A new year means a new legislative session in South Dakota and the Capitol is busy with newly elected officials. AARP SD advocates are in Pierre making sure your new representatives are up-to-date on the issues that matter most to you.
On the heels of her inauguration last weekend, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem kicked off the 2019 legislative session with her first State of the State address on Tuesday.
- She began the address by acknowledging the work of past governors and legislators to get South Dakota to a strong financial position, specifically celebrating our AAA financial ratings and the work done to make our state a desirable place for people to do business, raise their families and retire. Governor Noem said she was committed to continuing efforts to keep South Dakota a leader in these areas, but she also pledged to look at things differently to make sure our State is planning for the next generation.
- The first issue Governor Noem highlighted was her intention to make access to broadband internet a priority to help grow rural communities, address workforce needs and connect South Dakota to the world. She plans to invest state dollars to supplement private investments and connect the entire state in the next 4 years. Infrastructure to support 5G internet is also part of this vision. AARP South Dakota is a strong proponent of reliable broadband internet access and looks forward to working with Governor Noem on this issue. This investment will support telehealth capabilities throughout the state, allow residents to stay in their rural towns longer and help expand AARP’s Livable Communities initiative.
- Other issues addressed by Governor Noem in her State of the State included: Hunting and Habitat, the Economy, Workforce, Meth Addiction, Foster Care, Agriculture, Transparency, Hot Springs VA and the Keystone Pipeline.
Though not specifically addressed in her speech, we look forward to working with Governor Noem on important issues related to membership, including funding for healthcare and community support providers and nursing home closures.
Governor Noem’s address was followed by the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday and the State of the Tribes address on Thursday.
The South Dakota constitution required former Governor Daugaard to give a budget address in early December. During that speech, he made a number of proposals, including a 2.3% funding increase for education, healthcare providers and state workers. Governor Noem has until January 23rd to deliver her budget to the legislature. She will likely incorporate some of the initiatives put forth by the Daugaard administration for FY 2020 but she’ll also propose a budget that is consistent with her vision for state government.
As we move forward with the 2019 legislative session, AARP South Dakota will be working on the following issues/bills:
- Addressing Door-to-Door sales consumer protection statutes
- Medical Order for Scope of Treatment (MOST)
- Healthcare funding
Erik Nelson, AARP SD’s Director of Advocacy, will be in Pierre throughout the 2019 legislative session and we invite you to reach out to him with any comments or questions. His contact information is below:
You can also check back here each week for updates on any issue that may affect South Dakota’s 50+ population. Or – have our update delivered to your email inbox each week by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to be added to our legislative advocate email list.