Speaker Bartels address different issues

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG} The 99th South Dakota Legislative Session kicked off last week, Tuesday, and with a week of work under their belt, Representative Speaker of the House Hugh Bartels was in KXLG studios this morning to give an update.

Representative Bartels said the legislators wanted to get a faster start this year.

In the vicinity, over 600 bills must be addressed in the 38-day session.

A focus this year will be the budget.

According to Representative Bartels, about 50 legislators have never had a “normal year of budgeting” with all the COVID money coming into the state.

A women’s and men’s prison are being built in South Dakota.

The men’s prison is still in the design phase, and Bartels says they are not near the rendering phase, so no rendering was available.

By law, any money left over at the end of the fiscal year on June 30th gets transferred to the reserve fund.

The prison isn’t set to be completed until 2028, giving the state time to come up with the money or borrow the funds to finish it. The prison has received opposition from an organized group calling themselves NOPE or Neighbors Opposing Prison Expansion.

Representative Bartels says the prison in Rapid City will be built in city limits and has not received any opposition.

Other bills in the session were discussed.

Representative Bartels talks more about Counties that are struggling financially.

A controversial topic is the potential pipeline construction projects that are seeking approval.

A “school voucher” bill to consider assisting not only the private schools but also “homeschooling or alternative schooling.”

You can search, save, and follow proposed bills and listen to audio and video of meetings on the South Dakota Legislative website.