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The Latest: GOP leader praises Noem’s plan for fighting meth

January 23, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Kristi Noem’s budget address (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

The South Dakota House Republican leader is praising Gov. Kristi Noem’s budget plan for addressing nursing home funding and tackling the methamphetamine epidemic.

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm said Wednesday that he’s excited about Noem’s plan for fighting meth abuse, particularly prevention efforts.

Noem, in her first budget address to the Legislature, proposed $54 million in new ongoing spending, including 2.5 percent increases for education, Medicaid providers and state workers.

She also called for one-time spending including for providers and nursing home grants. Her proposal includes new funding to fight meth abuse, including more than $1 million for a meth media campaign.

Noem is shelving former Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to require state workers to pay premiums for the state employee health plan.

South Dakota State Employees Organization Executive Director Eric Ollila says it was good to hear Noem speak highly of state employees during her first budget address.

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2 p.m.

Gov. Kristi Noem is proposing higher spending for education, state employees and Medicaid providers than former Gov. Dennis Daugaard suggested in his final budget address last year

The new Republican governor gave her first proposed budget to the Legislature on Wednesday. It includes a nearly $1.7 billion general fund for the budget year starting July 1.

Noem is proposing roughly $54 million in new ongoing spending, including 2.5 percent increases for education, providers and state workers. Daugaard had proposed 2.3 percent hikes in his December budget address.

Noem is also calling for one-time spending including $3.8 million for Medicaid providers, $5 million for nursing home grants and $5 million for expanding rural broadband. She’s also proposing $4.6 million to fight the methamphetamine epidemic, including more than $1 million for a meth media campaign.

Noem says her budget is structurally balanced and confronts the issues the state faces without tax increases.

Lawmakers will reshape the current budget and approve the next one during the 2019 session.

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8:20 a.m.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is set to present her state budget proposal to the Legislature.

The Republican on Wednesday will give her first budget address as governor.

In her State of the State address earlier in January, Noem discussed priorities including mental health, fighting the methamphetamine epidemic and connecting more people to high-speed internet.

Noem has said the budget address will follow the outline she gave in the State of the State.

Lawmakers will reshape the current budget and approve the next one during the 2019 session.

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