SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The 2021 South Dakota legislative session starts Tuesday, and there won’t be any shortage of topics for lawmakers to talk about this year.
Lawmakers will have noteworthy topics to discuss.
“Obviously one of the big ones that we’ll be focusing on this year is marijuana now that we have passed both medical and recreational. So I think we will be spending a large portion of our time trying to deal, you know, how to regulate marijuana, how it can be grown, how it can be sold, how it can be sent out to people, how much can be sold, that sort of thing,” Rep. Erin Healy, (D) Sioux Falls, said.
“The impact of COVID also has gone beyond just what we normally think of. There have been impacts in things like domestic violence, drug abuse, there are all of those sorts of things. So I’m hoping to bring forward, with some help, a bill related to suicide prevention,” Rep. Tamara St. John, (R) Sisseton, said.
Of course, there are still issues that lawmakers will have to work on that South Dakotans are more used to hearing about, like those dealing with the budget and education.
“My biggest concerns, of course, are the budget and how we are going to use the resources that we have. I feel that we are very fortunate of states to have survived, and maybe we’re not all the way through, but to have the sort of state where we have tax revenue, we have tourism, we have all of those things so that we’re not starting so far back as maybe other states are,” St. John said.
“I was really happy to see that the governor wants to provide a 2.4 percent increase for schools, for communities, service providers and for state employees. That’s just vital. That will help our state because we have had a hard time attracting teachers and we need to ensure that we are doing all that we can when it comes to running our state,” Healy said.
It looks like this upcoming session will be unique.
“I think we are going to see fewer people in the Capitol, fewer visitors and schools visiting just because of COVID. I think we’re going to see fewer lobbyists there,” Healy said.
“We have talked about ensuring that we have the sort of resources, of course, like the PPE, masks, have all of that sort of thing available to us,” St. John said.
Healy and St. John both say they will keep constituents up-to-date throughout the session on their social media accounts.
There are 37 legislative days scheduled for the session.
Stay informed on what’s happening in Pierre on the South Dakota State Legislature website.