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Senate passes bill allocating over a quarter of billion dollars toward the new men’s prison construction

New men’s prison bill passes thru Senate

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) — Senators voted to approve over a quarter of a billion dollars in state funds to plan and construct a new men’s prison this afternoon (Tuesday).
On a 27 to 6 vote, the Senate approved SB49. It allocates $132 million in general funds and nearly $94 million in state reserves. It also allocates $10 million in federal funds. The bill required a two-thirds vote or at least 24 votes.
Republican Sen. John Wiik (wick) from Big Stone City carried the bill on the Senate floor.
“So when you start adding all of the inflation, the cost of this project could end up totaling close to seven hundred million dollars,” Wiik admitted. “It’s a big ask, and just like responsible people do, we’re putting money aside ahead of time. We’re not putting this on the credit card. We’re not asking our children to pay for this.”
Republican Sen. Jim Bolin from Canton represents the district where the Department of Corrections wants to place the new men’s prison. He spoke in opposition, not about the location between Canton and Harrisburg, but about the funding mechanisms.
“I would submit to you that a project that will cost close to $700 million, perhaps more than that,” Bolin noted. He said the cost should be spread out over more years.
“School districts, counties, cities, all sorts of institutions in our state have bonding, and they do that because they believe that numerous generations or numerous groups of people should share in the cost,” Bolin argued.
Bolin said the state could use the funds for other vital projects if it bonded for the prison facility.
Wiik countered, saying that the state is saving money bit by bit. He said that paying for it in full with cash is the most prudent way to proceed.
The bill now heads to the House.

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