AARP AARP States South Dakota Advocacy

South Dakota 2020 Legislative Session: Week Three Update

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This was a busy week for AARP South Dakota. On Tuesday, we held our annual Lobby Day and brought nearly 100 advocates to Pierre to support AARP South Dakota legislative priorities. Our Sioux Falls advocates had a briefing from Sioux Falls area legislators in the Visitor’s Center, while our Northeast and West River advocates hosted lunch in the Capitol Rotunda. Overall, we connected with over 70 legislators and took a group picture with Governor Noem, Lt. Governor Rhoden and Attorney General Ravnsborg. Thanks to everyone that came to Pierre and helped make our Lobby Day a success!

Additionally, AARP South Dakota sat down with Governor Kristi Noem to discuss the expansion of high speed internet access. As you know, Governor Noem continues to make providing reliable broadband service across the state a priority for her administration. A strong broadband infrastructure impacts all South Dakotans by improving access to telehealth and other services, promoting entrepreneurship, addressing workforce shortages and combating social isolation. During our meeting, we shared the results of our broadband survey and economic analysis with Governor Noem. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Noem on this important issue.

On Thursday, AARP South Dakota testified in support of Senate Bill (SB) 53 which says any resident over the age of sixty-five may obtain a ten percent discount to any South Dakota state park or recreation area and may receive a ten percent discount on any camping fee or associated electrical service fee.

AARP South Dakota has worked with State Park officials to plan and execute events for our members and guests throughout the year. These hikes are popular and members have requested that we continue the series annually. In addition to these events, AARP South Dakota sponsored the SD Game Fish and Parks Fitness Passport to promote park visitation. AARP South Dakota’s support of SB 50 is an extension of our efforts to promote utilization of our state’s wonderful State Parks.

Despite AARP South Dakota’s support, SB 53 was defeated in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee.

During the 2020 South Dakota legislative session, AARP South Dakota will also support the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA). Powers of attorney are legal documents used by an individual (the principal) to delegate authority to someone else (the agent) to make financial decisions and act on the principal's behalf. They are essential tools in many situations, including injury or illness that results in the loss of decision-making capacity.

To be useful as an incapacity planning tool, a power of attorney must give broad authority to the agent. However, state laws are often unclear about the duty owed by the agent to the principal. This combination of broad consent, unclear duties and lack of oversight make it possible for agents to misuse their authority.

While the UPOAA can’t prevent bad actors from committing theft and other forms of abuse, it does set forth clear agent duties and regulations that will make civil action and criminal prosecution of abusive agents more effective. It also provides important protections to third parties, which will encourage their acceptance of powers of attorney in appropriate circumstances. AARP South Dakota believes this legislation is an important tool for our members in end of life planning for both themselves and their loved ones and we will share more information as a bill moves through the legislature.

Remember: many of your state legislators return home after each week in Pierre to reconnect with their communities and to hear from members of their constituency. AARP SD is one of the many groups who help to facilitate these conversations by sponsoring legislative coffees in cities across the state. Find an event near you and remember to let your lawmakers know you are watching what happens in Pierre!