Noem signs hemp and other bills, but says budget in doubt | News


Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday signed 15 bills that allocate millions of dollars to South Dakota programs, including industrial hemp, but offered no guarantee on whether the funding would remain after the state reworks its budget in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Noem said the budget allocations likely depend on how much money the state gets from the federal government in a stimulus bill. The bills give millions of dollars to an industrial hemp program, repairing abandoned natural gas wells, a veteran’s cemetery, a School of Health Sciences building at the University of South Dakota and expanding broadband services to rural communities.

“I’m signing these 15 bills with one caveat — we may need to come back in June and make drastic changes to both the current budget and next year’s fiscal year budget,” Noem said in a statement.

In the 15 days since the Legislature finalized the state budget, the state’s economic outlook has changed drastically due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers will meet via teleconference on Monday to consider action on the four bills the governor has vetoed. Noem is also asking them to act on a series of emergency bills to address the coronavirus crisis.

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