Policy Alert: 2024 Legislative Session Updates

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Policy Alert: 2024 Legislative Session Updates

POLICY ALERT: Legislative Highlights

Policy update related to laws passed during the 2024 Legislative Session

To view the bills, click on the blue links below.

HB 1020:  Places suicide training requirement for teachers into the district’s accreditation process rather than the teacher certification.

Summary: Prior to beginning employment and every five years thereafter, certified staff must complete suicide awareness and prevention training that is at least one hour long and submit a certification to the school showing completion. SD DOE has the responsibility to make a list of approved trainings available to schools.

Legal/Practice Impact:  Because the suicide awareness and prevention training requirement is no longer a condition of a teacher’s certification or renewal but rather is now part of accreditation, schools need to ensure that all certified staff timely complete the training and retain the certificates as part of the documentation necessary for accreditation.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has updated its sample policy GCB, Qualifications of Teachers, to reflect the need for teachers to complete suicide awareness and prevention training and submit a certificate of completion to their employing school district.   

HB 1055:  Raises the appraisal value of surplus property that may be sold by a political subdivision without notice.

Summary: Raises the value from $500 to $2500 of surplus property that needs to be offered for sale by advertising for bids.

Legal/Practice Impact:  Surplus property with a value of less than $2500 no longer needs to be advertised for sale by bid.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has amended its sample policy DN, Surplus Property, to reflect the appraised value increase of surplus property. 

SB 146:  Amends the penalty for threatening an elected official.

Summary: Any person who knowingly and intentionally communicates any written or electronic threat to take the life of or inflict serious bodily harm upon an elected officer or their immediate family is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  The threat must relate to the elected officer’s official capacity.

Legal/Practice Impact: A person who makes a written or electronic threat of taking the life or inflicting serious bodily harm upon a school board member or his/her immediate family, relating to something in the board member’s official capacity, is a serious criminal offense.  If the threat meets the legal definition of aggravated assault, the offense becomes a Class 3 felony.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

SB 198:  Allows a school to obtain and administer nasal glucagon to students with parental permission.

Summary:  A school district can obtain a prescription issued by a licensed heath care provider in order to acquire and maintain nasal glucagon for use on a student experiencing severe hypoglycemia.  The nasal glucagon must be stored in a secure location, accessible by the school nurse or other employee with certain training, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction. 

A school nurse or other employee with certain training can administer nasal glucagon if the student’s parent/guardian has provided documentation from the student’s doctor that the student is diagnosed with diabetes, the student’s parent or guardian has consented to the administration, and the student’s prescribed glucagon is not available onsite or has expired. 

The school board may authorize an employee to administer nasal glucagon to a student if the employee completes training provided by a licensed health care provider that addresses: 1) recognizing the symptoms of severe hypoglycemia; 2) procedure for administering nasal glucagon; 3) emergency care for an individual experiencing severe hypoglycemia and care after administering; 4) storage, maintenance, and disposal of nasal glucagon. The school district must maintain documentation of each employee who has completed the training and who is authorized to administer nasal glucagon. 

The school or any of its employees, agents, or personnel cannot be held liable for any death, injury or damage that results from the administration of, or the failure to administer, nasal glucagon if the action or inaction constitutes ordinary negligence.

Legal/Practice Impact: Allowing schools to have a prescribed supply of nasal glucagon to assist diabetic students in emergency situations is a benefit to the safety of students who have certain medical needs. 

Policy Impact for School Boards: ASBSD is in the process of updating its sample medication and diabetes related policies.  Watch for this policy alert coming soon.

HB 1060:  Revises provisions related to travel reimbursement.

Summary:  Various travel reimbursement rates are now set in statute instead of by the State Board of Finance, including the mileage reimbursement rate and in-state lodging reimbursement rate. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  It is important to be aware of the new rates, which go into effect July 1, 2024, that are consistent with the federal lodging reimbursement rate and the federal mileage reimbursement rate set by the IRS.  Thereafter, each October 1st, the mileage rate and in-state lodging reimbursement rate will update to align with the rates set by the federal government at the start of its fiscal year.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has modified its sample policy, DLC, Expense Reimbursements, to reflect the change of who sets the reimbursement rates.

HB 1182:  Revises provisions pertaining to the observation of the conduct of an election.

Summary:  A candidate, party, or ballot question committee may have poll watchers present at a polling place to observe the voting and counting process.  (During voting hours, a candidate on the ballot cannot serve as a poll watcher.)  Members of the public can observe the voting and counting process at any polling location so long as it does not interfere with the duties of the poll workers or poll watchers.  Each polling place must be arranged in a manner that permits each poll watcher and observer to be position in a location where they can plainly see and hear what is done at the polling place.  In addition, a meeting of a recount board must be open to the public. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  This is an important new law that allows observations at polling places.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

HB 1187:  Creates a one-year CTE educator permit.

Summary:  The SD Dept. of Education may issue a one-year CTE instructor educator permit to an applicant that has a high school diploma/equivalent and (1) an associate of applied science degree or higher, or (2) 2,000 hours of work experience in a related CTE field, or (3) a national or state certification in a related CTE field.  The applicant must have documentation from the school district demonstrating that the school is unable to hire a certified educator to fill the vacancy and the name of a certified teacher who will be a mentor to the applicant. This CTE educator permit may not be renewed for more than one year at a time. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  This new law creates an option for school districts to temporarily fill open CTE positions by individuals other than certified teachers. The SD DOE is in the process of creating administrative rules surrounding this one-year CTE permit.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

HB 1197:  Requires the publication of measures taken to restrict the access of obscene materials by minors.

Summary:  Public schools must equip each public access computer with software that will limit minors’ ability to gain access to obscene matter or materials, or purchase internet connectivity from an internet service provider that provides filter services to limit access to obscene materials, and develop and implement a policy by January 1, 2025, establishing measures to restrict minors from accessing obscene matter or materials.  The school board must either have the policy on the school’s website or publish the policy annually in the school’s designated legal newspaper.

Legal/Practice Impact: The majority of this bill regarding computer access to obscene materials is already in existing law.  The new requirements expand the statute to also limit minors’ access to any and all other obscene matter or materials (which is defined as anything tangible derived through the medium of reading, observation, or sound; any book, magazine, newspaper, or other printed or written material; any picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture, or other pictorial representation; any statue or figure; any recording, transcription or reproduction; or any other articles, equipment, machines, or materials).  Schools are also required to publish the policy outlining measures to restrict minors from access to obscene mater or materials on the school’s website or annually in the newspaper.  Many if not all school districts have some variation of content filtering in place, as required to comply with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in order to receive discounts offered by the E-rate program.  CIPA (and the associated E-rate funding) require schools to certify that they have an internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures that block or filter internet access to pictures that are obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors. With respect to other obscene matter or materials, because the definition encompasses various forms of materials to include any written material, photo/drawing, or recording, it is important that schools be aware that this new law applies to more resources than just books in the library. 

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has modified the following sample policies in an effort to be all-encompassing of the new law:

  • IIBG, Use of Computers and Networks;
  • IIAC, Library Materials Selection and Adoption;
  • IIA, Instructional Materials

HB 1201:  Appropriates $800,000 to the Department of Labor and Regulation for the teacher apprenticeship pathway program.

Summary: The sum of $800,000 was appropriated to the Department of Labor and Regulation for the purposes of continuing the teacher apprenticeship pathway program. 

Legal/Practice Impacts: The continuation of this program is a benefit.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

HB 1220:  Allows for an appeal of a Department of Education decision regarding special education or related services by bringing a civil action.

Summary:  A decision made by a Department of Education hearing officer on a due process special education complaint may be appealed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by filing an action in either state or federal court within 30 days from the date of the decision. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  This establishes a time limit of 30 days to appeal to civil court a hearing officer’s special education due process complaint decision.

Policy Impact: None.

SB 12:  Authorizes certain employment actions based on use of cannabis by an employee or prospective employee.

Summary:  Any adverse employment action or refusal to hire based on a positive test result for cannabis metabolites for individuals employed or seeking employment in safety-sensitive positions is not prohibited, and no cause of action is created for employment discrimination or wrongful termination arising from an employer’s enforcement of a drug-free workplace policy. 

Legal/Practice Impacts:  Before restricting an employee’s use of medical cannabis in the workplace or penalizing an employee for being under the influence of cannabis, ASBSD recommends schools discuss it with their local school attorney. 

Policy Impact for School Boards:  Currently, ASBSD’s sample policy GBEC: Use of Alcohol, Drugs, and Controlled Substances provides that employees cannot manufacture, use, possess, sell, distribute or be under the influence of medical cannabis in any manner inconsistent with South Dakota state law.

SB 127:  Establishes a minimum teacher salary and requires increases based on the funding increases provided to state aid.

Summary:  Beginning with FY 2025, the school must increase its average teacher compensation so that the cumulative increase since FY 2024 is greater than or equal to the cumulative percentage change in the target teacher salary since FY 2024. Compliance is achieved if the district’s average teacher compensation is at least 97% of the average teacher compensation required. Beginning July 1, 2026, schools must pay each full-time equivalent teacher a salary at least equal to the state minimum salary, which is $45,000 for FY 2025. Beginning in FY 2026, the state minimum salary is calculated by increasing the prior year’s state minimum salary by the percentage change in the target teacher salary from the prior fiscal year to the current fiscal year as adopted by the legislature. DOE must decrease the state aid given to a school district by $500 for each full-time equivalent teacher if the school does not meet the compensation or salary requirements.  Schools can request a waiver from any penalties imposed. The School Finance Accountability Board (SFAB) can recommend that the penalty imposed be waived if the school can demonstrate its failure to comply is due to special circumstances.  SFAB can also recommend that DOE review the accreditation of a school that is not in compliance.

Legal/Practice Impact: Various resources and calculation calculators can be found at this site: https://asbsd.org/advocacy/sb-127-information/

Policy Impact for School Boards: None. 

SB 203:  Permits an individual who is 21-years or older and has an enhanced concealed carry permit to possess a weapon on school grounds.

Summary: Under current law, firearms are prohibited on school property and vehicles and any premises, vehicles or buildings used for school functions, unless an individual meets one of the limited exceptions (e.g., law enforcement, school sentinel).  This bill provides an additional exception, allowing an individual to possess a firearm if they are 21 years old, holds an enhanced conceal carry permit, and has written permission from the principal of the school or other person who has general control and supervision of the building or grounds. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  This new law gives discretion to school principals or other person having general control and supervision of the buildings or grounds to give written permission to allow any adult (staff, visitor, etc.) with an enhanced conceal carry permit to possess a firearm.  Districts should visit with their school attorney regarding how to handle a request from an individual, including verification of a valid permit, date/time/location that the individual will be carrying, and the process by which written permission may be granted. ASBSD also recommends that the superintendent be designated by the board to handle such requests and permission, rather than the principal or other employee having general control or supervision of school buildings and grounds.

Districts who would consider giving written permission and who have school resource officers may also wish to consult with their school attorney followed by their local law enforcement agency about having the school board formally designate the SRO as the individual having general control to grant written permission.  SRO’s are law enforcement and not school employees, and there is an exception in law that allows law enforcement to keep records of who has permit.  The SRO would then gather the requests and have the authority to grant or deny the permission, they’d know who has a firearm, dates and location of such, and can keep a record of the request and any written permission given.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has modified its sample policy, JFCJ, Dangerous Weapons in the School, and has re-coded its NEPN Code to be policy AF, as this policy applies to all students, staff, and visitors.  The reasoning of ASBSD’s new sample policy language is as follows:  This sample policy is intended to comply with all state laws, and although SB 203 gives the discretion to school districts on whether or not to allow possession of firearms to adults with enhanced conceal carry permits it also requires any grant of permission to be in writing.  This is a problematic requirement in light of current law SDCL 23-7-8.6 which prohibits schools from keeping any record of privately owned firearms or any record of holders of permits to carry a concealed pistol. Keeping a written record of who has been granted permission to possess a firearm, including the dates/location/events of such possession is essential for not only the safety and security of students, staff and visitors, but also to the individual with a firearm in terms of avoiding criminal penalties. 

Districts may want to put their firearms policy on their website homepage or at least a reference to it, in addition to and separate from being contained within board policy.

SB 212:  Allows for the payment of goods or services by a school district between school board meetings.

Summary:  Allows a school board to authorize payment for goods or services prior to the next board meeting if the board specifies the vendor and the maximum amount allowed for the payment.

Legal/Practice Impact:  This will help schools pay certain bills in the timeframe between board meetings, by the board specifying the vendor and the maximum amount allowed for payment, in order for schools to pay invoices arising and/or coming due between board meetings. Keep in mind that this is a helpful addition in law regarding the payment, not the purchase itself. A good example would be a credit card invoice that is received and is due between board meetings.  This new law would allow the board to authorize payment in a maximum specified amount to the credit card vendor.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  ASBSD has modified its sample policy, DK, Payment Procedures, to reflect the change in the law.

SB 75:  Modifies provisions pertaining to the designation of a legal newspaper.

Summary: Expands the definition of a legal newspaper to include certain online/print combinations.  A legal newspaper must, for at least one year prior to the publication of legal and official notices, be intended for distribution and circulation to the general public and must either 1) maintain a definite price of not less than 50% of its published price, paid for by no less than 50% of those to whom it is distributed, and have a minimum paid circulation of at least 200, or 2) maintain a minimum of 200 paid online subscribers and distribute an associated print edition at least once a week for at least 50 weeks per year with a circulation of at least 500 copies, regardless of whether the print edition is made available to the public for a paid subscription or for free. 

Legal/Practice Impact: Expands options for schools to designate certain online/print publishers as their legal newspaper.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

SB 152:  Sets a maximum fee for legal publications.

Summary:  Removes the requirement that the State establishes, by administrative rules, the maximum fee which may be charged for legal publications, and instead sets out the maximum fee in statute. A newspaper’s maximum fees that may be charged for legal publications is dependent on their paid circulation of less than 9,000 or more than 9,000.  Beginning July 1, 2025, and annually thereafter, the maximum rates outlined in this statute will increase by either 2% or the index factor, whichever is less.

Legal/Practice Impact:  Setting a maximum fee that newspapers can charge, based on circulation, will help schools in the budgeting process for the amount they’ll pay for publications in newspapers.

Policy Impact for School Boards: None.

SB 1:  Expands eligibility for reduced tuition for certain school district employees at Board of Regents institutions to school counselors.

Summary:  School counselors are added to the list (that already includes teachers and vocational instructors) who are entitled to a 50% reduction of tuition to a Board of Regents institution for in-person or distance education course.

Legal/Practice Impact:  School counselors being able to take advantage of a reduced tuition is beneficial for employees, students, and school districts.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  None.

SB 2:  Removes provisions for establishing a uniform method for calculating high school credit received from completing postsecondary courses.

Summary:  This bill removes language from SDCL 13-28-37 that was just put into place a year ago that required the SD Board of Education Standards to establish by administrative rules a uniform method for school districts to calculate the amount of high school credit that a student would receive for completing a postsecondary course. 

Legal/Practice Impact:  The legislature realized that a repeal of 2023’s enacted legislation was necessary, as schools should have local control over the calculation of the amount of high school credit that a student receives for completing a postsecondary course.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  This does not require a change to ASBSD’s sample policies, but schools are encouraged to consider amending their Policy IGCD, Advanced College Placement, to include how your school district calculates these credits.

SB 60:  Updates certain regulations regarding medical qualifications for school bus drivers.

Summary:  This bill repeals the state law that allowed a waiver for a person with insulin treated diabetes mellitus, otherwise medically qualified, to drive a school bus.  This was repealed in order to be consistent with federal law, which governs CDL/school bus endorsement driver license.

Legal/Practice Impacts:  Federal law outlines the physical qualifications to get a CDL to drive a school bus, and these qualifications are placed upon the applicant to satisfy.

Policy Impact for School Boards:  None.

To read the bills mentioned above and for other 2024 session bills affecting education, please see ASBSD’s bill tracker https://asbsd.org/services/billtracker-2/.

For questions related to the policies, contact Jessica Filler at jfiller@asbsd.org or at 605-773-2513.

To access the ASBSD Policy Services website, school board members and administrators must login at http://policy.asbsd.org. Your district’s login and password information has been previously provided to your district’s administration.

Note: For ASBSD member schools who are Online Policy Services subscribers you may access a PDF copy of the modifications made to these policies through your school districts online policy site, simply choose the ASBSD Communications option under the Policies tab.

If you are not able to access the ASBSD Policy Services website, please contact your district’s administration or ASBSD Policy Services Associate Kay Thompson-Tieszen at kay@asbsd.org.

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