AARP Eye Center
The 2023 South Dakota Legislative Session has come to a close. During this year's session, the Legislature considered 241 House Bills (HB), 20 House Commemorations, 18 House Resolutions, 210 Senate Bills (SB), 16 Senate Commemorations, and 12 Senate Resolutions.
Here are some issues AARP South Dakota worked on during the session that impact the 50+ population in South Dakota:
Property Tax Relief (SB 26)
With AARP South Dakota’s support, SB 26 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill updates the income parameters for the Property Tax Reduction from Municipal Taxes for the Elderly & Disabled program.
AARP South Dakota supported Senate Bill 26 because the legislation indexes South Dakota’s property tax exemption levels for lower-income taxpayers to inflation, so the value of this important benefit does not erode over time. These new levels will help more of our older residents stay in their own homes as they age. At the same time, the legislation remains targeted to those South Dakotans with the most need, an important principle for relief to help ensure that localities have the revenue they need to provide essential services.
With AARP South Dakota’s support, Medicaid Expansion was fully funded for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 in the budget with $11.4 million in state funding added to the ongoing budget. Several amendments were made throughout the budget to provide the necessary funding for expansion in a number of departments where expansion is impacted.
The legislature defeated a bill that proposed to create a Medicaid Expansion Fund (SB 149) to track Medicaid funds and expenses. The bill was determined to not be needed because the state’s accounting system can query and display that information as needed. The Interim Appropriations Committee will be provided with information throughout the year about Medicaid expansion funds and services.
AARP South Dakota worked to successfully defeat House Joint Resolution (HJR) 5004, which would have asked voters in the 2024 general election to amend the Constitution of the State of South Dakota and authorize the state to impose work requirements on certain individuals who are eligible for Medicaid expansion.
This proposal came just months after South Dakota voters approved Medicaid expansion by passing Amendment D during the November 2022 general election with 56% of the vote. In the measure voters passed, there was no work requirement language. The legislature wanted to ask voters to amend the Medicaid expansion language, and we didn’t think it was right.
Housing (SB 41)
With AARP South Dakota’s support, SB 41 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill establishes a program for housing infrastructure loans and grants and appropriates funding to address affordable housing.
AARP South Dakota believes using a variety of mechanisms to incentivize the development of affordable housing is vital for our state. Regulatory reforms, in tandem with direct subsidies to reduce the costs of construction, can significantly increase the feasibility of new affordable housing projects. Local and state housing policies improve affordability by addressing market failures. AARP South Dakota feels SB 41 addresses housing stability and is essential for the long-term health and financial security of all South Dakotans, particularly the 50-plus population.
Low-Income Elderly Tax Credit (HB 1034)
With AARP South Dakota's support, HB 1034 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill provides $450,000 toward property and sales tax refunds to low-income seniors.
Property taxes are the single most burdensome tax for low-income and older homeowners. Many of our state's elderly citizens have lived in their homes for generations. As their property values have appreciated, so have their property taxes. Furthermore, seniors often live on fixed incomes and cannot afford the yearly increases in their property taxes while also meeting their basic needs for food, medicine, and utilities.
Adult Day Services (HB 1078)
With AARP South Dakota’s support, HB 1078 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill appropriates $2 million to the Department of Human Services for the development and expansion of adult day services programs that serve adults living with dementia, or with symptoms in alignment with dementia.
Adult day programs can be an important contributor to allowing individuals to remain in their homes and communities, and evidence shows that older people who attend these centers have a better quality of life. Adult day services are also important in providing family caregivers a needed break from their caregiving duties, many of whom also may be juggling a job or other family responsibilities.
Increased adult day services provided through HB 1078 is one important step to allow individuals with dementia to remain in their homes and communities.
Voting Access (HB 1217)
AARP South Dakota worked to successfully defeat HB 1217, which would have reduced absentee voting from 46 to 30 days prior to our elections and modified the eligibility requirements to vote by absentee ballot. AARP South Dakota feels the right to vote is among the most basic of all rights. We opposed HB 1217 because it adds unnecessary barriers that prevent older adults and people with disabilities from participating in elections.
Voter participation can be significantly increased by practices such as early voting. Defeating HB 1217 is a win for South Dakota voters and our election process.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget, which was presented as SB 210, came in at $7.4 billion.
The final budget includes 7% increases for education funding and state employees. Most Medicaid providers received a 5% increase. Targeted Medicaid providers received funding to 100% of their methodology. These targeted providers include:
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Behavioral health providers
- Community support providers for children and adults with developmental disabilities
- In-home healthcare providers
- Residential youth providers
SB 210 has been signed into law by the Governor.
From week to week, AARP South Dakota worked on these, and many other, issues during the 2023 South Dakota Legislative Session. Overall, it was a very busy and productive legislative session for AARP South Dakota.
Thank you for your feedback and response to our weekly updates and action alerts throughout the session. Your willingness to engage on our priorities with our legislators helps contribute to AARP South Dakota’s presence and success in Pierre. If you have any questions about our advocacy work, please contact:
Erik Nelson, Associate State Director – Advocacy
AARP South Dakota
Stay connected to our advocacy efforts throughout the year through our website and our social media - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.