The South Dakota House of Representatives, by a 54-16 vote, approved a $200 million package to be allocated towards housing infrastructure projects across the state. It makes use of $150 million from the state general fund, while the remaining $50 million will be covered in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Reporting on the hurdles that the now approved bill went through before it was passed, AP News noted:
It is one of the first pieces of legislation to clear the Republican-controlled Legislature this year and includes an emergency clause that will allow the money to be distributed immediately after Gov. Kristi Noem signs it. The distribution of the funding has seen delays since amid a political fight between a right-wing group of lawmakers and the Republican governor.
Last year, the Republican-controlled Legislature, against the governor’s wishes, allocated the funds to the South Dakota Housing Development Authority rather than the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The Housing Development Authority, however, declined to spend the money because it did not match with its mission of providing housing for low- and moderate-income people and made the funding available regardless of income level.
Republican Rep. Roger Chase, who carried the bill in the House, said that he heard from many communities last year that had to halt housing projects until the funding could be distributed. The Legislature has sought to spur housing development amid a labor shortage in the rural state.
“This is an important economic development tool that we are creating,” he said.