As the 93rd Session of the South Dakota Legislature enters its final day, the focus has shifted to the Joint Committee on Appropriations (JCA) as they work to complete their budget recommendations for fiscal year 2019 and address all budgetary matters.

The legislature has taken final action on the 52 legislative proposals which SDAHO has tracked during the session. Working together with the systems advocacy group and with the guidance of the Council on Public Policy, much has been achieved. The bills this year ranged from opposing requirements for expensive electronic scanners in order to implement firearm-free zones to potentially altering the ongoing 100 percent FMAP reimbursement program. The association will prepare a summary report of the legislative session and distribute in April.

We remain optimistic that health care providers may receive a nominal funding increase in Medicaid rates. However, the final outcome is uncertain until the JCA concludes their work and the full Senate and House approve. The JCA began meeting at 8 a.m. today (Friday) to finalize budget marks for key state agencies. As of noon, it appears the JCA will move forward with the recommendations of the Health Care Solutions Coalition in terms of shared savings and increasing access for Medicaid enrollees to certain services. The appropriations process is typically the final issue addressed by the legislature and funding decisions for education, state employees and health care are still being considered.

When the final gavel sounds “Sine Die”, the session will close. However, it is important to note that the legislature then takes a two-week break during which time they may reconvene to consider governor vetoes, if any.