One lap left!
With eight weeks down and one to go, we are approaching the end of the 98th Legislative Session. But before we head out the door, we have a budget to pass. Our appropriations committee has spent some long days preparing a balanced budget, and we will consider it in final form in the coming week. I’m receiving many of your emails encouraging higher funding for education, Medicaid, and state employees. I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to take care of our obligations, make some sound investments, and still deliver a significant tax cut to South Dakotans, all while balancing our state budget. Talk about a good “first year” for a new legislator!
Speaking of having a good first year, I have successfully sent all five of my bills (HB1101, HB1124, SB76, SB88, and SB189) to the Governor’s desk for her signature!
On Wednesday, I had the honor of joining Governor Kristi Noem and Senator Jim Stalzer (R-Sioux Falls) for a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 76 at Midwest Mechanical in Sioux Falls. This “workforce freedom” bill will allow talented individuals, already certified in their craft, to more easily move or return to South Dakota. They’ll be able to join in our quality way of life and get to working in their field without unnecessary delays. It’s a win-win for current and future South Dakotans and I’m pleased to have been a part of making this law happen.
Senator Stalzer and I have also been working on another bill with Governor Noem. Senate Bill 189 cleans up and codifies an earlier executive order issued by Governor Noem that will ban state contracts with certain foreign governments, specifically China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. These nations are flagged federally and certainly don’t have the United States’ best interest at heart. We should do all we can to avoid supporting these nations, and instead try to encourage American and South Dakota-made products first. SB189 now awaits the Governor’s signature which I’m confident she’ll sign!
On the House floor, we passed several bills that will benefit people across South Dakota. Here are a couple that were important to me and I supported:
- HB1079: Sadly, suicide has become the leading cause of death in South Dakota for persons aged 10-29. This bill invests resources into mental health and suicide prevention programs, which will help the Department of Health ensure that we can meet the needs of those who are struggling.
- HB1078: This bill provides an investment into enhancing adult daycare programs for the disabled and elderly, and will have a large impact on those living with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers. I’ve always been focused on helping vulnerable members of our community and was proud to see the passage of this legislation.
- SB160: Election integrity is a priority for the legislature, and we’ve worked hard to “put our money where our mouth is” this session. The bill provided for the establishment of post-election audits, and it is another crucial step in keeping the South Dakota tradition of safe elections alive and well.
- SB35: This bill allocates $13M in state funding for further underground expansion at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). SURF is a world leader in underground science and technology research. This investment will have significant returns for many years to come.
As we look at the checked flag that sits at the end of next week, we’ll continue our work on the general budget for the upcoming fiscal year. I’ll keep you posted on how things shake out. If you would like more information about any of my work in Pierre or have any questions, please be sure to reach out. Have a great week!