As week six wraps up, twenty-four legislative days are behind us with thirteen days left. The big issues still being worked on are the details of getting the medical marijuana IM26 initiated as soon as possible in a way that is done right and meets the voters’ expectations. The other very large issue is getting the state budget and one-time money decisions completed. The state has nearly $400 million in extra monies that came from a combination of the federal CARES Act, surplus funds that state didn’t spend out of the current budget due to some expenses also covered by the CARES Act and a current year budget surplus that came from the state economy performing better than expected.
But there are over 60 House and Senate bills that total nearly $700 million in proposed one-time spending, leaving a shortage gap of $300 million. So, that has to be prioritized and pared down to the $400 million available.
One of those proposals if approved would mean a major benefit to South Dakota Agriculture. This is HB1210 and would appropriate $20 million in grant funding for the construction of a new bioproducts facility at the research park in Brookings. The grant would go through the Board of Regents and would be a special cooperative led effort between South Dakota State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Known as the Dakota BioPro Innovation Institute, it would generate new business activity, economic diversification and higher paying employment.
In South Dakota, public investment in bioprocessing research and development has not kept pace with neighboring states, and so, we have been exporting low-value commodities and well-educated students. The BioPro Institute will change that. Total cost is over $28 million. Over a dozen South Dakota farm organizations have endorsed this project. It is expected to provide a return on investment of at least 25% which would be $70 million over 30 years. That would demonstrate this to be funds well spent. Stay tuned to see if this one survives the appropriations decisioning.
As always, please call or email or text me with any comments or concerns you may have on any bills being considered in the legislature.
Contact Rep. Lynn Schneider via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (605) 354-2640.