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Politics

Lawmakers Approve Resolution Directing COVID Relief Spending

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SDPB

State legislators are directing the spending of the remaining federal coronavirus relief dollars given to South Dakota.

Governor Kristi Noem opened up a special session with a speech about what the state has gone through since lawmakers were last convened in March.

South Dakota averaged 11 cases a day when the legislature met on that Veto Day. Now, the state averages 450 new cases of COVID 19.

The state received $1.25 billion in CARES Act relief money.

About $600 million remains unspent.

Governor Kristi Noem and some state lawmakers hoped for an extension to spend the CARES Act dollars.

“I’ll keep pushing Congress to provide greater flexibility, especially as it relates to this deadline. And they may come back and pass something before the upcoming election, or even in a lame duck session," Noem says. "But that’s why whatever you adopt should be flexible. It should account for whether Congress acts or doesn’t act.”

Lawmakers approved a resolution directing the spending of the federal dollars.

Governor Noem has already spent $500 dollars per student to help schools—to the tune of $75 million.
That includes public and private students. An amendment to add tribal school students to that was rejected.

Earlier this year, Noem proposed a $400 million small business grant. Lawmakers approved that ask. Businesses who’ve seen a 25 percent decline are eligible for the grant. Legislators approved $115 million for the state’s Medicaid providers. They also approved $10 million in rental assistance.

Lawmakers rejected proposals to ramp up COVID 19 testing and contact tracing, and a 10 million dollar meat processing expansion grant.

The state has until December 30th to spend it’s allotted money.