Gov. Noem talks legislative goals, marijuana, Ravnsborg investigation
PIERRE, S.D. — Governor Kristi Noem unveiled her goals for the legislative session, saying her focus is on families. She also addressed on-going legal matters in the state.
With the pandemic, she says the healthcare industry has been greatly impacted, turning needs to telehealth access. Two pieces of legislation have been drafted with the goal in mind to make that access easier and allow out-of-state licensed workers to deliver care in South Dakota.
Another area Noem hopes to boost is the housing industry. While already booming, the Governor says she has introduced legislation to ease the permitting process for home builders and buyers, with the goal of also keeping costs affordable.
“More people are moving to our state because of our quality of life and the respect our government shows our citizens,” said Noem. “That’s been tremendous news but we also don’t want home ownership or construction to skyrocket and so what we’ll be doing will be following a protocol that we utilized last year for counties and implementing it at the city level.”
The legislation is said to have streamlined zoning restrictions at the county level. She says this year’s bill will mirror last year’s but for cities.
Another bill aims to get a new complex up and running by the 2022 South Dakota State Fair, known as the “DEX Building.” The complex would host regional and national rodeo and livestock events.
Noem also addressed marijuana as one of the big topics moving through the chambers, saying agencies are at work laying the ground work but a pending lawsuit may draw out the process.
“But this litigation has some valid points going forward and will not be resolved before session is over,” said Noem. “That’s why we’re working with legislators to make sure that we’re adequately prepared and that we’re implementing responsibly if necessary.”
The Governor answered press questions for the first time since before her State of the State address earlier this month where she identified three goals this year – making abortions pertaining to fetal down syndrome diagnoses illegal, enhancing history curriculum in schools, and expanding broadband through rural South Dakota.
She also addressed the on-going investigating involving Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, calling it a, “great disservice to the victim’s family.” She says her office makes inquiries to the state’s attorney’s office in Hyde County on a regular basis but has gotten no answers.
On Sept. 12, Ravnsborg was heading west on Highway 14, just west of Highmore, when his vehicle struck and killed Joseph Boever. Public Safety Secretary Craig Price says Ravnsborg was distracted when the accident occurred. Immediately following the accident, Ravnsborg says he didn’t see Boever’s body until returning to the accident site the next day.