South Dakota 2020 Legislative Session: Wrap Up

Posted on 04/03/20

The 2020 South Dakota Legislative Session has officially ended and AARP South Dakota made great progress on many issues of importance to our state's 50+ population. Read below to learn more about how these new pieces of legislation may affect you and your family:

  • Low-Income Elderly Tax Credit – House Bill 1034
    • Each year, AARP South Dakota supports a property or sales tax refund for low-income seniors. This year, we were pleased to see the income eligibility parameters for the program raised to 100% of the federal poverty level and applaud our lawmakers for, again, supporting this important piece of legislation, which has been signed into law. Learn more about this program in our week four update.
  • Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) Budget
    • For the coming year, South Dakota lawmakers have approved a $4.9 billion state budget, which includes a 2% inflationary increase in funding for education, state employees and Medicaid providers (such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities). The budget bill also includes:
      • funding for the rural health care provider tuition reimbursement program;
      • funding for a new Allied Health Service Building at USD to help address healthcare workforce needs;
      • funding for 211 access in all counties at 100% funding;
      • and $5 million in rural broadband investments.

Veto Day and Coronavirus Response
The 2020 legislative session did not officially adjourned until about 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning (March 31). The final day of session, often referred to as 'veto day', was a marathon. Session was held virtually to tie up lose ends and address South Dakota's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the end, the legislature passed nine of the twelve bills introduced to address this crisis. A summary of those bills is below:

  • Senate Bill 187 expands the circumstances someone can be eligible for unemployment benefits to include layoffs related to COVID-19. The bill, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 188 waives the minimum contact hours for K-12 schools and allows online instruction to be counted toward the school year. The bill, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 189 provides an exemption to the standardized exams given to K-12 students as well as other required activities of a school district, such as fire drills and school accountability provisions. The bill, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 190 waives the requirements for driver’s license renewal and allows for a 90 day extension of driver’s licensed during a declared emergency. The Office of Public Safety will have to officially note this extension and is anticipated to do so. The bill, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 192 creates a COVID-19 business release fund with $11 million and allows the Governor's Office of Economic Development to issue 0% loans of up to $75,000 to businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bill, passed the Senate 32-0 and the House 61-6, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • Senate Bill 193 revises Senate Bill 38, to amend the FY 20 budget to receive the one-time federal stimulus money approved by Congress. The money coming into this fund is approximately $90 million. The bill, passed the Senate 32-2 and the House 66-0, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately. The money allocated in the bill will include:
    • $55.7 million to the SD Bureau of Finance and Management to be distributed as federal stimulus throughout state government
    • $27.8 million for two calendars of Federal Medical Assistance Percentage at a 6.2% federal enhancement
    • $1 million for Women, Infants and Children coverage for eligible women and children
    • $3.8 million for unemployment insurance services
    • $1.2 million for congregate and home delivered meals for older residents
  • House Bill 1295 adds COVID-19 to the list of contagious diseases that can be addressed using the contagious disease statutes. The bill, passed the Senate 35-0 and the House 54-12, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • House Bill 1296 allows the Governor to suspend statutes pertaining to the operation of state business during a time of a declared emergency in addition to the suspension of administrative rules. The bill was amended to specifically exclude the power to impact gun ownership or sales. The bill, passed the House 62-4 and the Senate 26-9, has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect immediately.
  • House Bill 1298 delays any local election to be held between April 14th and May 26th and allows the delayed election to be held in conjunction with the June 2 statewide primary elections or any Tuesday in June. The bill, passed the House 62-0 and the Senate 26-5, has been signed by Governor and will go into effect immediately.

Conclusion
Overall, this was a very busy and productive legislative session, and the work is not over! AARP SD will continue to keep you updated on state and federal legislative activity as together, we navigate this time of unprecedented uncertainty. For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, please visit aarp.org/coronavirus.

Thank you for your feedback and response to our weekly updates throughout the session. Your willingness to engage on our priorities with your legislators helps contribute to AARP South Dakota’s presence and success in Pierre and Washington, D.C.

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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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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