AARP South Dakota Legislative Wrap-Up

Posted on 03/27/21

The 2021 South Dakota Legislative Session has ended and thanks to great support and engagement from AARP SD advocates across the state, AARP was able to make significant progress on many of our priorities:

High Speed Internet Expansion | Senate Bill 34
With AARP South Dakota’s support, Senate Bill (SB) 34, which allocates $75 million toward broadband expansion and upgrades in SD, has been signed by the Governor.  Governor Noem is also allocating $25 million in CARES Act funding toward broadband.

In a 2019 survey, AARP members expressed overwhelming bipartisan support for broadband initiatives in our state and AARP SD is proud to be helping to connect the estimated 135,000 South Dakotans currently living without high-speed internet access.

Learn more about our work on this issue in our previous legislative updates.

Voting Options | House Bill 1126 and House Bill 1245
Thanks to the swift action of more than 130 advocates, AARP South Dakota successfully opposed House Bill (HB) 1126, which would have forever removed one of the critical tools SD Secretary of State Steve Barnett used to make the 2020 elections successful, safe and secure by restricting the SD Secretary of State's ability to mail absentee ballot applications to registered voters when he/she deem it necessary.

AARP South Dakota also successfully opposed HB 1245 which would have reduced the absentee voting period from 46 to 30 days and limited voting options in our state.

Learn more about our work on this issue in our previous legislative updates.

Health Care Costs Transparency – HB 1263
With AARP South Dakota’s support, HB 1263 which improves price transparency for health care costs has been signed into law by the Governor. This new law will go into effect on July 1, 2021, and will empower consumers with the knowledge of actual in-network and out-of-network costs for procedures and prescription drugs, as well as, real-time information on consumer’s cost sharing requirement.

Learn more about our work on this issue in our previous legislative update.

Low-Income Elderly Tax Credit – HB 1013
With AARP South Dakota's support, House Bill 1013 has been signed into law by the Governor.  HB 1013 provides $450,000 toward property or sales tax refunds to low income seniors.

Learn more about our support of this annual program in our previous legislative updates.

On July 1, 2021 fiscal year 2022 (FY 22) will begin. South Dakota lawmakers have approved a $5.1 billion state budget which includes:

  • an 8.6% increase in ongoing dollars for the Medicaid reimbursement rates for long term care facilities and assisted living centers;
  • a 12.3% increase in ongoing dollars for Medicaid reimbursement rates for in-home health care;
  • a $50 million transfer to the health care trust fund - where the interest will be used for ongoing healthcare costs in the future;
  • and a 2.4% cost of living increase for K-12 education, state employees and Medicaid providers.

Overall, it was a very busy and productive legislative session for AARP South Dakota. Even though the session is behind us, our work is not done! We will continue to share timely and important state advocacy information as it is available – and we encourage you to follow AARP’s work on the federal stage.

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