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VIDEO: Noem’s State of the State address kicks off legislative session

South Dakota is “the best place to live in America,” Governor Kristi Noem told state lawmakers...
Gov. Kristi Noem (R, S.D.) address the legislature in 2021 (file)(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:21 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Gov. Kristi Noem kicked off the 2022 South Dakota Legislature in traditional fashion Tuesday afternoon with the governor’s State of the State address.

Noem delivered the speech at the Capitol at 1 p.m. CST. You can watch the speech on the livestream below.

The legislature is set to take on a number topics both economic and social in the coming months. Some of the issues likely to garner the most headlines include:

Marijuana

Dozens of bills focusing on marijuana laws have already been proposed, according to the Legislative Research Council’s website. Some focus on codifying rules for medical marijuana, others address recreational marijuana - including Senate Bill 3, which would effectively legalize recreational pot. South Dakotans voted to legalize both in the 2020 election, but a court struck down the recreational marijuana proposal saying it violated the constitution’s “single subject” rule.

How to spend extra cash

South Dakota is receiving nearly $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds at a time the state is experiencing a hefty budget surplus. Now, lawmakers must determine how to divvy up the money, a decision muddied by the fact most of it comes from one-time funds. Noem’s proposed $5.7 billion budget, the largest in state history, included an across-the-board raise for state employees, infrastructure spending, and workforce housing grants, among many other items. But the fine-tuning of how to spend so much extra money by a traditionally frugal legislative body is likely to dominate much of lawmakers’ discussions.

Transgender issues

In what has become somewhat of a tradition at the legislature, lawmakers will discuss a number of bills regarding transgender issues. Bills targeting transgender girls in sports as well as a bill addressing transgender bathroom use in schools have already been proposed. Business groups warn that bills seen as discriminatory to transgender people may result in the state losing out on sports tournaments and other conventions. But conservative lawmakers want to push the governor to take a harder stance on the issue. Advocates for transgender people say the legislation bullies a group of people who are already marginalized. The ACLU says 29 bills regarding LGBT rights have been taken up by the South Dakota Legislature since 2014.

Impeachment proceedings

In addition to their regular legislative duties, a group of lawmakers will decide whether to recommend an impeachment vote against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over his role in a fatal crash in 2020. The House Select Committee on Investigation will meet Jan. 17. Last month, the committee issued subpoenas to a number of individuals who will testify at the proceedings.

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