PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Legislature’s Executive Board at its next meeting on Monday afternoon will choose a handful of topics that lawmakers want studied during the coming months before the 2024 session opens next January.
Among the possibilities is a look at the state’s funding formula for long-term care. Identifying ways that county governments can reduce costs is another. Some lawmakers have also suggested studying children’s daycare from birth through age 3.
The Legislative Research Council has surveyed legislators. Those results will be considered Monday.
The Legislature during the 2023 session looked at six resolutions recommending topics and one bill that sought a two-year task force to address the welfare of Indian children in South Dakota.
Lawmakers approved resolutions encouraging a study of nuclear power and a task force to explore new alternatives to keep individuals 16 years or older engaged in learning opportunities that lead to high school completion. The Executive Board’s 15 members will decide Monday whether those two make the cut.
Lawmakers during the 2023 session meanwhile turned down resolutions recommending studies on long-term care services for veterans; licensing and naming emergency medical and advanced life support personnel; and standardizing outdoor emergency warning system activation policies. They also set aside a study of childcare services that was backed only by Democrats and the Indian-children task force.
House Speaker Hugh Bartels chairs the Executive Board this year. Vice-chair is Senate president pro tem Lee Schoenbeck. Bartels told KELOLAND News on Thursday he hasn’t yet seen the survey results. He favors long-term care reimbursement, county funding and children’s daycare as study topics.
“My preference for summer studies is to work on issues that we will likely be facing in the next two sessions. If we select the right topics the Legislature has a head start on educating members on the issue and preparing legislation.” Bartels said.
The long-term care reimbursement formula needs to be reviewed and improved so state government pays the actual cost of service, according to Bartels.
On reducing county-government expenses, he said, “Several counties are reportedly adopting negative budgets. I have no answer in mind, but counties need an adequate source of revenue to deliver required services.”
As for daycare, Bartels said it “is a number one issue in almost every community in South Dakota. This topic needs to be well-defined and limited to areas that a consensus can be reached. If the only option is the state (government) spending money, the study will fail.”