2019 Capitol-ism January 16

Special Events


South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter

January 16, 2019


During last week's opening day of the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Noem, on her 4th day in office, delivered her first “State of the State” address to a joint session of the South Dakota Legislature.  Starting off with a bit of self-deprecating humor she passed along two questions from “First Gentleman” Bryon Noem, “Will there be an intermission and will there be popcorn?”

This issue of Capitol-ism highlights the main topics and key quotes from Governor Noem’s State of the State Address, presented by topics she outlined in the speech. (Note:  Below are excerpts of the speech which is 15 pages long and has been narrowed to only 5 pages.  There are certainly nuances and context of some points that have been altered in this process.)

Expanding Rural Broadband

·       I’ve heard it said that 65% of children in elementary school today will work in jobs that don’t exist yet

·       As I see it, this is a statewide, South Dakota issue, not just an urban versus rural issue. It’s a South Dakota issue because the small communities and rural areas near Watertown or Huron provide customers and members of the workforce for those larger communities. Some young girl with a aptitude for math and science could be a future Daktronics engineer but will she be able to excel without broadband at home?

·       Today, I’m announcing a plan to close the broadband gap. Partnering with others, I want to connect as many more South Dakotans as possible to high speed internet over the next four years.

·       State government can’t tackle this alone. To accomplish this goal, first, we’ll bring together industry leaders. Our state’s rural telecom companies, in particular, have considerable experience in bringing broadband service to our rural areas.

·       Second, we are going to focus state government’s commitment to this issue. My team will work on a mapping process to identify in more detail gaps or deficiencies in South Dakota’s broadband coverage

·       Third, we are going to commit state resources to closing the broadband gap. . . . State resources can’t, and shouldn’t, get us across the finish line alone. But they will incentivize investment and leverage additional dollars.


Extending Pheasant Habitat

        . . . as land values have increased, areas like ours have begun to disappear, gravely affecting pheasant populations. It’s hard to blame folks for making those decisions when land values are high but it has an impact on how and where our pheasant population can nest and produce the next season’s birds. In fact, statewide pheasant populations have fallen 65 percent in the last decade.

·       As Governor, I will continue to push federal policymakers to enhance CRP even further. But we can, and must, do more at the state level. Which is why I am announcing the official kickoff of our Second Century Initiative.

·       First off, we’ll work to increase resources for habitat management – without raising taxes. Maintaining and improving habitat is essential to the future of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. So today, I am directing the Department of Game, Fish and Parks to explore outside-the-box, voluntary funding solutions, such as an expanded Hunt for Habitat program, in which a limited number of hunting tags would be reserved at premium pricing. Programs like this have proven exceptionally lucrative in neighboring states. All proceeds would again go directly to habitat.

·       I’ll ask the Division of Motor Vehicles and Game, Fish and Parks to develop a specialty pheasant license plate program in which, again, all proceeds would go directly toward habitat management.


Economic Development & The Next Big Thing

·       We owe it to our kids to create and sustain an economy that is not only strong, but diversified

·       This kickstart begins by lifting government burdens from small businesses owners and making it easier to work and create new opportunities that allow South Dakotans to prosper.

·       If bringing in the financial services industry was the last “Big Thing” then it’s time to start looking for the “Next Big Thing.”

       . Over the next six weeks, GOED will develop and roll out a new, more user-friendly website that is more responsive to the needs of existing South Dakota businesses and those interested in moving here.

·       . . . we still send far too much of our corn, soybeans, and livestock out of state for consumption or processing. It leaves our farmers vulnerable to the effects of tariffs and basis.

·       Second, we must leverage our expertise in agriculture along with our growing capacity in human health research. Whether it’s new therapies for human diseases, new crop technologies, or other applied research, South Dakota has a valuable contribution to make as a place for innovation . . .

·       Third, we have an opportunity to capitalize on a world-class talent pipeline and our strong tradition of service to become a leader in the cybersecurity

·       In the Black Hills, the U.S. Air Force’s rollout of the next-generation B-21 Raider bomber will also bring with it a surge of activity in and around Ellsworth Air Force base.


Improving Education and Developing Our Workforce

·       Creating new jobs, new industries and new economic horizons for our state will be worthless if we don’t have the next generation of South Dakotans educated, trained and ready to take on these new opportunities and challenges.

·       Today I’m announcing a pilot project by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority to help fix this problem. We will be building new modular multi-housing units, called DakotaPlex, at the state prison facility in Springfield. It will be similar to the Governor’s Houses, but built as duplex, triplex, or quadriplex units.

·       Another state-imposed barrier to workforce can be professional licensure. I am directing the Department of Labor and Regulation, over the next year, to work with our professional organizations and licensure boards to conduct a full review of licensing requirements

·       In South Dakota, according to our most recent data, we have 15,870 job openings and 13,600 people actively looking for work. Unfortunately, we have a skills gap – those unemployed workers don’t have the skills necessary to fill the open jobs

·       Over the coming year, I’m asking school leaders to work with me to dramatically increase work experience in our high schools. We need more CTE and skills training in high school. We need more apprenticeship programs.

·       I would like our high schools to join together each year to hold a “Week of Work.” This will be a special week when every high school student will get out of the classroom to experience a day on the job.

·       We need to do more to empower families. Every child has different needs and talents, and we all know that family involvement gets better results

·       This year, I will be bringing legislation to remove an unnecessary testing requirement that state law currently imposes on home school families. I will also be supporting legislation to make home school students eligible, on an equal basis, for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship. Update – the bill addressing homeschool children and the Opportunity Scholarship passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday January 15th on a vote of 66-1 with 3 excused.

·       Civics need to reemerge. . . I will be bringing legislation to require that every high school graduate be able to pass the United States citizenship exam. This is the test that we ask immigrants to take before they become U.S. Citizens.


Battling Meth

·       Opioids make the national news and they are a problem in South Dakota, but our overwhelming problem is meth.

·       To give you a sense of the scale of the problem in South Dakota: In 2011, there were 402 meth arrests in South Dakota. Those arrests led to the seizure of approximately 4,300 grams of meth. Look ahead seven years to 2018. We have gone from 402 arrests to 3,366 – and that doesn’t even include December of 2018. The amount of meth seized in these arrests has increased from approximately 4,300 grams to nearly 40,000 grams. A nearly tenfold increase.

·       There are no easy answers to this issue. I know we have tried to address these problems. But we need to do more. And we need to focus on three key areas: education, enforcement, and treatment.

·       So today, I am proposing that we expand prevention and treatment programs.

·       At the same time, I am proposing that we become much more aggressive in enforcing our laws against meth. We need to stop the traffic of meth into our state, and crack down on those who deal meth and other drugs.

·       And while we crack down on enforcement, we must pave avenues for rehabilitation. Earlier this year, I visited Teen Challenge in Brookings – an incredible program that helps people struggling with life-controlling substance abuse and equips them to become productive members of their community


Foster Care – Every Child Needs a Home

·       . . this Christmas, 192 children were in our foster care system available and waiting for adoptive families. In total, 940 children were in foster care

·       That is why, today, I am committing to use my podium, my microphone, and my influence to educate our state about the need for more foster parents. In every formal speech I give, I’m going to talk about it. You’re going to get tired of hearing me talk about it.


Growing Agriculture

·       From protecting property rights to expanding markets, my administration is being built to develop the state’s agricultural economy and give more young people the opportunity to thrive as farmers and ranchers in South Dakota.

·       This year, we will focus on growth in the ag economy by transferring Ag Development Representatives from the Department of Agriculture to my office of economic development.

·       We’ll begin the process of transitioning the state vehicle fleet to E30, further maximizing the use of homegrown fuels and revolutionizing the way we fuel both our vehicles and our economy

·       It’s critical we keep communicating the impact of decisions like this to the president, because quite frankly, most of Washington isn’t talking about agriculture. Fifty years ago, there were more than 200 rural congressional districts in the House of Representatives. Now, just over 30 remain.


Making Government More Transparent

·       So today, I’m committing to work toward building the most transparent administration South Dakota has ever seen. I’ll bring debates and meetings from the boardroom to your living room by utilizing free technologies like YouTube, Facebook Live and other apps

·       Fact-based reporting must be valued and encouraged in order to uphold the integrity of government entities. To that end, I want to see a commonsense Reporter Shield law, protecting the constitutional right to a free and independent press. I want that bill on my desk before the end of session.

In closing, I want to take a moment to thank my family. Thank you for your support and your help, and your energy. The reason I got involved in public service was to make South Dakota a better place – a better place to do business and raise a family. One of the reasons I care about these issues is because I wanted those things for my family, and every other family. I know that’s why you serve as well. So I look forward to working with South Dakota leaders, in governments and in the private sector, to improve our state for today. And for the next generation.

Thank you. And may God bless South Dakota.

Join your fellow members of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry for Business Day at the Legislature Thursday, February 21, 2019 in Pierre.  Click here for details.

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