We appreciate your attention to a crucial part of conducting business in the Black Hills: following public policy to understand what precedes major change (and obstacles) that impact you and your employees.
More bills than 2020 session
I’m happy to announce that the deadline of February 4 has passed: the last day for introduction of committee bills and joint resolutions. Here is what we will be working with for the rest of Session:”

House Bills: 298
Senate Bills: 210
*Includes resolutions

We are looking at about 12 more bills than we saw in 2020 Session. This may be due to the higher amount of appropriation requests, COVID-related legislation, or an uncharacteristically active Senate body that has introduced 54% more pieces of legislation than last year.

The next important deadline will be in a few weeks: February 25 is the last day for bills to be passed from their Chamber of origin to the opposite Chamber. It’ll be a marathon of committee hearings until then!
Legislation Watch
Elevate will use this newsletter platform throughout Session to highlight bills of importance as well as the others that are simply interesting.

You can follow any specific legislation of interest through the LRC site at www.sdlegislature.gov.
Bills we’re supporting:

Status: Passed the Senate Chamber unanimously. Awaiting hearing in the House.

In 2020, Governor Noem suspended restrictions on telehealth so people could see a doctor without having to go into the doctor’s office. These tech services were utilized more than 70,000 times in South Dakota’s Medicaid program alone.
In recognition of the power of a tool telehealth can be for innovation in healthcare, the Governor’s office introduced SB 96 to make the following flexibilities permanent: 
  • Repeals prohibition against telehealth being used in the absence of the provider-patient relationship
  • Broadens “appropriate” use of mediums as determined by the provider
Elevate Rapid City supports a balance between strengthening our healthcare industry and ensuring that world-class care is accessible and affordable for residents and businesses. Improving access to telehealth helps achieve these goals.
Allowing patients to choose telehealth is an important option that can have meaningful benefits for those with limited access to nearby medical providers or those patients with limited transportation options. Telemedicine services can provide South Dakota residents with more access to medical professionals while maintaining quality of care. 

Status: Passed the House Chamber, awaiting its Senate committee hearing.

HB 1053 would establish an annual $50 fee for certain electric motor vehicles. North Dakota charges a $120/annual fee for electric vehicles. At least 28 other states in the U.S. have an annual fee for electric vehicle owners.

There are currently 162 registered electric vehicles in South Dakota. These electric vehicle users are not purchasing gas, therefore they do not participate in the financial burden of maintaining the roads they use.

We support this as the most fair and widely implemented structure to ensure that there is a proportionate burden on all highway users in the state of South Dakota.

Status: Passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously on Feb. 4.

HB 1046 limits lawsuits against businesses brought by people looking to recover damages from exposure to COVID-19.
The bill now heads to the Senate floor for passage on Monday, Feb. 8.
Status: Passed unanimously through the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The next step is for the Appropriations Committee to consider adding this to the G-Bill.
HB 1040 will appropriate $5M of one-time funding $5,000,000 in one-time funding to support a meat processing grant program to assist South Dakota meat processors in responding to market and workforce disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for more information on the program.
Status: Passed House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee last week. Now it will move to House Appropriations Committee.
HB 1019 will appropriate $3.2M of one-time funding to the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority for the Liberty Wellness Center that will support our military community at Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB) and in Box Elder. This is an important project to our region’s preparedness for the B-21.
Priority Appropriations for the Black Hills:
This is an unprecedented year for the amount of funding that is uniquely available for statewide projects. We don’t know what the official number of one-time dollars that is, but we have our sights set on projects that directly benefit the Black Hills. We should know this week the official revenue estimates that will provide a better range of funds available.
The projects below are a mix of either COVID relief/related support or new opportunities that optimize the new growth and attention the Black Hills is currently experiencing and anticipates over the coming years: 

SB 162, Airport Route Restoration, Business Development, and Air Service Marketing
First hearing: Wednesday, February 10

First hearing: Wednesday, February 24

First hearing: Monday, February 22

SB 158, Ascent Innovation Center Purchase
First hearing: Tuesday, February 23

SB 144, Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit (Pennington County)
Passed first hearing, waiting for Joint Appropriations hearing

SB 157, Rapid City Regional Airport Infrastructure
Passed first hearing, waiting for Joint Appropriations hearing

SB 156, Mineral Industries Building (South Dakota Mines)
First hearing: Tuesday, February 9
2021 Crackerbarrels
The first Crackerbarrel of 2021 was a success! Thanks to all who participated online and submitted questions for the legislators. 

Mark your calenders for the following dates and check out our page for future question submission and live streaming.

  • February 20 from 9-11AM
  • February 27 from 9-11AM
  • March 6 from 9-11AM
Business Day at the Legislature
The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce will host a 2021 Virtual Business Day at the Legislature this year on February 17. Click here for more information and registration. 

Thanks for your support of Elevate Rapid City. Until next week!
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