The cold of winter has arrived which means that Pierre is a hot bed of activity as the 2018 South Dakota legislative session has begun.  Once again, AARP South Dakota’s presence in Pierre is felt as we working diligently on your behalf.

Photo by the South Dakota Network (SDPB)

As per usual, Governor Dennis Daugaard kicked off the 2018 session with the annual State of the State address followed by the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday and the State of the Tribes address on Thursday.

During his State of the State address, Governor Daugaard provided a recap of his time as Governor.  He also focused on what he has done to improve the workforce in South Dakota and the need for a larger, more diverse and skilled workforce.   The Governor didn’t spend much time on the budget during the State of the State address but during his budget speech last month he outlined the state of the current fiscal year’s budget and his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 19.  As expected, the revenues for the current year are well below where they were originally predicted.  Forecasts for revenue in the coming fiscal year are equally tenuous, leading the Governor to propose only limited increases in state spending.

For the current fiscal year (FY 18), the Governor informed the Legislature that the state is expected to fall $33.7 million short of revenue included in the budget approved last session.  To balance the current year budget, the Governor proposed using a combination of cuts to spending by state agencies ($16 million), reserve fund dollars ($7.2

million) and other fund balances ($10.5 million).  This would fill in the projected shortfall for the current fiscal year without cutting any programs currently operating under that budget.

Photo from

The proposed FY19 budget has limited increases.  The $4.69 billion budget, including state and federal money, would provide increases of $16.4 million to education and $11 million to health funding.  Included in the $11 million in health funding is $5.4 million in mandatory inflation increases and $4.8 million in projected utilization increases. The remaining money is slated to fund the Rural Family Physician Recruitment Program, bringing community based providers to 90% of cost.  A special appropriation is also included in the proposed budget to fund the rural healthcare provider tuition reimbursement program.

As we move forward with the 2018 legislative session, here on some of the issues/bills AARP South Dakota will be focusing on:

  • Uniform Power of Attorney and support for family caregivers
  • Telemedicine and increased access to care
  • Data breach notification and SD consumer protections
  • Healthcare funding

To learn about these and other issues that are important to you and your family, join our advocacy email list and receive weekly updates from Pierre. Plus, have a direct line to our team to share your stories, insights, questions and concerns.  Send your name and email address to to be added to the list.