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Noem visits Rapid City to discuss budget proposal

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Governor Kristi Noem stopped in Rapid City yesterday to drum up support for her budget proposals for next year.

At the Rushmore Hotel, Noem reiterated money is tight and she is instructing state agencies to scale back spending.

However, some of Noem’s budget cuts are not sitting well with some lawmakers.

For the first time since 2016, there will be no increase in state aid to raise teacher salaries, making it the third year the state has fallen behind on its promise to keep teacher pay competitive if the budget passes.

Noem also said hemp is not a priority in her budge proposal.

Some farmers hoped the governor would move toward legalizing hemp in an effort to boost revenue.

Noem says she still has concerns about the crop and if legislators bring a hemp proposal forward a debate will be needed.

“In my budget to address hemp I would’ve had to add dollars to set up a state program. I did not choose to do that at this time, I know there will be legislation that will be coming during session that legislators want to set up a statewide hemp growing program, and I’m sure they’ll have that debate.”

Noem said during the last legislative session that she didn’t feel the timing was right for a state hemp program because law enforcement may not be able to tell the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.

The governor also claimed it would cost $7 million dollars to set up a hemp program and that wasn’t a priority in her budget .

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