Here are some highlights from Governor Kristi Noem’s first State of the State speech Tuesday opening the 2019 session of the South Dakota Legislature:
Improving Internet service through increased service levels of broadband and identifying gaps in coverage.
Improving pheasant habitat by selling premium-priced tags and specialty license plates, starting a bounty program on predators and encouraging more private donations.
Economic development would get a higher profile through a website for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, making food processing a priority, expanding agricultural and human-health research, broadening use of Dakota State University cyber-security workforce and emphasizing B-21 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
She also would switch agriculture development services back to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. It’s currently in the state Department of Agriculture.
Workforce housing would get a boost through construction of new Dakotaplex multi-family housing units at Springfield state prison and professional licensing would be reviewed.
In education, Noem wants more middle-school career counseling and more career and technical education, skills training and work experience.
She also wants to remove a testing requirement for home-school families and make home-school students eligible on an equal basis for the South Dakota Opportunity scholarship.
Noem also called for emphasis on civics courses in school systems. “Civics need to re-emerge,” she said. Ben Jones, a dean from Dakota State University, is the new temporary secretary of education. She said his background as a history professor is key.
Every high school student would be required to pass the U.S. citizenship test under another Noem proposal.
On methamphetamines and other drugs of abuse, Noem wants dedicated funding for more prevention and treatment programs and more options for treatment.
The new governor also pledged to use her role to find more foster parents for children.
Noem would transition state government’s vehicles fleet to greater use of E-30 fuel. She noted that Kim Vanneman is the new secretary of agriculture.
Noem also has what she described as “big plans” for Hot Springs, where the state veterans home is located.