S.D. panel recommends child-support changes

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Child Support Commission plans to ask state lawmakers to adjust the payment schedule and make other adjustments next year.

The commission recommended Thursday a set of proposed changes to South Dakota’s laws regarding support obligations.

A final report will be assembled and reviewed by commission members before it goes to Governor Kristi Noem and the Legislature no later than December 31, 2021.

The governor issued an executive order in 2020 but the commission didn’t meet because of COVID-19.

One recommendation calls for revisions to the current schedule of support obligations. Those proposed changes include reductions at the lower-most income levels.

Robert Simmermon of Sioux Falls, a non-custodial parent, said that was difficult to accept. “That’s where it really affects the children the most,” he said, noting there would be more of a potential negative impact on children from lower-income households than positive effects at the upper end.

But Amber Kinney, a custodial parent from Sturgis, said lower-income parents would benefit from the potential change because it would be easier for them to make payments rather go into arrears.

Jane Venohr, an economist from the Center for Policy Research in Denver, Colorado, is advising the commission. In about 2006, she said, experts started looking at spending data differently. Studies nationally found that populations paid minimum wage often didn’t get 40 hours per week or paid benefits.

“To be honest, probably 25 percent of South Dakota jobs are at that rung,” Venohr said. She added, “There are a lot of jobs in South Dakota that are low-paying – and across the nation. I don’t want to make it sound like South Dakota is the exception.”

She said the recommendation fits what the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement has been promoting.

A previous commission last issued a report in 2016.

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