Budget, guns on agenda at final crackerbarrel session

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The budget again dominated the conversation at the final session of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Crackerbarrel series Saturday morning.

About six dozen constituents attended the meeting, posing questions to the nine legislators on the panel.

A variety of issues were discussed, including education funding, out-of-state legislative influence, as well as the proposed solar farm on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Gun violence in schools, though, was raised by Rapid City educators, and legislators were mostly in agreement that better mental health services are necessary, but the issue must come back to agreement on budget priorities.

“Most of what we’re looking at tends to move toward the mental health side of this issue,” said Sen. Jeff Partridge, R-District 34. “What types of checks and balances or protection pieces for our citizens we need to have in place related to mental health – I think that’s really the main issue. Is there something we can do related to the mental health side? And that goes back again to the funding, to our procedures, to what we’re doing related to mental health.”

And as the session wrapped up, the Chamber of Commerce was pleased with the turnout and civility of this year’s crackerbarrel series.

“They’ve been very well,” said Linda Rabe, president and CEO of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce. “I think the community has been able to show up and ask the questions they need. In some years it cam be real contentious, and then it gets kind of crazy. But [this year] has been really good, and I think we’ve had some great interaction.”

The Chamber of Commerce plans to host a series of candidate forums, starting in June.

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