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Governor Kristi Noem Delivers the State of the State Address Kicking off the 97th South Dakota Legislative Session

Governor Kristi Noem delivered her State of the State Address to a joint session of the Legislature in the state capital building in Pierre, Tuesday January 11, 2022. Much of the speech focused on civil liberties, freedom, fiscal responsibility, and unprecedented economic growth state-wide regardless of the challenges impacting the rest of the nation.

Governor Noem lifted our states healthcare professionals and touched on efforts to expand our state’s healthcare access. She applauded the hard work and dedication given to our citizens by healthcare professionals during our state’s most challenging times in the healthcare industry.  Workforce struggles in healthcare communities was touched on during the speech, as the Governor told lawmakers the State of South Dakota will continue to work on ways to help with these challenges. “To our nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals: we are getting you more help. We’ve invited more healthcare professionals to come and live in South Dakota. We’ve made it possible for out-of-state licenses to be recognized so that they can get right to work. And when they come here, they will have the opportunity to work for some of the greatest systems in the country. “Gov. Noem

Governor Noem addressed the need to expand medical services in rural communities telling lawmakers she is bringing legislation that will increase flexibility by expanding telehealth to patients. This will provide timely healthcare to patients no matter where they live. “I signed legislation to address this, and my budget this year expands telehealth to our emergency responders, so they are available to help in a time of crisis, no matter where you live.” Gov. Noem.

Our state’s emergency responders are seeing a decrease in active members, as many are retiring with fewer volunteers stepping up to fill the gap. Reversing this trend is a priority for the Governor, telling lawmakers, “We need to recruit more volunteer firefighters and emergency responders. And we need to support them with modern tools – my budget does that. I look forward to working with all of you to get these wonderful folks the equipment and training that they need.” Gov. Noem

The Governor announced she will bring legislation this session to protect people’s rights for medical and religious exemptions from COVID vaccines. “I am bringing legislation this session to protect the people’s right to a medical or religious exemption from COVID vaccines, just as my executive order did for state employees. We will also recognize natural immunity. I hope you will support the bill.”

Governor Noem announced the creating on a regional behavioral crisis center in South Dakota.  “These centers will help us get people appropriate care more quickly and close to home. This will help relieve the pressure on law enforcement and emergency rooms. I take our citizens’ health seriously.” Gov. Noem

Moving forward with our states medical cannabis program was addressed by Governor Noem as she assured South Dakotans that her focus is on making sure the state has the safest, most responsible and well-run medical cannabis program in the country.

If you would like to see the Governor’s speech – it’s archived here: https://www.facebook.com/govnoem/videos/429546388864751

As Governor Noem, state-lawmakers and the SDAHO Advocacy team begin work on the 2022 legislative session, turn to www.sdaho.org for the latest information on legislation impacting healthcare. There you will find updates on key issues including the Bill Tracker 2022, a resource for convenient access to healthcare bills. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook (@sdahoSD) and Twitter (@SDAHO) and LinkedIn (South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organization) for the daily updates in South Dakotas healthcare communities.

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