Committees Continuing Discussions As Summer Comes To A Close | Opinion

The road to Pierre is becoming way too familiar this summer.

Interim Committee meetings are in full swing and addressing many of the topics that occupy the conversations at home, business and communities.

Interim Rules approved rules to establish mandatory and permissive district policies for schools to all allow students to have access to medical cannabis on school property and at school-sponsored activities only impacted public K-12 education. These rules do not impact any of the private/religious sponsored K-12 education programs in this state.

Telehealth services both visual/audio will continue to be reimbursed by Medicaid to providers delivering services thru these options. They were approved for reimbursement during the Pandemic and have demonstrated to be a viable option for timely patient access.

The Electrical Commission rate increases were approved to address losses that the commission was experiencing over the last two years due to increasing expenses associated with more required regulatory inspections. Business and residential services are growing and needing the inspections. The Commission had not adjusted license fees of recent for many years. The Industry was in support of the recommended increases. Public Safety rules established entry-level driver training requirements to obtain commercial driver’s license.

Game, Fish and Parks exempted the newly created special antelope unit from the landowner application preference. They created a special resident and nonresident any antelope license and established fees associated with the purchasing of these licenses. Based on the management plan for antelopes the number of special antelope nonresident licenses will range from 2% to 8% of total licenses available. Beaver trapping is open statewide and year-round with the exception in Black Hills Fire Protection District. River Otter harvest increased from 15 to 20 otters. The discussion focused on how many otters are currently in the state. GF&P stated they are unable to provide a finite number as it is difficult to monitor but are working to develop some type of data set.

The SD Banking Commission amended rules to abate the examination fee assessed to state-charter banks for the June 2021 semiannual examination fee assessment period. Currently the fund where the feeds go is exceeding 100%. The Commission monitors the dollars in the fund to maintain below 100%.

The Gaming Commission presented the rules for sports betting in Deadwood. The rules are based on best practice rules from other states and are in line in what the industry has for all aspects of betting including: testing, security, sports wagering, licensing requirements and regulations.

Joint Appropriations is following 2021 year-end reports on revenues, expenditures, reversions, transfers and coronavirus dollars. For this round of federal funding America’s Recovery Plan SD will receive a total of $1.366B in direct funding to be used through December 31, 2026. The allocations need to be made by December 31,2024. The state receives $974,478,783, Counties $171,834,638, Sioux Falls and Rapid City $38,440,065, all other cities $65,246,504 and Capital Projects Fund total $115,752,330. The Committee is working with the Bureau of Finance Management and the Legislative Research Council to understand the guidance as to how the dollars can be used. The city and county dollars go directly to these units of local government. The other dollar allocations will be debated during the 22 Legislative Session. There was a legislative oversight committee created by the Executive Board to work with the Governor on the expenditure of these dollars. Leaders from both Houses and parties and the Co-Chairs of Joint Appropriations are members of this Committee. Joint Appropriations is monitoring the revenue projections and actuals for FY22 on a monthly basis. The focus of the Committee is on the programming of one-time dollars approved during this past session and covid dollar expenditures. Certainly, the compensation issues at the Prison will be monitored as well as the same compensation issues at HSC and Redfield. All of state government is experiencing high vacancy rates. The issue is critical to those agencies that have institutions or facilities that serve high risk populations. The challenge is that Joint Appropriations cannot adjust the budget during the interim. Any changes for additional dollars would require the full legislature approval. The short-term approach at the Prison is being funded from dollars in their existing budget that are there due to unfilled positions. There will be continued monitoring of these facilities and the plan that has been implemented at the Prison.

Again, I encourage citizens to go the Legislative Research Council website to check on all the interim meetings and listen to them if interested. SD.Net carries live feed on all the meetings. Questions/concerns please contact me at 660-5619 or [email protected].

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