Photo looking up into dome of capitol building in Pierre, SD

Chamber Advocate: Jan. 12, 2024

The Governor’s State of the State Address

Governor Noem gave her State of the State address on Tuesday. It was lighter on proposed initiatives for the current session than in years prior, as she previously discussed many of them during her budget address in December. Governor Noem’s speech contained many success stories from policies previously passed during her time in office. Overall, we expect fewer initiatives coming from the administration this session.

One of the focal points of her speech was the workforce. One specific policy item the Governor Noem mentioned was establishing reentry programs for people with criminal records by providing them second chance licensure opportunities in an effort to address the workforce shortages we are experiencing across the state.

While we expect fewer bills from the administration, there have already been 163 bills introduced this week, which is a lot, especially in the first week of the session. For reference, during the 2023 legislative session there were only 451 bills introduced. If this pace keeps up, we will easily see over 500 bills introduced during the 2024 legislative session.

Sales tax

Some early movement on an impactful bill happened on Thursday, where the House Taxation committee passed HB 1001 out with a 11-1-1 vote in support of the bill. HB 1001’s goal is to repeal the sunset clause that was passed with the sales tax reduction last session. The sunset is set to expire in 2027, which would revert the sales tax rate back to 4.5%. However, if passed and signed by the Governor, HB 1001 would keep the sales tax rate at 4.2% and it would not revert to 4.5%.

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce testified in opposition to HB 1001. Our opposition is primarily due to a desire for a fiscally conservative approach. Variables such as uncertainty in the U.S. economy, a continued influx of federal dollars into the State’s revenues, and the pending ballot measure that would seek to repeal the state’s tax on food may impact state budgets in the near future. We have a few years yet to determine if this particular cut should be permanent.

The full House chamber passed HB 1001 late Friday afternoon. It will now be sent to the Senate for evaluation.

Workforce, water and quantum computing

The Chamber is following several other important pieces of legislation that have been introduced.

  • Several licensure compact bills have been introduced, which if passed would allow for a more streamlined licensure process for a number of healthcare professionals seeking to obtain licenses in South Dakota.
  • SB 45 contains funding for a Quantum Computing program to be utilized by our public universities, which would help our universities and their students be on the cutting edge of this industry.
  • SB 53 would appropriate around $123 million of federal dollars to be utilized for water and wastewater infrastructure projects to support continued maintenance and growth of our water infrastructure systems in the state.
  • Lastly, SJR 502 would support Lewis & Clark Regional Water System’s water rights expansion so that they can continue to supply the tri-state area with clean drinking water, as well as support their continued growth into communities in South Dakota.

While these are some of the highlighted bills so far, the Chamber’s policy team is tracking dozens of bills already. If you are curious about which issues are on our radar currently, please check out our Bill Tracker. If there is an issue you have questions about, or a bill you do not see on the tracker that you would like to make us aware of, please reach out to our team.

The Chamber’s policy team will be on the ground in Pierre throughout session. We will provide weekly updates via the Chamber Advocate email, on the Chamber News blog and you can follow the bills we are actively engaged in by checking our Bill Tracker.

Watch for the next edition of The Chamber Advocate on January 19, 2024.