South Dakota 2021 Legislative Session: Week One Update

Posted on 01/15/21

The 2021 South Dakota legislative session kicked off this week and though some things may look a little different, AARP South Dakota’s is still making sure your voice is heard!

Back in early December, Governor Kristi Noem gave her annual budget address, and noted the following updates to our state’s revenue:

  • In June 2020, SD ended fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) with a $19 million surplus.
  • As of the address, SD was running 19.4% ahead of the estimated revenue for FY 2021.
  • To date, South Dakota has received over $3.9 billion in stimulus money from the federal government, including Paycheck Protection Program loans to South Dakota business and $1.2 billion in CARES funding.

In total, Governor Noem announced that SD’s FY 2022 budget will include an additional $200 million due to better than predicted sales tax revenue and federal stimulus dollars. She has proposed the following budget allocations:

  • $100 million toward Broadband expansion, intended to provide all of SD access to reliable high speed internet.
    AARP South Dakota supports this measure, which will improve healthcare, agriculture, etc. and impact many other businesses and individuals in the state
  • a 2.4% increase in state aid to K-12 education, Medicaid providers, and state employee salaries.
    An increase in funding for Medicaid providers will help to provide better long-term care for South Dakota residents.

To open the legislative session this week, the Governor gave the State of the State address on Tuesday.  During her speech, she again highlighted the importance of Broadband and noted that 135,000 homes in the state are still without access to high speed internet.  This is an important priority for AARP since access to high speed internet will allow people to live where they want, age in place and work remotely.

In addition to broadband, AARP South Dakota will also be prioritizing the following legislative issues during this session:

  • Healthcare Access
  • Healthcare Funding
  • On-line Voter Registration

We will continue to keep you updated each week on these and other important issues that could affect you, your family and your community! We hope you’ll share these priorities with your elected leaders when you see them in your community and we invite you to reach out to our Director of Advocacy if you have any questions or ideas: Erik Nelson | 605-350-6348 | @enelsonaarp

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