2020 SD Legislature: Outcome of SD’s ‘new normal’ remains to be seen

By: 
Rep. Steve Haugaard, District 10

The “new normal” is beginning to develop amidst the modifications of the Governor’s Executive Orders and the changing perspective of the city councils and commissions in Minnehaha County. Although the impact of the virus is continuing to play out, it appears that it is time to shift our attention to increased activity both in work and entertainment.  

We do grieve with those who have experienced loss of family and friends as well as those who have suffered unforeseen changes in work and finances. Many questions remain as to best medical practices, actual health costs, the actual number of deaths from this particular virus as opposed to other causes of death or other viruses.  

The impact on our past way of life is coming into focus, and, there have been some benefits. We are changing the way we work, the way we meet and the way we obtain some services. Some of that actually has been good.  We now know that not everyone needs to be at a particular location to get their work done or to engage in meaningful meetings. We know that telemedicine can be effectively used for many everyday needs. In fact, there can probably be a modification in medical billing practices for some routine issues, and modification in the expenses associated with some business and governmental meetings. We don’t actually have to set aside several hours for travel or preparation of meeting places. Many things, including some training and some education can be done remotely. The next months will give us time to evaluate what worked and what needs to be handled differently.  

Some parts of the state are still waiting for the virus impact, and we hope it will be less severe due to what we now believe to be true about the medical implications. Apparently, there is a cleansing effect of ultraviolet light, benefits to increased vitamin D, the possibility of some medications being effective in reducing the impact of the virus, and the increasing possibility of a vaccine.  

Overall, there has been a significant reduction in the state’s revenues. We now see where we are vulnerable at the state level in regard to what we rely upon for serving the people. The application of good business practices and good moral principles will always serve us well.

Given the impact upon our local processing facilities we are seeing another vulnerability. That has prompted the relaxing of some regulations in regard to commodities. We are realizing the need to enhance our direct marketing of these commodities to give some security and continuity to the farm economy. The relaxing of the regulations is done at the state and national level, but the marketing is and should be primarily driven by private organizations such as the corn growers, beef producers and similar organizations. However, the state can also continue to play a role in modifying some of those rules and regulations. So, these seemingly tragic times might be bringing us new opportunities and new incentives to change “business as usual” in a good way.

I think there will be a need for us to conduct a Special Session to cover many new issues that are arising. In light of that likelihood, I am asking that you contact me or any of the other legislators and let us know of specific issues which need more immediate attention.

I do hope you will let me and the other legislators know your thoughts and concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 issues.  

Please review the recorded proceedings on South Dakota Public Broadcasting or go to the Legislative Research Council’s website to listen to the recorded committees and floor debate. That’s found at  ttps://sdlegislature.gov/

As always, please feel free to contact me at:  steven.haugaard@sdlegislature.gov 

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