Lawmakers to address gender-change, budget, hemp in coming week

Lawmakers to address gender-change, budget, hemp in coming week

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South Dakota Capitol

South Dakota Capitol

PIERRE | The South Dakota Legislature will address several closely-watched issues this week, starting with a ban on gender-change treatments for children under 16.

Gender-change treatment bill

A Senate committee is scheduled to consider the bill that would make it illegal for physicians to administer puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgeries to children under 16 who want to change their gender. The bill passed the House in January, but its sponsor said it will be more difficult to convince the Senate to approve the proposal.

LGBT groups are planning to protest at the Capitol on Monday morning during the committee meeting. They say the bill targets transgender children.

Updated budget projections

The Legislature will receive updated information on how much money they can expect in the state budget. Lawmakers have said they want to find a way to fund pay increases for teachers, state employees and service providers.

Gov. Kristi Noem has told lawmakers she wants them to figure out the pay increases. But the budget is tight. The state will lose about $20 million in revenue after a tax on internet service expires.

Industrial hemp

The House is set to vote on a bill that would legalize industrial hemp in the state. A House committee approved the proposal last week, marking progress on an issue that split Noem and legislators last year.

Funding for the issue may still prove to be a sticking point. The governor wants legislators to find $3.5 million to start up and run the program.

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