The month of March is officially upon us and AARP South Dakota’s work for you continues in Pierre. We have only one full week of the 2019 SD Legislative Session remaining so we spent much of this week following up on ongoing legislation.
On Thursday, AARP South Dakota testified, again, in favor of House Bill (HB) 1050 this time before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As you’ll recall, House Bill 1050 revises certain provisions regarding the use and possession of credit card scanning devices. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be up for consideration on the Senate floor next week.
Also this week, the Joint Appropriations Committee amended House Bill (HB) 1256, which is supported by AARP South Dakota. The amendment set the income parameters for the elderly and disabled property tax refund program at 100% of the federal poverty level for 2019. The bill passed the House of Representatives and will move over to the Senate for consideration.
With AARP’s support, Senate Bill (SB) 8 passed the Senate and moved to the House of Representatives this week. As we discussed in our week three legislative update, SB 8 comes as a recommendation from the 2018 Mental Health Services legislative summer study and expands the 211 helpline service to a statewide resource and information system. Because SB 8 is spending bill, it likely won’t be resolved until the end of this legislative session.
Another developing issue we have been following this week is Senate Bill (SB) 173. This bill appropriates $5 million from the general fund to be used by the SD Department of Human Services to fund nursing home ‘innovation grants’ and to expedite the review of the nursing home rate methodology. The innovation grant concept was proposed by Governor Noem at the start of the legislative session as a way of beginning to address some of our state’s largest issues.
The Joint Appropriations Committee and the Senate passed SB 173 and the bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. As a spending bill, it likely won’t be resolved until the end of the legislative session.
Finally this week, AARP live-tweeted the federal Senate Finance Committee hearing in which seven top pharmaceutical companies testified about the dangerously high cost of prescription drugs. AARP believes the drug industry needs to put people over profits and we are looking for personal stories to help us humanize this important issue. If you or someone you love has been affected by high prescription drug costs, please share your story here.