Week 7 of the South Dakota 20Capitol Dome14 legislative session was marked by crossover day on Tuesday.  Crossover day is the last day for a bill or joint resolution to pass its house of origin.

 Senate Bill (SB) 44, which establishes a revolving loan fund through the state for nursing homes, was passed out of the Senate.  If established, the revolving loan fund would provide a potential funding resource for nursing homes to finance capital improvements and equipment upgrades.  SB 44 was a recommendation of the recent Long Term Care Task Force that AARP South Dakota served on.  The amount of funding allocated for the bill will be determined if the bill  continues to advance and when the budget and revenue picture becomes clearer at the end of the session. SB 44 will now go before the House Appropriations Committee.   Tell your legislators to support SB 44 which will provide a much needed resource for our financially strapped South Dakota nursing homes and will support South Dakota seniors.

House Bill (HB) 1244, the bill that offered Medicaid to only 4,000 South Dakotans and cost the state $14 million per year, did not survive crossover day this week.  AARP South Dakota opposed this bill because it cost the state more money and covered fewer people.  During debate on the floor of the House of Representatives on this bill an amendment offered by House democrats to offer full Medicaid expansion was rejected, 50-19, on a party line vote.

AARP South Dakota testified in favor of HB 1054 in Senate State Affairs this week and is pleased to see State Affairs vote to send it to the Senate floor.  HB 1054 is the Governor Daugaard’s bill through the SD Division of Insurance that creates a uniform set of claims standards consumers can rely on when dealing with insurance companies.  The bill will be voted on by the Senate on Monday.  Since the bill was amended in the Senate, it will have to go back over to the House of Representatives and be considered and voted on again. 

AARP South Dakota testified in favor of HB 1113, the property and sales tax rebate for low income seniors, during its Senate Appropriations Committee hearing this week.  Action on the bill was deferred by the committee which is not uncommon for spending bills during the latter part of the session.  AARP South Dakota will continue to support and monitor this bill for low income South Dakota seniors.     

Many communities are holding their final legislative coffees and cracker barrels of the session this weekend.  These are great opportunities to interact with your elected officials and ask our Question of the Week:  “AARP South Dakota supports HB 1054 regarding consumer protection; will you vote for it?  If you don’t support it, why?”  Share their responses with us via email to sdaarp@aarp.org