S.D. governor assembling final details on last $17 million of current federal COVID-19 aid

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem plans to follow the Legislature’s recommendations for spending the final $17 million of federal coronavirus relief funds, her spokesman said Monday.

Lawmakers last week met in special session and Republican majorities in both chambers endorsed SCR 601 outlining how they want the governor to allocate $597 million of federal COVID-19 aid.

The Republican governor laid out her plans for $580 million Friday. Unaddressed temporarily were several other recommendations from lawmakers:

$2 million for adult education and private nonaccredited education;

$5 million for destination marketing organizations advertising; and

$10 million for housing assistance such as rent, utilities and mortgages.

The governor’s communications director, Ian Fury, said Monday all three are being set up to run through state government departments. “We are hoping to get those finalized in the next week or so,” he said.

Two agencies, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Regulation will oversee education grants. The Department of Tourism will help promotional groups. The Housing Development Authority will handle housing assistance funds.

Representative Chris Karr, a Sioux Falls Republican, is co-chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee that came up with the recommendations in a 13-hour meeting. “Those grants would be with departments and the administration is working on those arrangements,” Karr said.

The $1.25 billion that South Dakota state government received from Congress must be spent no later than December 30.

“She intends to follow the recommendations but focused on the big-ticket items, is the way I understand it,” said Senator John Wiik, a Big Stone City Republican. He is the other Appropriations co-chairman.

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