Mental health and hemp are top South Dakota issues

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - South Dakota lawmakers will tackle some tough topics in summer study sessions; one so large it is split into five task forces.

Access to mental health services was studied in 2018 but the Legislature still needs to work on the problem. Here are the five task forces:
• Task Force #1 will redefine acute mental health hospitalizations.
• Task Force #2 will look at how to reduce overall use of acute mental health hospitalizations.
• Task Force #3 focus is on how to effectively leverage telehealth and telemedicine services.
• Task Force #4 will redefine nursing home criteria for people with organic brain damage.
• Task Force #5 is charged with studying community services and caregiver supports.

While the Legislature failed to overturn Gov. Kristi Noem’s veto of an industrial hemp bill this year, the lawmakers opted to study the issue this summer.

The committee will take a look at regulations and cost of implementing an industrial hemp program. This includes the economic impacts of producing and selling industrial hemp; cost and challenges for police; and need for registration, licenses, permits, and seed certification.

Three other issues will be studied: special education costs; electrical services in areas annexed by cities; and alternatives to prison for drug offenders.

You can follow the work of these summer study committees by going to the South Dakota Legislative Research website and click on the Interim link .