Noem calls special session to address use of stimulus funds

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday called for a special session of the legislature to figure out a plan to spend more than $1 billion in federal funds the state has received to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican governor's administration has spent about $114 million of the $1.25 billion in federal funds allocated to the state. Noem earlier this month mapped out a plan to spend the bulk of the money, but some House members said lawmakers should be included in the decision.

Barring an extension, the state has until the end of December to expend the remainder of the funds. Noem said in a release that her team has already “spent many hours” talking to lawmakers and the general public about the best use of the money.

“I look forward to hearing from the entire legislature in its official capacity,” she said.

Noem has proposed up to $400 million in small business grants and up to $100 million in grants to community-based healthcare providers.

State health officials on Monday reported 173 new positive tests for COVID-19, for a total of 18,869 cases. The state ranks second in the country for new cases per capita in the last two weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project.