Lawmakers have $25 Million Less To Spend This Session

Feb 14, 2017
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota lawmakers will have much less to spend this legislative session.

The Joint Committee on Appropriations approved revenue projections that are over $25 million less than what the governor had originally projected.

The state is seeing lower than expected growth in sales taxes due primarily to a downturn in the agriculture economy and lower tourism revenue over the last year.  

Governor Dennis Daugaard says that’s been the case each month for fiscal year 20-17…

This is the last week of the 2016 legislative session. The final days look a little different this year, thanks to a new appropriations process.


Once the education bills are through the legislature, lawmakers say the last big focus is the general bill.


Governor Dennis Daugaard says he’s waiting for a document from the federal government before he’s able to move forward with Medicaid expansion. He says the State Health Officer Letter containing the formal decision about policy changes is imminent. He’ll have to decide if it’s too late in the session to have the discussion.


Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lawmakers from districts in and around Sioux Falls are previewing their priorities for the 2016 legislative session. Wednesday morning a couple hundred people attended an annual breakfast from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce to hear what lawmakers anticipate in the coming weeks.


Rounds for Senate

A United States Senator from South Dakota says lawmakers have less than two weeks to figure out how to fund the federal government. September 30th is the deadline to appropriate money to government programs.

Senator Mike Rounds says he doesn’t support simply extending appropriations already in place without other changes attached. SDPB’s Kealey Bultena asks him about that position.

Lawmakers in Pierre are keeping pieces of legislation afloat until they have final funding numbers. That sometimes means they’re using stop-gap measures to keep legislation alive.

The 2015 South Dakota State Legislative Session ends on Friday, and lawmakers are on deadline. The House Appropriations committee passed 14 separate measures during Monday’s meeting alone, but some of the bills are incomplete – and that’s part of the strategy.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

The House Appropriations Committee is considering a bill to pay an education company to evaluate textbooks and to make “living textbooks” available online. Bill sponsors asked for half a million dollars for the state Department of Education to pay a contractor to analyze and develop textbooks that meet South Dakota standards. But as SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reports, the department of education testified against the bill.

Members of the committee that examines the state’s budget are about halfway through hearing from state departments. Tuesday legislators looking at next year’s state budget hear from the departments of Human Services and Health.

The Joint Appropriations Committee is scrutinizing the budgets of different departments statewide. State senators and representatives on appropriations spend the entire legislative session determining which programs and personnel get taxpayer dollars.

USD Seeks $1M Appropriation for Research Park Expansion

Mar 5, 2014

The University of South Dakota’s research park in Sioux Falls has the potential to expand, if state lawmakers OK the funding. House Bill 1175 seeks the state government’s approval for $1 million to further develop the park, after the university’s request through the Board of Regents was denied. Proponents say it promotes economic development, as private companies partner with USD’s biomedical program.

Board of Regents Executive Director Jack Warner doesn’t testify for or against the bill, but answers committee questions about the importance of the research facility.

Prenatal Care Won't Be Expanded Through Statute

Mar 5, 2014

Legislators are exploring different ways to give prenatal care to mothers who don’t qualify under certain Medicaid provisions. Wednesday, the governor's office asked members of the Senate Appropriations committee to kill House Bill 1158. Lawmakers defeated that measure, which extends prenatal care to all babies born in South Dakota, regardless of their mother's immigration status.

Deb Bowman is a senior advisor in the Governor's Office.

One-Time Money to be Used for Bond Payments

Mar 5, 2014

State lawmakers support the governor’s plan to use one-time dollars to prepay public building loans. The Senate Appropriations committee passed House Bill 1206 Wednesday morning that will give more than $56 million to the South Dakota Building Authority to pay-off outstanding bonds. Senator Larry Tidemann says doing this frees up money for other needs.

The House Appropriations committee killed a bill that funds South Dakota’s fight against Pine Beetles. Lawmakers say the bill is duplicate legislation of a separate bill already passed. Larry Mann is a lobbyist with the Black Hills Forest Resource Association. He says SB 28 is also a funding request to fight the Black Hills Pine Beetles.

The House Appropriations committee passed Senate Bill 15 this Wednesday morning. This bill allows the South Dakota Building Authority and the Board of Regents, to construct a new football stadium at South Dakota State University. Justin Sell is the Athletic Director at SDSU. He says anybody who visits Coughlin Alumni Stadium on game day, can tell upgrades are needed.

Members of the Senate Appropriations committee are asking for more transparency when using contingency funds to cover unexpected costs. Senate Bill 177 appropriates money for unanticipated costs in medical services, inmate health care, and health insurance for state employees. It also authorizes the interim appropriations committee to approve those funds before they’re used.

Audiology Services, Devices Bill Hoghoused in Committee

Feb 24, 2014

A measure that requires insurance coverage for audiology services and devices continues through the legislature, but in a different form. Senate Bill 122 was hoghoused Monday morning in Senate Appropriations.
The amended version of the bill doesn’t mandate all providers to cover audiology services, but only applies to those that currently offer them and provides guidelines on how to do so. Prior to the hoghouse amendment, opponents were concerned with the potential cost to the state and policy holders.

Direct Wine Shipment Bill Sent to Appropriations

Feb 18, 2014

Legislation to allow wine shipments in South Dakota is moving to another committee, after failing to pass out of the Senate Commerce and Energy committee it’s second time through. Senate Bill 114 made it out of committee last week without recommendation, but the bill was sent back to Commerce from the Senate floor. No further testimony was heard Tuesday, but the bill was reconsidered to allow Senator Dan Lederman the chance to vote after being absent last week. Lederman says he continues to disagree with the measure.

Committee Adopts Projected Revenues

Mar 5, 2013

The Joint Appropriations Committee has determined how much money the state has to work with for the rest of this fiscal year and for Fiscal Year 14, which starts July 1.

On Tuesday the committee looked at projections by both the Bureau of Finance Management and the Legislative Research Council, whose numbers don’t depart by much. However, in one line for next year, the two departments’ estimates are more than $1 million apart.

The committee accepted LRC’s lower figure.

Senator Billie Sutton says he would prefer a compromise on that number.

House Votes No on State Drivers Ed Program

Mar 4, 2013

A bill proposing a state-wide driver education program failed to make it out of the House of Representatives Monday. The original bill called for an appropriation for the program, which requires a two-thirds vote from the House. But, an amendment was offered to remove the appropriations section of the legislation because the Department of Highway Safety has a grant that would apply to the program. Representative Jim Stalzer says the appropriation section should stay because of the country’s financial uncertainty.

By Victoria Wicks
The Joint Appropriations Committee of the South Dakota state legislature heard testimony Tuesday about the costs of funding the Criminal Justice Initiative. The system-wide overhaul proposed by Governor Dennis Daugaard and Chief Justice David Gilbertson affects several departments and will require upfront costs that officials hope will lead to later savings. Proponents of the initiative tout the program as a win-win proposition: the state ultimately saves money, and people who have veered into criminal behavior have a chance to find a better way to live.