Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem Agrees to Raise Hemp and Teacher Pay

So the money is there after all: Governor Kristi Noem caved yesterday and said the Legislature can spend $3.5 million to legalize industrial hemp and $55 million to give K-12 teachers, state employees, and Medicaid health care providers a 2% raise.

Hey, I knew bringing Tony Venhuizen back to Pierre would bring some sense back to the Second Floor. The recycled chief of staff has evidently created a critical mass of sensible management that has neatly persuaded the Snow Queen to finally, fully drop the distraction of her ignorant and irrational resistance to crop rotation and avoid the further erosion to her political brand that would have come from stiffing school district and state employees. Nice work, Tony!

Senator Jim Bolin (far right) assumes the proper position during a Kristi Noem press conference. Photo from Governor Kristi Noem's Twitter, 2020.03.09.
Senator Jim Bolin (far right) assumes the proper position during a Kristi Noem press conference. Photo from Governor Kristi Noem’s Twitter, 2020.03.09.

At her all-Republicans press conference yesterday, Governor Noem hemp and 2% pay raises will fit in the budget because (Bob Mercer’s summation), “some tax revenues have been flowing stronger, Medicaid services have been costing less for a third consecutive year and maintenance on state buildings can be scaled back slightly.” Funny: the LRC revenue report released yesterday indicates we were actually down from the new budget projections by $3.76 million in February… but that includes a $5.16 million dip in lottery receipts caused by a “timing issue” (seriously, folks? Can we not normalize these reporting periods so we get some steady, reliable data?).

SDLRC, State General Fund Receipts, February 2020, 2020.03.06.
SDLRC, State General Fund Receipts, February 2020, 2020.03.06.

For the eight months of this fiscal year, we’re up $10.72 million on regular receipts from the budget assumptions revised last month.

SDLRC, State General Fund Receipts, July 2019 thru Feb 2020, 2020.03.06.
SDLRC, State General Fund Receipts, July 2019 thru Feb 2020, 2020.03.06.

The Senate yesterday temporarily erased House Bill 1008, the hemp bill, to “promote ongoing discussions” of the plan Noem now says she’ll sign. Once the Senate restores and passes the HB 1008 language and the Governor affixes her signature thereto, South Dakota can start doing what it does every day, playing catch-up with other states, like Wyoming, whose Governor Mark Gordon just capped a year of planning by signing emergency rules allowing Wyoming farmers to plant their first hemp crops of the century. We’ll also continue to play catch-up with our neighboring states, all of whom pay teachers thousands of dollars more than we do.

2 Comments

  1. Debbo 2020-03-10

    A 2% pay raise for teachers is something, but it’s a pitiful something.

    In St. Paul the public school teachers just began a strike today. One of the biggest sticking points is the teachers’ demand for more mental health workers because student suicides keep increasing. It’s their students who are dying and the teachers are not going to watch that continue without doing something about it.

    ❤❤❤ I love teachers. ❤❤❤

  2. grudznick 2020-03-10

    At the first whining from teachers about this sudden pile of money that will be shoved at their schools who better pay them more, the legislatures should yank it back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.