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House, Senate budget groups meeting separately

Melissa Hamersma Sievers

State lawmakers have less than two weeks to craft the state budget.

Typically, House and Senate lawmakers who set the budget meet together in the Joint Appropriations Committee.

But the lawmakers split into two committees after a difference of opinion about spending authority over federal dollars for childcare stabilization grants.

Republican state Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, chairs the Senate appropriations group. She says the two chambers disagree on how federal dollars should be used.

“We’ve never had this amount of money, ever,” Hunhoff says. “So that makes it really challenging. You’ve got 30-40 bills that you’ve got to deal with and we’re sitting in the middle of session not having any hearings. So, now we’re all struggling and we need to get done.”

Hunhoff says additional one-time dollars will go into the current fiscal year budget. She says changes to ongoing funding will end up in the fiscal year 2023 budget.

The two groups must vote on spending bills and send them to the House and Senate by this week.

Lawmakers finish the main run of this year's legislative session next week, before coming back for one day at the end of March to consider the governor's vetoes.