The 40-day legislative session began with Governor Noem’s State of the State address on Tuesday January 8. Governor Noem plans to deliver a special budget address to the South Dakota Legislature during the 2019 session.
Highlights of remarks from Governor Noem’s State of the State address:
Governor Noem is committed to maintaining the fiscal integrity for which South Dakota has become known, and will work to maintain that Triple A credit rating. Fiscal discipline will be the foundation of the tenure: South Dakota won’t spend money we don’t yet have, we won’t needlessly grow the government and we won’t raise taxes.
Expanding Rural Broadband
- Bring industry leaders together, those that have considerable experience in broadband services to rural areas.
- Focus state government commitment to this issue by identifying in more detail gaps or deficiencies in South Dakota broadband coverage.
- Commit state resource to closing the broad band gap.
Extending Pheasant Habitat
Governor Noem announced the Secondary Century Initiative to preserve and expand habitat to ensure that the second century of pheasant hunting will be as great as the first century. She committed to increase resources for habitat management without raising taxes. Such as expand the Hunt for Habitat program, in which a limited number of hunting tags would be reserved at premium pricing. Division of Motor Vehicles and Game, Fish and Parks will develop a specialty pheasant license plate program in which all proceeds would go directly toward habitat management.
- Office of Economic Development will develop and roll out a new, more user-friendly
- website that is more responsive to the needs of existing South Dakota businesses and those interested in moving here.
- Leverage expertise in agriculture along with our growing capacity in human health research; whether it’s new therapies for human diseases, new crop technologies, or other applied research.
- Capitalize on becoming a national leader in the cybersecurity.
Improving Education and Developing Our Workforce
Affordable housing is a common barrier in our communities. Governor Noem announced a pilot project by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority by building new modular multi-housing units, called DakotaPlex, at the state prison facility in Springfield. The program would be similar to the Governor’s Houses, but built as duplex, triplex, or quadruplex units. South Dakota communities of less than 5,000 people will be eligible to purchase these units and offer them for rent at affordable levels.
State-imposed barrier to workforce can be professional licensure
Governor Noem will direct the Department of Labor and Regulation, over the next year, to work with our professional organizations and licensure boards to conduct a full review of licensing requirements.
Battling the Meth Epidemic
In 2011, there were 402 meth arrests in South Dakota. Those arrests led to the seizure of approximately 4,300 grams of meth. Look ahead seven years to 2018. South Dakota has gone from 402 arrests to 3,366 and that does not even include December of 2018. The amount of meth seized in these arrests has increased from approximately 4,300 grams to nearly 40,000 grams. A nearly tenfold increase. South Dakota will focus on three key areas: education, enforcement, and treatment. In the past these efforts have relied on grant funding, but Governor Noem will be asking for dedicated general funds to carry a strong and consistent message.
Foster Care – Every Child Needs a Home
192 children were in our foster care system available and waiting for adoptive families. In total, 940 children are in foster care. The state has a website, fosterone.sd.gov where you can learn more, ask questions, and start the process to become a foster family. The State will be updating the website over the next year.
Governor Noem will focus on growth in the ag economy by transferring Ag Development Representatives from the Department of Agriculture to the office of economic development.
Making Government More Transparent
Governor Noem is committed to work toward building the most transparent administration South Dakota has ever seen. This will be accomplished by bringing debates and meetings from the boardroom to the household by utilizing free technologies like YouTube, Facebook Live and other apps. Modernize and expand existing transparency websites by adding all agendas, minutes, and live streams to a centralized online location.
The South Dakota National Guard continues to support federal commitments worldwide.
- Nearly 150 Soldiers and Airmen deployed in support of overseas.
- Seven soldiers are supporting cyber defense operations in the National Capital Region.
- Four-Soldier aviation crew, with a UH-72 helicopter, deployed this week to Arizona in support of United States Customs and Border Protection security operations along the Southwest border.
Governor also spoke about, “big plans for Hot Springs and how we can better care for, and recognize veterans at the facilities in that town.”