Governor calls for special session to spend millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds

Local News

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will be calling a special session for the state legislature to discuss coronavirus relief funds.

The announcement comes more than a month after a bipartisan group of 49 state representatives requested it.

Lawmakers will meet two weeks from today to discuss how to spend millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to help the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

State lawmakers will meet on October 5th to consider legislation related to the use of federal stimulus dollars, including the $1.25 billion allocated to South Dakota in Coronavirus Relief Funds.

“Honestly I think we have been working really well with the governor,” State Senator John Wiik said.

Wiik is the co-chair of the joint appropriations committee.

“We got a pretty good share of the money already committed at least on paper and I think if we lay that frame work out in front of the legislature and the rest of South Dakota, I think we’re going to have a relief package that’s going to work,” Wiik said.

Barring an extension, South Dakota has until December 30th to spend all CRF dollars.

Some of the funds have already been allocated including $200 million for city and county government operations, more than $100 million for the Re-employment Insurance Fund, nearly $100 million for state public safety and public health officials, $75 million for K-12 schools, and more than $20 million for universities and technical colleges.

“It’s pretty clear what we can and can’t do with the money, I think the best thing we can do is follow the guidance so we don’t have to pay the money back later and see if we can get this money spent by December 30th, of 2020, because if we don’t we have to give it back we want to make sure we use this money the way it was intended to get South Dakota through a COVID-19 pandemic,” Wiik said.

The governor has also proposed up to $400 million in small business grants and up to $100 million in grants to community-based health care providers.

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