As the Main Run of the 2022 Session winds to a close, there are still ongoing discussions about money and marijuana. Legislators have made a few changes to the medical marijuana laws adopted by the voters, working to clarify some of the provisions of IM26. These clarifications came out of an interim summer study and include such things as adding an expiration date for written certification for medical use, revising the reporting requirements on medical cannabis, and clarifying that landlords have the right to impose reasonable restrictions on the use of cannabis. These bills had support from the proponents of IM26 and broad support among legislators.
Another subset of marijuana-related legislation seeks to either further constrain how medical marijuana is handled in our state, or, conversely to legalize marijuana use for all adults. In District 24, nearly two-thirds of voters were in favor of medical marijuana; however, in our district Amendment A failed with 52% voting against it. I have not supported bills to legalize recreational use.
The other over-arching issue for the final week of Session will be finalizing one-time spending proposals and crafting the General Fund budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Both houses have agreed to many one-time expenditures, including renovating the Cultural Heritage Center, expanding the State Health Lab, developing a Master Plan for the Capitol Lake area, and expanding the Kinsman Building located near the Becker-Hansen building. Higher education proposals that have received support are the Cottonwood Field Station for livestock grazing research, developing a Cybersecurity Cyber-Ag Partnership between SDSU and Dakota State University, and upgrading various buildings on the Board of Regents campuses.
Discussions about the general spending bill are focusing on how to handle federal fund expenditure authority. In the past, federal funds have accounted for about a third of state spending. In the Governor’s recommended budget for FY2023, federal funds account for a little more than 65% of the total budget. House and Senate Appropriations committee members have been holding extra meetings as they work to develop the final budget proposal.
Legislators are scheduled to finish the Main Run on Thursday, March 10. The final three days of this week are reserved for conference committee reports and involve a lot of “hurry up and wait” time. Legislators are scheduled to return to Pierre on Monday, March 28 for Veto Day.