Looking Back on Legislative Session

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Looking Back on Legislative Session


By: Governor Kristi Noem

March 15, 2024


Back in December, when I gave my annual Budget Address to the state legislature, I told them that we had to remember our core function as the state governments. I told them that we needed to prioritize people, not projects. Our primary responsibility is to serve the people of the great state of South Dakota. And now, as we have wrapped up the 2024 legislative session, I am proud to say that we have done just that.


My top priority this session was to put forward a conservative budget that showed exactly what our priorities are. I have worked with legislators on both sides on the aisle to make sure that conservative budget passed. We cut $70 million in spending from the overall budget this legislative session. The final budget gives a 4% increase to education, the state’s technical colleges, reimbursement rates for health and human service providers, and salary increases for state employees.


We had some incredible wins for education in South Dakota this legislative session. I just recently held bill signing ceremonies for three important bills. First, we are funding a Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology. South Dakota is a leader in emerging technology, and this center will combine numerous fields to make tremendous advancements in cybersecurity, agriculture, healthcare, and more.


And we are making sure that our teachers, the ones we trust to care for and teach our kids, are receiving the paychecks that they deserve. I signed a bill to increase teacher pay and ensure that we are no longer leaving our teachers behind when we increase state funding for education.


Finally, we know that our kids are our future, and we want to do all that we can to set them up for success. The legislature passed funding so that my Department of Education can continue their literacy program – where they help teachers learn the proven best way to teach students how to read.


Whether we’re talking about our kids in the classrooms, our hardworking employees and businessowners, or our retirees who call South Dakota home, everyone deserves to feel safe. I am very proud that the legislature passed a historic piece of legislation to combat antisemitism in our state. We have seen a shocking rise in antisemitic acts of hate across the country. This bill ensures the safety of our Jewish brothers and sister, and it will serve as model legislation for other states.


The safety and security of every South Dakotan should always be the top priority of state government. This session, we worked together to pass a very important bill that prohibits six Evil Foreign Governments from buying agricultural land in South Dakota. Nations like China will do all they can to take down the United States and become the world’s largest power. And if they control our food supply, they will effectively control us. I am very proud of the work we have done over the last year to create, pass, and sign this legislation into law.


We were able to accomplish all of this while staying true to the fiscally conservative principles that made our state’s economy the success that it is today. South Dakota has now set aside $656.2 million for our prisons over the last three legislative sessions. By allocating this money now, the state will save over $500 million in interest and fees over the next 25 years.


Our legislative session this year was certainly a successful one. Now, I’m looking forward to meeting with South Dakotans and continuing to do all I can to serve them every single day.