Last week, I used this space to tell you that the budget would be done and ready to go by Thursday. We experienced a day and a half delay due to the albeit late, but important introduction of two bills by the Noem Administration, that we introduced through our Joint Committee on Appropriations. Even though a couple of rules were suspended due to their late introduction in the session, it was far more open and transparent a process than if a special session were called to handle the situation all in one day. The bills were introduced publicly on Monday, and were vetted quite thoroughly in a 3.5 hour hearing on Wednesday. The bills then sat overnight and were heard in the House and Senate Thursday. This process was all clearly laid out and was open to the public. Over 10 people representing incredibly diverse viewpoints testified against the legislation in committee, but SB 189 and SB 190 prevailed with strong margins.
I made the pitch for SB 190 on the Senate floor and saw it pass 31-3, and it passed by 58-6 in the House. We expect a signing ceremony with the Governor this week.
SB 189 was the more controversial bill of the two bill package, and had more distinct opposition. It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the world we’re living in that some people choose to take advantage of some of our poorest people by paying them to incite violence and turn a peaceful, often prayerful protest into a riot. The people paying should be held responsible, and that’s what SB 189 does. It creates a civil remedy that allows the State of South Dakota to sue riot boosters for up to three times the damage their paid rioters cause, creating a very large incentive for them to not pay to boost riots in South Dakota. I supported this legislation, primarily to protect our property tax payers in counties that these pipelines will be built through.
All the time to make sure those bills that could have a profound budget impact on our state and counties were properly vetted slowed down our Appropriations process by a day and a half, but we will finish on time, the budget will balance, and it will contain a lot of what we heard from you directly, and what the other legislators brought as their key priorities. There will be a significant increase in long term care, in community support providers, and psychiatric care services, in addition to increased funding in our other Medicaid priorities, including the increases the Governor mentioned for K-12 schools, state employees and the state employee health care plan. Exact numbers are part of our ongoing negotiations, but all will be shown as soon as agreements are finalized.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the South Dakota Senate. If you wish to reach me, email is the best at email@example.com, you may listen to committee or floor testimony at sd.net and you may see the progress of all bills at sdlegislature.gov