This week marks the final full week of the 2019 SD Legislature. Next week is mainly set aside for Conference committees to clear out the final disagreements between the House and Senate. This week, the Senate will weigh in on Hemp authorization legislation, we will reveal our plans for nursing homes, providers, schools, and state employees. I haven’t said much about the nursing home solutions we’re working on, so allow me to briefly state that we’re turning a corner in the negotiations, and have reached some tentative agreements that will be addressed in the General Bill and in the amendments to last year’s General Bill. There will be a targeted increase above the Governor’s recommendations, and it will not solve all the problems. The innovation grants requested by the Governor include the first real look at the rate structure in South Dakota since 2010, with a refresh in 2015. This was scheduled for 2021, but our legislature wants better data to determine the actual costs so that we can find a way forward. As emotional as this issue can be, we also have to remember that we’re dealing with largely private businesses, and all we can do is make sure our Medicaid rates are adjusted to the proper cost, but we will infuse a solid investment into their ongoing base to keep things moving while that happens.
When considering hemp legislation, I cannot support the current HB1191. It writes a blank check, regardless of Federal Laws and FDA approval of CBD oils. I have always been wary of a crop that the government can just come in and destroy if it tests too high in THC with no recompense, and even though I support the idea of growing hemp someday, I don’t think South Dakota is ready with the regulatory structure, and rapid implementation is going to be costly. Waiting one more year to get better cost data won’t hurt us. I greatly appreciate the feedback I’ve received on both sides of this issue, and look forward to finding a better solution.
On a personal note—until this year I’ve never missed a single day of session. This year I missed two. I would like to take a brief moment to thank so many of you for the kind words, prayers and flowers as we say goodbye to my mother in law. She was a great lady who fought valiantly against cancer and will be missed by many.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the South Dakota Senate. If you wish to reach me, email works best firstname.lastname@example.org is always at my side. You may review the progress of all bills at sdlegislature.gov, and listen to committees or watch floor sessions at sd.net