Lawmakers discuss new legislation about COVID-19

Local News

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakota lawmakers spent most of the day discussing about a dozen pieces of new legislation, all of them having to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To follow social distancing rules, many lawmakers took part remotely, while a handful actually came to the Capitol in Pierre.

By early afternoon, the Senate had approved 6 of the 8 new bills.

Some of those bills include waiving the minimum hours that K-12 schools must hold classes, lifting some requirements for those schools, such as standardized assessments, and creating a sub-fund to help small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Another bill Senators are still discussing would allow local governments to declare public health emergencies.

Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to take up four bills.

House Bill 1295 would add coronavirus respiratory syndrome as a reason the State Health Department can declare a public health emergency. It originally failed, then was voted to reconsider. It passed without an emergency clause. Lawmakers still hope to get it approved with the emergency clause so it can take effect immediately.

The House also approved another bill that would expand the circumstances on when the governor can declare an emergency. ‚Äč

This is a developing story. Make sure to stay with KELOLAND News for the latest.

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