We will make it through this crisis

Legislative report

I don’t know where to start. We’re likely in the middle of the biggest crisis of our lives. The governor is in touch with the Legislature with periodic conference calls. She and her team provide us updates and then take questions from us.

Here’s a list of helpful nuggets of information: - [email protected] is our state’s information website. It’s updated daily at noon. It has all the updated data and most recent information. It’s also the place to look for information if you want to check out a small business financial injury loan. If you don’t have internet, access via phone 1-800-997-2880.

• There are lots of rumors and speculation about COVID-19. To distinguish between rumors and facts, the official source for accurate information is the FEMA page: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control.

• This pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better. It could last another 8-10 weeks, but we are not sure. As I write this on 3-22-2020, we have no community spread of the virus in South Dakota but expect that to change in the next few days.

• As of today, there are 28 positive cases of this virus in South Dakota. Six of them are from Beadle County. None of the current positive cases are West River.

• If you’re having trouble paying state taxes, our state Dept. of Revenue number is 1-800-829-9188 or [email protected]

• Federal tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15.

• Over 130 South Dakota school districts are distributing meals to students since schools have been closed. The DOE is working every day with schools to continue putting education online whenever and wherever possible. Federal education testing requirements will be waived this year.

• If you need medical supplies like masks, disinfectant wipes, latex gloves, etc., call 1-800-997-2880.

• Please consider giving blood. The Red Cross is behind.

March 30 is Veto Day for our Legislature. The Legislature traditionally goes back to Pierre to decide if we’re going to override any vetoes from the governor. Now, with the revenue projections way down from when we left Pierre on March 12, we’re going to have to revisit the budget. It is the responsible thing to do, and I expect it’s going to be a very long day. It’s going to be hard, gut-wrenching work, but we as a state, per our state constitution, cannot deficit spend.

There are currently 80 pieces of legislation on Gov. Noem’s desk waiting her signature. Some deal with social issues, but many spend millions of dollars of our tax revenue. We will need to take a hard look at our budget.

It’s anyone’s guess how drasticly our state economy will be affected. The governor said the pandemic will likely affect at least two to three years of revenue.

Now is the time we need to rise to the occasion and show our true South Dakota character. We need to do what is right for ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors, as well as our state and nation.

Please join me in prayer for the safety and security of our families, state and nation. If you have questions, please call or email me and I will get you answers. Stay safe and healthy.

God bless.