2020 SD Legislature: Summer studies guide legislature in session

By: 
Rep. Steve Haugaard, District 10

The South Dakota Legislature conducts studies during the legislative interim in an effort to clarify subjects of special interest and develop legislation, if needed. This year, there are a variety of issues being studied. Some are the focus of individual legislators and others will be the result of the authorization of the Executive Board.  There are Task Force studies concerning: 1.) The manner in which mental health services are delivered in this state and considering changes to existing models or alternative models that could be utilized for the delivery of mental health services on a regional basis; and 2.) an interim legislative study to address the mental health of first responders.

There are also ongoing Legislative Committee meetings throughout the summer. They include the Executive Board, the Joint Committee on Appropriations, which oversees the appropriation of funds from both state and federal sources, the Government Operations and Audit Committee, which makes inquiries in regard to state agencies and whether they are accomplishing their objectives, and Tribal Relations, which meets to enhance the connection between the state and the tribes. This summer, each of these committees are busy addressing issues that have developed as a result of the virus. Both the dollars involved as well as the actions being taken are issues requiring attention from the House and Senate during this interim time. The summer studies and task force work re an opportunity for anyone interested in those subjects to get involved and provide testimony which can help shape the outcome of that work.  

This week, we will be conducting more teleconference meetings to focus in on the availability and use of state and federal funds that might balance the losses individuals and businesses are suffering as a result of the voluntary, and sometimes, mandatory shutdowns.  

As we go through these remarkable times, it is important that we bear in mind the losses experienced in a “typical” year as a result of naturally occurring and sometimes manmade illnesses. As you can see from the summer studies mentioned above, there are problems that go well beyond the immediate virus and those problems have the potential to be just as devastating. Let’s keep in mind the totality of the circumstances and make every effort to have a “big picture” view of what is happening in our world today. Physical safety, emotional well-being and financial stability are all part of that balance.

Please visit www.sdlegislature.gov to see when each of the summer meetings will take place. If you wish to testify as to any of these subjects or just want to state your opinion during regular meetings, you can do so by contacting the Legislative Research Council office at (605) 773-3251. Your input as to these and any other issues of concern is appreciated.  

You can also email me at Steven.Haugaard@sdlegislature.gov. Please go to the Legislative Research Council’s website to listen to any of the recorded meetings and to see the latest news from the Legislature. I look forward to hearing from you.

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