Noem pledges work on meth abuse, transparency

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has outlined priorities ranging from improving state government transparency to connecting more people to high-speed internet in her first State of the State address.

The Republican governor said Tuesday that it's time to start the search for South Dakota's next big industries. Noem says she wants to break down barriers to filling workforce shortages, announcing a pilot project to build new modular multi-unit houses at the state prison.

Noem also says she's directing the state to work with professional groups and licensure boards to review licensing requirements. She pledged to tackle methamphetamine abuse, saying a plan would reach her desk by the end of the legislative session to "stare down" the state's meth problem.

Noem declared government transparency the "cornerstone." She committed to working toward the most transparent administration the state has seen, calling for a reporter shield law and bringing more "sunlight to the statehouse."

The 2019 session opened Tuesday and runs into late March.