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  • Samantha Johnson, NewsCenter1

Legislative session in Pierre nears its end; State Rep. Mike Derby explains the progress made


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RAPID CITY, S.D. - With just four days remaining in this year's legislative session in Pierre, lawmakers are gearing up for Veto Day and finalizing the state budget for the fiscal year 2025.


State Representative Mike Derby from District 34 highlights that approximately 20 bills are left for legislators to vote on, with some needing appropriations after being reduced to a dollar amount in previous weeks.


Derby emphasizes, "Most of the bills that had a dollar attached to them will actually be up this week. So, we've got a couple in the house. For example, the Healthy Forest Critical Infrastructure grant fund bill, that's Senate Bill 134." He notes the reduction in funding is from $20 million to $6 million.


"The other one, that’s sitting there, has to do with airports, and that's SB144. So that's going to be probably amended," Derby adds.

Last week, several West River-centric bills received approval, including additional funding for the women's prison in Rapid City, support for a new center for Quantum Information Science and Technology at the South Dakota School of Mines, and increased funding for wildland fire stations.


Now, all that's left at this point is getting things settled. Derby says, "The last couple days are really where the big issues get settled, and I would consider that to be the landowners protection bills [which] has to do with the pipeline. There are education bills related to education are big [bills to pass]."


Derby continues, "Those [landowners and education bills] are more than likely going to end up in conference committees. And that will really be down to the last day to iron out the difference between the houses."


Noteworthy budget items that have been approved include funding for a proposed men's prison on the East side of the state and 4% increases for K-12 education, state employees, and Medicaid providers. Additionally, the last of the federal COVID-19 related funds will be used this year. Derby saying that South Dakota is in a good position to not use those funds again, due to not allocating the money to ongoing projects or programs that would require continuous funding in the future.


Derby ends by saying, "As chair of House Appropriations and co-chair of Joint Committee on Appropriations, it's been a real honor and a pleasure. We had a great committee, worked hard, kept the train on the track and on time, and [I] look forward to doing it again next year."

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