PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) -
The 2018 Legislative Session opened on Tuesday afternoon in Pierre.
It was a bitter-sweet day for Governor Dennis Daugaard as he delivered his last State of the State address.
But the focus of the day remained on the issues. Daugaard talked about many items in his speech, but focused first on education and job training.
He told lawmakers that the biggest problem the state has is a skilled worker shortage, and not enough South Dakotans are getting the necessary education.
"The best way for people to learn about fields and find careers they like or don't like, is to experience them,” said Daugaard.
To get that experience, Daugarrd is pushing Career Launch, a program designed for high school kids to get the knowledge he talked about.
“We are encouraging high schools to expand the availability of work and education experiences such as apprenticeships or job shadowing during school,” said Daugaard.
Currently, four school districts are piloting this program. Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Yankton and Brookings.
Representative Oren Lesmeister, Democrat representing 28A, said he liked the program, but had reservations about how rural students could participate in the program.
Another topic Daugaard addressed was Medicaid. He is pursing a wavier that would require all able-bodied people on Medicaid to work. In South Dakota, only children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and parents with very low-income can be eligible for Medicaid.
"These work requirements only apply to a subset of that last category,” said Daugaard. “Very low-income able-bodied parents who aren't already working or caring for a child under 1.That’s around 4,500 individuals.”
Daugaard also touched on the online sales tax, which would require online businesses without a physical presence in the state to still pay tax, and the ever-growing methamphetamine epidemic.
Daugaard’s term ends in January of 2019.