Release Fundhave it amended in such a way that we can utilize that fundto move forward.
As we clean up the state, we can't do this with just the government, and we all know that. What we need is South Dakota doing what South Dakota does best. In every community, people turning to by the hundreds and the thousands working together through their Chambers and their Jaycees and their women's groups and their men's groups and the kids' groups. This is a marvelous exercise for young kids in school to learn about understanding earth and how they have to be tenants of it in the future when the baton of life is passed to them. And, so, we're going to try and motivate and get volunteers together. We have 310 towns and cities, we have nine Indian tribes, and we've got 66 counties. We've got 385 geographical areas that I really hope that I can report to you next year, when I come before you, have been cleaned up throughout the state.
With respect to the Missouri River, we're really approaching the point where all that we've been through over the last couple years is really coming to fruition, and it's come to fruition very, very rapidly.
We're in the final stages of negotiating a turnover to the state of 23 more of those recreational areas. Those 23 areas will be areas that the state will immediately turn to and fix up. The mess that they've been left in will be changed, and they will look like the areas that the state has been taking care of for decades that they've leased along the Missouri River.
When you look at the tourism aspects of South Dakota, there's something more important than tourism. It is, What do we have for ourselves to go see? What do we have for ourselves as a place to go play? Because, my theory has always been, if we fix up South Dakota to be the kind of place where you and I want to go and our loved ones that live in this state want to go, the out-of-staters will want to come, too. They'll come very quickly to places where you and I like to go. The last untapped great resource for development in this state is that Missouri River. It's really because of the way the land was purchased back in the '40s and the '50s and the uses to which it was put and how it's been administered, it has prevented, for all practical purposes, any meaningful development along the river for recreational and enjoyment purposes. That's going to change dramatically over the course of the next year as we assume these 23 areas and fix them up and spruce them up and expand them for utilization by the public. At the same time, we're going to get a couple unique areas that we are going to be able to develop along the river -- more camping pads and more places for fish cleaning stations and safe restrooms for people and showers and nice boat ramps and nice aesthetics, so we can enjoy South Dakota, and all those that come by the hundreds of thousands to visit can enjoy South Dakota. It's immense potential.
Notwithstanding all the criticism you always hear, and it's been a lot of it, this has been a remarkable exercise in elected tribal governments, elected officials from South Dakota, working with the elected officials from Washington to bring about legislation to make this happen. A Republican Governor, a Democrat US Senator, and two Tribal Chairmen from two different tribes all worked together in concert. Notwithstanding all the critical articles, notwithstanding all the name-calling and finger-pointing, and notwithstanding all these self-appointed spokespersons who've never been elected by anybody to anything, who're always shooting off their mouths about it, the elected officials were able to bring about the successful passage of this legislation which will be very, very meaningful for us in South Dakota.
I just wanted to mention this issue. It doesn't call for legislation, but it's becoming an explosive issue, and that's the whole question of the Internet tax problem. Please, all understand, when people talk about taxing the Internet there are two separate and distinct issues under the global heading that people use of taxing the Internet. I've been very involved nationally over the course of the last couple of weeks -- as a matter of fact, I got to meet all kinds of former South Dakotans. Dan Bucks, who used to be a cabinet secretary for Governor Kneip, and Harley Duncan, who used to be one of the senior officials for Governor Kneip, both are the heads of national organizations that are dealing with this issue. But, the important thing is, nobody is asking or trying to put any -- in this state -- to put any additional taxes on the Internet at all. What Bill Janklow's been talking about--what's important -- and that number, 59,088, that's, as of yesterday, how many people in South Dakota have South Dakota Retailers Sales Tax Licenses. You and I and all of us have a responsibility to make sure they survive. In the five or ten big cities in this state, the merchants are going to survive. But it's my job, and yours, to make sure we don't do anything with government policy -- and that's the key; if people go in or out of business, that's their business; if they succeed or fail, that's the free enterprise system--but you and I can't have any government policy that puts them out of business unless we make a conscious policy decision. What I'm speaking about are the sales that take place on the Internet, assuming that the nexus is there -- with the legal word of nexus -- we shouldn't do anything that taxes sales over the Internet any different than we tax sales in any town that any of you shop in or any town or city that we have in South Dakota.
So, when people talk about taxing the Internet, ask them if they're talking about taxing the technology, which is a no-no, or whether or not they're talking about taxing the sales on a competitive, even playing field with the in-state merchants that we have in this state.
Over the course of the last year, we've been tremendously successful in economic development. And when I say we, I mean all of us. In just the last two months, over 1,100 jobs have been announced in just the City of Rapid City alone. We'll be making an announcement over the course of the next week of a major employer in this state who will be expanding to another community with 300 new jobs, jobs that pay decent wages, jobs that have good fringe benefits. And that announcement will be made over the course of the next week. But, the point that I'm making is that, over the course of the last year, there's been $293 million invested in this state by just the new or the expanding businesses in South Dakota.
Ron Wheeler and that team he's got in Economic Development are phenomenal, because it's just a small group of people. And the expertise and the technical skills that he and Chris and the rest of that team bring have really made them approachable to the communities outside South Dakota.
The wage study that I told the Legislature about last year has been done. Copies of it will be made available to any member of the Legislature who wants them. They're about an inch and one-fourth thick, but there is a great executive summary in the front that this committee summarized. I'd like you all to know I tried as hard as I could to put a true cross-section of South Dakota on that wage study. I put people on there that are political friends of mine. I put people on there that are political enemies of mine. I put people on there that served on committees for the gentleman that I ran against for governor a year ago. As well, I put individuals on that don't represent any interest other than their own, or what I'll call the public at large, college professors and business men and women throughout the state. I really tried to get a broad section of folks. I asked a newspaper publisher to serve as one of the co-chairs, and I deliberately did it so nobody could suggest that somehow we were hiding stuff from the media.
What that study shows in the final analysis, I think is very, very important. That study shows that wages in South Dakota -- and this is research done by the Business Research Bureau at the University of South Dakota by Doctor Ralph Brown -- shows that South Dakota, if you adjust our wages for the cost-of-living in this state -- which he did; I didn't; he did -- and you adjust it for taxes, our disposable income makes us twenty-eighth in the nation. Now, that's not good enough, but with things that all of us have been working on to put in place over the course of the last few years, we should see this magnify and grow at a geometric as opposed to an arithmetic rate into the future.
Just over the course of the last couple of months, we've been working with corporate partners and resolving disputes.
Folks, just out of good will, Ted Waitt and the Waitt Family Foundation donated $500,000 to what you and I call the Wiring the Schools Technology Program in the state.
In addition to that, US WEST has recently made a contribution of $17 million worth of technology and this is purchased at wholesale, not retail, so we've been able to really magnify the impact of that contribution. Seventeen million dollars, and after negotiating with me, they've agreed to let it be installed in every school in South Dakota, including all the school districts, more than 100 school districts that are not in their territory. Every high school in this state, no matter where it's located, is getting the same piece of V-Tel equipment, which I'll get into in a few minutes. And every junior high in South Dakota is getting the identical piece of equipment. And every grade school is getting the identical equipment. So, we are able to be universal and
ubiquitous in terms of what we're continuing to do even with the contribution from US WEST, which allowed us to go outside of their territory for the purchase of this hardware and software.
Citibank. When the litigation was resolved with Citibank, Citibank donated to the State of South Dakota to be used in technology for the schools the entire sum that was in dispute in that litigation. So the litigation was resolved in an amiable manner by being settled. But the key thing is, rather than keeping the money as the Circuit Court Judge's decision had allowed them, and the Supreme Court may or may not have allowed them -- we'll never know, because it was settled -- they donated that money to the school kids of South Dakota.
So, we're getting our disputes, hopefully some of them, behind us as we work toward working together into the future.
You know there's, I actually made a note on this, because I don't want to leave anybody out. We're approaching the end of an era for 33 of you. We have term limits in South Dakota now, and there are 33 of you that cannot come back to your current seat in the next election. Some of you are going to run for another office. Some of you may seek the other body, but all of you are through with your measured eight years, if I can call it that, of this era.
Bob Mercer said, when he talked to me the other day, Bill, this is kind of like when a ball player, a well known, prominent, popular, ball player has his last year and announces his retirement. In the NBA and major league baseball and football, as they travel around to opponent's stadium after opponent's stadium, all the folks, all the folks that have been screaming against them for years, greet them warmly and let them know how much they've appreciated them, let them know how much they've appreciated what they've done for them. So, I'm very briefly going to run through names, and as I do, I'd like to ask that you stand up for just a moment.
Roger Brooks, would you stand up? And each of you, I'm going to give Bill Janklow's perception of the type of stuff that you've brought passion to, and I don't say it in any way to limit the scope of the length and breadth that all of you have dealt with. But if there're any issues that involve children's or veterans' affairs, Roger Brooks is involved with it.
Bill Cerny. Bill Cerny is a gentleman that has a passion for water development and veterans' issues. You'll find him in other areas, but you'll always find him involved with those issues.
Roland Chicoine. Roland comes from down there in that southeast country, and he brings with him his message on agriculture that he never stops preaching and never stops talking about.
Jim Dunn. Jim Dunn has come to us from Lawrence County, and he has spent virtually what equals the lifetime of the average South Dakotan, but he is a man who has an incredible expertise in natural resources and the issues that involve natural resources.
Steve Cutler, a man who has always been willing to go against the tide, even if it's from the area where he's elected, if he believes that it's the big picture and the right thing for all of South Dakota.
Kristie Fiegen. You can't discuss children and not have to listen to Kristie on a year-round basis. It's just a passion with her in everything that she does.
Rebecca Dunn, from Sioux Falls, a lady who's not afraid or ashamed to stand tall and say that she believes that every life is sacred and she's willing to stand up and defend them, a lady who believes that there is no person that's not entitled to have the opportunity to be patiently and quietly heard when they want to speak to folks in their government.
Carol Fritzgerald. Carol's a lady that comes from Pennington County who, with every breath, talks about what can she do to solve the evil of drinking and drunken drivers on our roads -- a lady who's unashamed to speak about what she thinks are the values that are incredibly important to society.
Charlie Flowers from over in the Iroquois area. Charlie Flowers, a gentleman who brings, as a former county commissioner, immense expertise in caring about local government and county government -- deeply involved in all the various aspects of issues that involve agriculture for South Dakota.
Dick Hagen from out in Lakota country, the Pine Ridge. Dick who speaks passionately and compassionately about issues involving people learning to live together and work together of different races -- understanding that all human beings were created in the image of God and ought to treat each other that way.
Pat Haley from Huron. Pat who brings immense passion and caring to the field of corrections and those people that have been involved with having been charged with offenses and caring deeply about them, not just as a group, but many of them, many of them as individuals.
Harold Halverson comes from up in Grant County, another one who's been here about as long as Jim Dunn. Harold Halverson, who's always, always asked in public and private, What's the right thing to do? What's the moral thing to do? How will this affect the families that all of us are being involved in legislating?
Gil Koetzle, a man who wears on his sleeve and in his heart and every word that he breathes -- worrying about individuals who get up every morning and go to work and live on a paycheck paid by some other person that's employing them -- speaks with passion and involvement about what all of us call men and women who labor.
Frank Kloucek, a gentleman from down in Bon Homme County who really, you can say without any question, has a warm handshake and a smile, has a true caring attitude for every person of any persuasion that comes into this building to go to the seat of government and be heard. Frank is always there with a ready hand and a smile to greet them on behalf of all of us as they come to this building.
Gerald Lange from over in Lake County. Gerry Lange, Senator Lange. I call him the most compassionate social scientist that I ever met. He's a man of true convictions when it comes to economic policy, but he's also a man that never speaks ill of others, that never has anything violent to say, and that always has the time to listen to your argument before he presents his.
John Koskan from down in Mellette County. John Koskan, who speaks as eloquently about diversified agriculture and the interests of the true rural people in South Dakota as anybody that I've ever met.
Roger Hunt from over in my current home area of Brandon. Roger, a man of incredible philosophical persuasion who makes sure and guarantees that those who are the most opposite from him in terms of opinion have their opportunity to be heard respectfully, with dignity, and with an appreciation that it is only all the attitudes coming together and discussing that bring about the best legislation.
Jim Lawler, from Brown County. There aren't any of us that haven't listened to his pleas about, What can we do to keep people from smoking? What can we do to get kids buckled up and people buckled up with seat belts? What can he do or we do to assist people who can't fight or represent themselves because of their handicaps?
Mel Olson from over in Davison County, a man of incredible brilliance with gifted skills in being articulate, but who always in the heat of emotion makes sure that it never goes to the next level to get beyond the control of human beings having the ability to sit and stand and reason together. Incredible attributes.
Keith Paisley from Sioux Falls -- another gentleman with a long, long career of local and state public service. Listen to Keith talk about the environment. Listen to Keith talk about how concerned he is that we leave a legacy of this earth behind us that's better than when we found it. Listen to Keith talk about tax policy. Listen to Keith talk about education and the passion with which he cares for education.
Joanne Lockner, a lady that really none of us has ever had an argument with. She's polite; she courteous; she's very philosophically oriented; and she very, very deeply has been involved in and cares about rural South Dakota and agriculture and the small communities throughout the state.
Larry Lucas, a classroom educator from down in Todd County. Larry is a gentleman who brings a complete understanding and an involvement in issues involving education of all children in South Dakota and deeply cares about issues involving handicapped children in this state.
Kenny McNenny, from out in Meade County, Representative Kenny. He's a gentleman who speaks about landowners' rights and speaks about agriculture and speaks about production agriculture with just absolute -- I keep using this word for all of you -- but with real passion, and he does it in such a way that he is always concerned that we make sure that the way we treat people is with dignity and we treat them with respect.
Don Munson from Yankton County. Representative Munson, who goes through that budget with a fine-tooth comb, treats the public's money like it's his. Fiscal responsibility is something that he has just focused his career on in dealing with the folks of the Legislature.
Jim Putnam. As he says every time we meet in our meetings, "but don't forget, we've got to keep our eye on the ball" -- always concerned that we stay focused on what our mission is. A gentleman who's served on Appropriations and understands the workings of this government, something, frankly few people do, but he does. And he understands the day-to-day intricacies, and he also brings an incredible involvement with the survival instincts, if I can call it that, and survival interests for small town South Dakota.
Bob Roe from over in Brookings County, a gentleman. The thing I will remember Bob Roe the most for is how involved he's always been in being a passionate advocate for the sports men and women in this state, speaking very forcefully for the interests and the balance that we not forget the sports men and women of South Dakota.
Ron Volesky. Are there none of us who haven't listened to this man speak with passion? He has empathy; he has caring. It's not the objects that this man gets involved with, it's people, and he brings a unique talent to trying to work for helping people that have problems.
Al Waltman, affectionately known by all of his compatriots as Smiley. But there are none of us that haven't had the pleasure of listening to this man speak about taxes and his belief on how they ought to be structured in South Dakota. And notwithstanding the fact, year in and year out, that his position has not been successful, he lets you know that he's coming back the next year; and he's going to try it again; and he's going to continue until he feels that he can persuade people to adopt his point of view. He brings that same outlook with respect to agriculture. He's a man who's got an incredibly large family. They have eleven or twelve children, and the values that he's instilled in his family are the values that he's brought to all the public service that he's had.
Mr. Strandburg, Bob Weber. I believe he's the Dean of the Legislature in terms of years of service at this point in time. I would be remiss if I didn't remind myself that this is Mr. Township. There's never been an issue involving townships that he's not the sponsor of, that he's not the spokesperson for. Bob Weber understands that that smallest unit of local government, the local township, is so important and the necessity for maintaining them is so vibrant. And he brings to agriculture and he brings to his caring about those small units of government a lifetime of service in looking out for them.
Mike Rounds, Majority Leader Rounds. Mike Rounds, another individual, when you talk about the big picture, Mike grasps it, unafraid to get involved in a whole host of controversial issues. Many times, many times involved in a leadership position like all of you in both parties in leadership positions, unless it involves a moral issue with you, having to bend your personal wishes to deal with the majority of your constituency that has selected you as a leader in the legislative body.
Paul Valandra from Todd County. Paul, another gentleman who brings to us, not just a message, but an example of how incumbent and important it is on all of us to get along with each other, to work together -- that notwithstanding the turmoil we have in South Dakota on Native American-State jurisdictional issues, that these have been thrust upon us by a government from Washington and, unfortunately, all too often left to us to try and sort out and work out. In his years of service in the Legislature, he's always been available to work on those kinds of issues.
I truly hope, I truly hope that I haven't missed any of you after I've asked Jerry Shoener to stand. Jerry Shoener, a gentleman from Rapid City, Pennington County. Jerry, who I can say, for all practical purposes, as an appointed official or an elected official, has spent a huge portion of his adulthood working on transportation issues as they involve the people of South Dakota. With highways, with airports, and with railroads, transportation has really been something that he's been deeply involved in.
And so I thank you for having indulged me in taking the opportunity to run through and talk about all of these various Legislators.
I've got one more. There is one more gentleman; I didn't have him on my notes, because I didn't think he would be here today, frankly. He had an immense tragedy on his farm where he had a fire and most of his equipment was destroyed just a couple of days ago, but Senator Randy Frederick from around the Hayti country. Randy is a gentleman who came to the Legislature and has been deeply, deeply involved in the fiscal aspects, as the other folks on Appropriations have been, but he's had a leadership role for many years, and he has played a keen role in helping sort out all the decisions that have to be made on, Where does the money go? and, How do you allocate it between the various interests? -- an incredibly dynamic role that you played, Randy.
So to all of you Ladies and Gentlemen, I speak for all South Dakotans, the people who have elected you over and over. Why have they done that? Because they trusted you. Because they've believed in you. Because they thought so much of you that they said, you go to Pierre and you do my business for me. You do my business for me, and I trust you to make those decisions. Our system of government is so unique in that it offers that kind of opportunity, and you Ladies and Gentlemen in both political parties have honestly done an incredible job of fulfilling it.
Over the course of the last year, inmates have worked over 955,000 hours, almost a million hours outside the grounds of our prison systems. The housing program that we have down in Springfield where they build houses, we have made and delivered over 400 homes for the elderly and the handicapped, and, in a few instances, some special needs folks throughout the length and breadth of South Dakota in over 200 different communities -- an incredible accomplishment that's being done.
Over the course of the last year, that program has received two national awards including the Best Practices Award from HUD in Washington. It has been featured on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the New York Times articles, a front-page article in the Los Angeles Times, and the centerfold of People Magazine, as well as FOX News.
The inmates have really, really been able to accomplish a lot. But please understand; this administration does not look at these inmates as a labor force. We look at these inmates as people who need, most of them need, to learn how to work. They need job skills. And there's lots of ways people can get skills, but the best way any of us can get skills is to do it. It's called the School of Hard Knocks. Over the course of the last few years, we believe we've been tremendously successful. We are in the process now of starting to assemble the statistics -- we've not done it yet -- but with respect to the adult inmates, we're going to be interested to see whether or not working in the wiring program has had an impact on recidivism. We're going to be interested to see whether or not the Fair Grounds programs, or the Game, Fish and Parks program, or working on the DOT programs had an impact on recidivism -- an impact in terms of giving people the job skills, but also the understanding you've got to get up and go to work every morning. Most people, not all, but most people who get into trouble are not people that hold full-time jobs. There's something therapeutic about a job. So, I look forward to being able to report to you again next year the actual statistics that we've been able to gather as we track each individual inmate and the terms of their incarceration, as well as the terms of their release.
One other area that I'd like to go into and cover deals with this whole area again on education, on what we've done in what you and I call Wiring the Schools. The schools are all wired, my friends, every one of them. All 622 buildings are wired. As I've told you before and I'll tell you for the last time, they're wired more than any schools on this planet. We have approximately 130,000 K-12 kids in South Dakota and 101,000 computer drops in our 622 buildings. We will have the ability two months from now to put 70,000 students on the Internet at the same time throughout South Dakota. We will have the ability to have them all interconnected with each other or the world at the same time, 70,000 at one time.
Several years ago when I had the privilege of addressing the Legislature and I talked about the telecommunications initiative and legislation we were asking the Legislature to pass, it was the little old purple over there, the voice telephone is what the majority of our lines were. That's what's known as a 56K line. It will move 56,000 zeros or ones - they're bits per second, that's 56K, the K means thousand, and we put up a chart that showed you narrow band, wide band, and ultimately broad band technology. I can report to you today that the schools in South Dakota, every school in this state with the exception of a couple of remote service centers, in cooperation with a deal that we've been able to make, on behalf of all the school kids and the people of this state, with all 28 independent municipal phone companies as well as US WEST - we have a T1 circuit, which is one 1,500,000 bits per second. It's 27 times faster than that telephone, what's called POTS - that's Plain Old Telephone Service - where we pick up and say hello. It's got 27 times more pipe to it, and that's what's being hooked up to every school as I speak. What that really means is that we're hooking it up in frame relay or ATM technology. Schools get their choice, and one is a little more suited than the other for different things, but they get their choice. But with respect to those T1 circuits, they're scalable, and that means if you have one you can add another one, another one, another one. And when you need a T1, you don't need your own line. The whole school's hooked into it. They come together through a router and a switch and then out to the world or around the building. It's incredible, what we've all been able to accomplish there.
I was recently in a Governor's conference in Las Vegas where the Western Governors met. There was a gentleman there from Silicon Graphics, the senior executive vice president from Silicon Graphics, and he said, Governor, and he pointed at me. Governor Janklow, I want you to know, wherever I go in America, I use South Dakota as the example, the premier example, of what can be done by people with very few economic resources to put themselves on the leading edge of the entire world. I can tell you, no place in America is where you are at in your school systems in South Dakota.
But right now, we're in the green with all the schools. The lower end of the green is 144,000 bits per second, and we're giving the schools 10 times that capability, right now.
And the next chart will show you that by the end of March, every school system in South Dakota will be hooked up. We started this in October. On October 4, we started what we call the hook-up program for all this wiring. If you see it in blue, it's connected already in that school district. This is a school district map that you see up here. By the end of March, that entire chart will be blue. And it's just unbelievable, I can't even describe it another way, what we have.
It terms of educating our classroom faculty in technology, you're familiar with the TTL Academy we started at Dakota State at Madison three years ago. We then moved it the next year and included Black Hills State and ran two sessions at both places. And this is where we immersed our classroom teachers in 200 hours of training over the course of a summer, actually a month. They come for a month, and they get over 200 hours worth of training. There is no place still in North America that gives their classroom teachers as much instruction as we are giving to all of them in South Dakota. At the present time, 17 percent of all the teachers in this state have been through the academy.
When I come before you or whoever may be Governor comes before you next year, 30 percent of all the classroom teachers in this state will have been through the TTL Academy. We're expanding the TTL Academy over the course of this summer. We're moving a new branch of it to Northern State University in Aberdeen. We're moving a branch of it to Southeast Vo-Technical Institute in Sioux Falls. We're moving a branch of it--Western Dakota Vo-Tech in Rapid City and the School of Mines will do it in conjunction with each other out there. We're going to have--30 percent of all the classroom teachers will have been immersed in technology training of more than 200 hours by this time next year.
At the present time, 15 percent of all the administrators in the school systems in the state have been through the academy, and we sent them to a program in Vermillion last summer. The University of South Dakota conducted that program for us. By this time next year, 30 percent of all of the administrators will have been through that academy. And all the school systems, we asked them to send someone to a network administrators' school. Ninety-one school network administrators came. Now you have to understand, in some communities you only need one network administrator because we've tied the schools together. Wessington Springs is an example where the schools are about a block or so apart, the grade school and the high school. When our folks wired them, they actually hooked the two schools together so it's all one local area network, as opposed to a wide area network, and they only need one server to be administered. We provided at our expense - our being the state's expense - every school that sent a network administrator went home with a brand new Compaq computer, average cost about $15,500. On a program that we had with Compaq computer, we paid right around $6,000 dollars for each and every one of them.
This is where we're at in terms of the state of the affairs in training the classroom teachers.
Now, let me show you what the big picture has been and is, what we're doing, all of us together, with the schooling. You're familiar with what's called the Wiring the Schools Program. You're familiar with the TTL Academies. I just went through that.
I have used Future Funds over the course of the last two years. A year ago it was 50 professors; this past summer it was about 75. I let an out-of-state group of selectors select them. Dr. Perry selects the group from out-of-state. We let all the faculty in our universities apply. The out-of-state selection group picks them. Actually, it was 55 a year ago. There were five of them that were so good we didn't want to say no, so we added five.