The 2010 South Dakota legislative session can be summed up in one word: budget. The budget is dominating discussions around the state Capitol inPierre. A projected $30 million deficit for the 2011 fiscal year and a projected $100 million deficit for fiscal year 2010 are prompting a range of potential solutions.
AARP will closely be watching what happens and working to protect critical programs and services provided toSouth Dakota’s most vulnerable citizens including the elderly and disabled.
Early in the session, AARP South Dakota already has a keen eye on a number of bills. First, we are supporting a measure that adds age as one of the protected categories in our state's human rights and labor laws. South Dakotais one of two states which do not currently include age in its state discrimination and employment statutes.
Second, we'll be watching Senate Bill 69, which creates loopholes in the state's nursing home moratorium to allow for the building of a new veterans nursing home East River and would allow nursing homes to split their bed capacity for the purpose of building a new nursing home so long as it is within 50 miles of the original nursing home and that the census of each facility has a Medicaid occupancy that is no more than 10% of the average Medicaid nursing home occupancy in the state (currently 58%). South Dakotahas considerable access issues for long term care, particularly in our rural communities, and many questions are raised as to whether or not this legislation solves or exacerbates those challenges.
Third, AARP South Dakota will work to ensure the continuation of the Elderly and Disabled Tax Credit for low-income elderly and disabled South Dakotans. This tax refund program for individuals living below the poverty level was slated for budget cuts last year and was saved in the last days. AARP is encouraged by the support this program received in the Governor Rounds budget address.
Throughout the session, AARP Advocate Sam Wilson will provide updates from Pierre on a regular basis.
Follow the action and get the latest updates on all the issues AARP is working on during the 2010 South Dakota Legislative session.