Nursing houses, hemp, presumptive probation amongst hot subjects in South Dakota’s 2019 legislative session


PIERRE, S.D. — In a rush prior to extreme winter climate circumstances swept across the state, the Legislature wrapped up the 2019 legislative session a day early, staying till practically three a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, to vote on the state’s final $four.9 billion spending budget.

More than the course of the body’s 40 operating days, debates ranged in subject from abortion access, to early childhood education, to the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous ladies, and every little thing in in between.

A historic session — marking the initially of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, the state’s initially female governor — right here are some of the policy highlights:

Nursing houses

Referred to all through session as the most crucial query plaguing lawmakers, the state’s nursing house crisis was addressed in the state’s final spending budget passed by the Legislature early Wednesday morning.

Nursing houses, specifically in communities with higher Medicaid utilization, have felt the brunt of the state’s notoriously low Medicaid reimbursement price for years. South Dakota’s reimbursement price is the lowest in the nation — $146 per day — even although the typical every day price to home a nursing house patient is $181 per day.

Therefore, for years, for just about every Medicaid patient, a lengthy-term care facility lost revenue. South Dakota Overall health Care Association Director Mark Deak mentioned in a Feb. 26 committee hearing that annually, unreimbursed charges add up to $66 million across the state.

With nursing houses across the state shutting down due to financial struggles, lawmakers mentioned they looked to lengthy-term funding options for the answer. The Legislature passed in its final spending budget a 10 % increase in the Medicaid reimbursement price to nursing houses, beginning April 1.

Lawmakers also passed a one particular-time appropriation of $five million to companion providers to recognize prospective option care selections, as proposed by Noem in her January spending budget address.

Industrial hemp

The query of irrespective of whether to legalize industrial hemp development and production in the state became a heated debate in between the majority of legislators and Noem’s administration, which aggressively fought Home Bill 1191 from its begin.

The bill in the end cleared all of the legislative hurdles essential, passing by means of committee hearings and the Home with overwhelming help, then experiencing a close to-miss in the Senate thanks to a saving grace amendment.

The debate hit a fever pitch just hours immediately after the Legislature passed HB 1191 when Noem vetoed the bill. She cited issues with law enforcement, offered the crop’s relation to marijuana. The plants are connected but not the very same, and hemp is not a drug.



Noem also mentioned she is concerned about hemp-derived cannabadiol, or CBD oil, and mentioned the state really should wait to legalize hemp till federal suggestions from the U.S. Division of Agriculture and Meals and Drug Administration emerge.

Noem’s veto was met with scrutiny from lawmakers and stakeholders, but an try to override her veto died in the Senate. With South Dakota’s quantity one particular market becoming agriculture and farmers struggling amidst low commodity rates and a staggering industry, South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke referred to as Noem’s veto a “crushing defeat for farmers and ranchers.”

More than 40 other states have currently legalized hemp development and production. The crop is also legal on the federal level thanks to the 2018 farm bill.

Transgender youth

All through the 40-day session, the conversation on transgender rights ebbed and flowed in the Capitol. A bill that would have needed transgender higher college athletes to compete according to their “birth sex,” as verified by their birth certificate or a health-related exam, died early in the session, but was resurrected prior to in the end failing in the Home with a tied vote.

Opponents referred to as the legislation discriminatory, saying it violated Title IX protections and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, and targeted an currently vulnerable minority. Proponents mentioned the bill was basically about “fair competition” in higher college sports.

The conversation didn’t cease there. Lawmakers also debated a bill that would have prohibited public college teachers of grades kindergarten by means of seventh from instructing on gender dysphoria. As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria “involves a conflict in between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they recognize.”

Home Bill 1108 passed the Home by a 39-30 vote on Feb. 12, but was quickly immediately after killed by a legislative committee.

An additional bill, killed early in the legislative procedure by the Home Overall health and Human Solutions committee, would have established a parent’s ideal to refuse transitional overall health care therapy to his or her transgender kid.

Proponents mentioned the bill wasn’t meant to discriminate, but to solidify parental rights. Opponents mentioned the bill would have permitted parents to refuse not just physical overall health care to their young children — like hormone therapy or transitional surgery — but also mental overall health care and therapy.

In the end, all of the bills surrounding transgender youth rights failed to pass.

Presumptive probation

Prior to the begin of session, one particular of the most hotly anticipated debates to be taken up was irrespective of whether to repeal presumptive probation, which needs judges to sentence low-level felony offenders to probation rather than prison.

The policy only applies to Class five and six felonies, such as drug use and ingestion. If a judge finds that an offender poses a substantial threat to the public, he or she can bypass the rule and sentence the offender to prison time.

Repealing presumptive probation was one particular of Lawyer Common Jason Ravnsborg’s crucial policy proposals for the duration of his 2018 campaign for election. He mentioned it requires energy away from law enforcement and judges, and enables for offenders to get away with also tiny consequence.

But opponents of Ravnsborg’s notion to repeal contended that imprisoning the low-level offenders that are at present place on probation would be also pricey to the state — about $four million per year just in housing charges — and overwhelm the state’s currently congested criminal justice technique. And what low-level drug offenders will need far more than prison time is a possibility to recover, they mentioned.

The Senate in the end killed the bill by a 18-12 vote on Feb. 22.


Proponents of gun rights won significant early in the legislative session with the swift passage of Senate Bill 47, permitting for permitless concealed carry in the state. SB 47 became the initially signed bill of the session on Jan. 31, and the initially of Noem’s profession as governor.



Existing state law does not demand a permit to open carry, but does to concealed carry. Proponents of the bill mentioned that a gun owner could be legally open carrying, but upon placing on a jacket or placing their pistol in a bag, inadvertently break the law. SB 47, they mentioned, prevents that from taking place.

Even though a permit would not be needed to concealed carry in the state, South Dakotans could nonetheless acquire a permit in order to take benefit of reciprocity agreements in other states.



Each the South Dakota’s Sheriff’s Association and State’s Attorneys Association opposed the bill, saying it enables out-of-state residents to enter South Dakota and carry concealed weapons with out law enforcement’s information.

The Legislature also passed Senate Bill 115, which would permit enhanced carry permit holders and certified law enforcement officers to carry pistols on the state’s Capitol grounds in Pierre. The bill passed immediately after a unique Capitol carry bill with looser restrictions, Senate Bill 50, failed early in the session.

Noem nonetheless has not signed SB 115. Spokeswoman Kristin Wileman mentioned Thursday that Noem “and her group are reviewing the final version of the legislation” and that “she’ll make a choice in the coming days.”

Former-Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, previously vetoed Capitol carry legislation.


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