2020 S.D. Legislature: SD legislators stage ‘listening sessions’ to decide how to spend Cares ACT funding

Steve Haugaard, Speaker of the House
Finally, “Listening Sessions” will begin next week. The Executive Board of the Legislature, which is comprised of eight House members and sevent Senate members, voted 10-5 last week in support of the creation of five special committees to conduct these Listening Sessions. This is an effort to acquire public input that will help us make the best use of the federal CARES Act funds which have been allocated to South Dakota.
The five committees will be able to cover the entire spectrum of COVID-19 related issues. We are looking forward to hearing from individuals, businesses, and organizations in South Dakota who can provide input as to the issues they are facing.  
The committees are: 1.) Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2.) Commerce and Energy, 3.) Education, 4.) Health and Human Services, and 5.) Local Government. The committees are made up of the members from both the House and Senate who currently serve on these policy committees.  
The meetings will be based at the State Capitol but materials and statements can be provided in advance of the hearings and those who wish to testify remotely will be able to do so. The Legislative Research Council has issued the following schedule and advisory:
• Joint Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, 9 a.m., Monday, Sept. 14, Room 414.
• Joint Commerce and Energy Committee, schedule pending. 
• Joint Education Committee, 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, Room 414. 
• Joint Health and Human Services Committee, 8 a.m.Tuesday, Sept. 22, Room 414. 
• Joint Local Government Committee, schedule pending.
Committee membership information and meeting agendas are available on the LRC website. Members of the public wishing to testify are encouraged to participate remotely; in-person testifiers are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Testifiers can register by email, using the address indicated on each committee’s webpage. Written testimony will also be accepted by email through the committee’s webpage and must be received at least 48 hours prior to the meeting to be considered at the meeting. When registering to testify or submitting written testimony, the individual should include their full name, who they are representing (self, organization, etc.), city of residence, and brief comments. Testimony that is applicable to multiple committees may be combined into a single email or committee appearance so testifiers will not need to make multiple presentations. To access the individual committee pages, choose the committee from the menu on the left side of the 2020 Interim Committees webpage. After all joint committees have met, the committees will report their findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Joint Committee on Appropriations.
If you have financial or regulatory challenges in your business, organization or personal life due to COVID-19, please get your name on the list of those who will provide input or testify by contacting the Legislative Research Council at www.sdlegislature.gov or by calling (605) 773-3251. Additional points of contact include your legislative Representatives or Senators. The following websites might also be helpful:  https://sdgoed.com/covid-19/, https://dlr.sd.gov/covid_19_resources.aspx, and https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
As always, feel free to contact me at steven.haugaard@sdlegislature.gov or (605) 334-1121.


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