Joint Committee on Appropriations met Wednesday

PIERRE, S.D.(KELO & WNAX)- New daycare operations may be popping up across South Dakota thanks to a grant program.

The Legislature approved the program in efforts to make daycare available to people wanting to enter the workforce.

Department of Social Services Secretary Matt Althoff says the grants are being offered to new and expanding childcare operations.

Althoff told the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee there are 63 applications requesting $13-million in grants.

So far, no grants have been awarded.

South Dakota voters are about to see the fruit of their vote to expand Medicaid.

Department of Social Services Secretary Matt Althoff says rolling it out is a massive undertaking, but he’s confident his staff is ready.

Althoff told members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee that testing is underway to make sure all aspects of the rollout are operational. 

The interim Appropriations Committee of the South Dakota legislature got an update on the delayed housing infrastructure program. 

South Dakota Housing interim executive director Chas Olson said the rules for the program are moving. 

The legislature approved spending two hundred million dollars on housing infrastructure, but the funding has been tied up in the rulemaking process. 

Olson says they still have to follow procedures. 

Olson says they have had some input on the proposed rules. 

Legislators are unhappy that the money may not be available to help with housing projects this construction season.  Ambulance and emergency medical services across the state all have a lack of manpower. 

South Dakota Department of Health Secretary Melissa Magstadt appeared before the interim Appropriations Committee. 

She says each ambulance service is unique. 

Magstadt says there are growing demands on emergency services. 

Magstadt says staffing shortages are a national problem. 

Magstadt says while most ambulance services have volunteers now, they are aging out of the system. 

The interim Committee was discussing regional service designations for emergency medical services.