Week 2 of the 2021 South Dakota legislative session is winding down but the pace in Pierre is picking up!
On Friday, AARP South Dakota testified before the House State Affairs Committee in opposition to House Bill (HB) 1046 which limits civil liability related to COVID-19.
- AARP has long fought to ensure the health, safety, quality of care and quality of life for residents in nursing homes and other residential care facilities. This includes the right of residents and their families to hold facilities accountable when residents are harmed, neglected or abused by seeking legal redress through the courts.
Carrying out a nursing home neglect or abuse case in court is not easy. No family member who has lost a loved one due to neglect or abuse pursues this action lightly. It is always an option of last resort, but it must remain an option. It is very important that the rights and protections of residents remain a top priority.
AARP South Dakota urged the House State Affairs Committee to reject HB 1046. Unfortunately, HB 1046 was passed in House State Affairs and now moves to the floor of the House of Representatives for consideration.
Also, this week the House Retirement Laws Committee held a hearing on the four bills being brought by the South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS). Each bill passed out of committee and are on their way to the House floor.
- House Bill (HB) 1030 – adds language that specifies the timing and other characteristics of the latest IRS mandated minimum distribution requirements, which were updated by the federal CARES and SECURE Act legislation. This proposed legislation has no material effect on the condition or cost of the plan.
- House Bill (HB) 1031 – updates and clarifies existing administrative requirements for applications for membership or benefits. There is no material effect on the condition or cost of the plan.
- House Bill (HB) 1032 – reduces the minimum COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) amount to zero, from 0.5 percent. Current SDRS policy provides for an annual cost of living adjustment based on the rate of inflation and the plan’s funding level. The impact of the bill on the plan and its participants will vary depending on the condition of the plan and the actual rate of inflation. This bill simply ensures that no COLA is made during years with no inflation.
- House Bill (HB) 1033 - clarifies and revises certain provisions of SDRS postretirement employment policy to maintain compliance with IRS regulations and promote equity among participants with different benefit levels who might seek to return to work after they retire. HB 1033 expands the scope of the required three-month break-in-service for post-retirement employment to include seasonal, temporary, or contract workers. The bill also eliminates the requirement that benefits be suspended for rehired members with a reduced (early) retirement benefit who exceed post-retirement employment restrictions.
AARP South Dakota is monitoring these bills and will keep you posted on their progress.
Next week, AARP SD will host it's annual Lobby Day virtually. Now more that ever, we rely on your support to share our message locally and to help us make a difference in every layer of government. To learn more about this event, click here.