2024 South Dakota Legislative Session: That's A Wrap!

Posted on 03/26/24 by Erik Nelson

The 2024 South Dakota Legislative Session has come to a close. The Legislature considered 258 House Bills (HB), 31 House Commemorations, 15 House Resolutions, 220 Senate Bills (SB), 18 Senate Commemorations and 17 Senate Resolutions.
 
Here are some issues AARP South Dakota worked on during the session that impact South Dakotans 50-plus:

Home and Community-Based Services - SB 46
With AARP South Dakota’s support, SB 46 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 46 allows the South Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) to confirm with healthcare providers the receipt of a patient referral and work collaboratively to provide patients with the best care possible; these referrals include the need for home and community-based services (HCBS). Dakota at Home is South Dakota's aging and disability resource center. Dakota at Home provides free unbiased information, referral and assistance to individuals – regardless of age, disability, income or resources. SB 46 provides timely and efficient access to HCBS which is imperative to individuals and their family caregivers. Ultimately SB 46 will help to connect HCBS providers with individuals who need care.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Compact – HB 1013 With AARP South Dakota’s support, HB 1013 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor.

The APRN Compact will streamline access and provide additional choices to patients and families by cutting red tape so APRNs can more easily deliver care across state lines. It also promotes safety and quality through uniform standards. AARP South Dakota believes the enactment of the APRN Compact will enhance and improve healthcare access in frontier and rural communities across South Dakota, supporting patients and the nearly 80,000 family caregivers who help keep their loved ones safe and independent in their communities.

Feasibility Study on the Medicaid Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – HB 1016
With AARP South Dakota’s support, the South Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) has agreed to fund the PACE feasibility study.

Individuals enrolled in PACE receive integrated care from an interdisciplinary team of healthcare and social service professionals. Participants can access a comprehensive range of services, including adult day care, medical care, physical and occupational therapy, nutritional counseling and more. Studies show participation in PACE may result in lower rates of hospital stays and readmissions, increased care quality and improved quality of life. This bill was designed to fund a feasibility study to explore the PACE program in South Dakota. During the legislative hearings, DHS stated they could fund the feasibility study, which was the desired outcome, so the committee no longer needed to act on this bill.

Provide for the distribution of informational materials regarding palliative care – SB 147
With AARP South Dakota’s support, SB 147 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor.

AARP South Dakota supported SB 147 because it will provide information to healthcare consumers on important services such as palliative care. Research has shown that most people do not receive the type of care they want in their final months of life. One reason for this is inadequate medical education regarding death and dying. In addition, a medical culture that emphasizes curing over other care goals too often propels clinicians to implement aggressive care. SB 147 will help provide key information to South Dakotans on their care options so that they can make informed treatment decisions.

Medicaid Expansion – Senate Joint Resolution 501 (SJR 501)
AARP South Dakota opposed SJR 501, which proposes to the voters during the November 2024 general election, an amendment to the Constitution of the State of South Dakota authorizing the state to impose work requirements on certain individuals who are eligible for Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, SJR 501 passed through the legislature and will be on the November ballot as Amendment F.

By passing SJR 501, our South Dakota legislature is telling voters, specifically the 50-plus voters who always show up for elections, that they didn’t know what they were voting for in 2022. A similar resolution failed in the 2023 session only months after Amendment D passed and well before Medicaid expansion was even implemented. This argument is unfair to the voters who cast their ballots in 2022 and ignores the expertise and efforts of the coalition of South Dakota organizations that supported Amendment D and that continue to support Medicaid expansion implementation as directed by South Dakota voters.

AARP South Dakota will continue to advocate that our lawmakers honor the will of the people, and we will continue to oppose SJR 501 – now Amendment F – all the way through the election in November!

Low-Income Elderly Tax Credit – SB 28
With AARP South Dakota's support, SB 28 passed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill provides $425,000 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.

Voting Access – SB 123
AARP South Dakota worked to successfully defeat SB 123, which would have changed the voter registration deadline from 15 days before an election to 30 days before an election.

Changing the voter registration deadline in this way could have resulted in a significant decrease in voter participation. AARP South Dakota opposed SB 123 because it adds unnecessary barriers that prevent older adults from registering to vote and participating in elections.

Defeating SB 123 is a win for South Dakota voters and our election process.

State Budget  The Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget, which was presented as HB 1259, came in at $7.3 billion. Among other things, the new budget includes:

  • A 4% increase for state government employee pay, education funding and reimbursement to health care providers throughout the state.
  • The budget includes $3 million that would provide grants to improve technology and patient monitoring at such facilities. The technology grants would not use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.
  • The legislature also agreed to provide technology grants to nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state with remaining federal ARPA funds.
  • An increase to reach 98% cost reimbursement for nursing homes and other health care providers that have patients on government-funded care such as Medicaid.
  • Over $20 million for Medicaid expansion, which continues to be implemented after voters approved Amendment D in November 2022.

HB 1259 has been signed into law by the Governor.
Conclusion
From week to week, AARP South Dakota worked on these – and many other - issues during the 2024 South Dakota Legislative Session. Overall, it was a very busy and productive legislative session for AARP South Dakota.

In addition, more than 70 volunteer advocates from around the state attended our Lobby Day event in Pierre on January 30. They were highly visible in the Capitol halls decked out in red AARP South Dakota vests. This annual event provides volunteers with the opportunity to chat one-on-one with lawmakers and represent South Dakotans 50-plus and their families. We’re already making plans for Lobby Day 2025!

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:
Email: enelson@aarp.org
Phone: 605-350-6348

Also, be sure to follow our social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

This story is provided by AARP South Dakota. Visit the AARP South Dakota page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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