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From the Frontlines in Pierre: A Legislative Update

 

It’s hard to believe, but the 90th session of South Dakota’s legislature is now half over! It’s been an interesting if slow session so far, but things will be picking up as we speed toward the end in mid-March.

So far, active transportation issues have been keeping us busy – the Daugaard administration introduced two bills relating to bicycle and pedestrian safety, and we are supporting the legislation. HB 1030 would give people on bicycles at least a three-foot leeway when being passed by cars, and HB 1032 would require motorists to actually stop when people walking are crossing in a pedestrian crosswalk.

Why are we involved in transportation bills? Simply put, the American Heart Association supports policies that make it easier and safer for people to be more active in their daily lives. If it’s safer for someone to ride their bike to work or for exercise, they’ll get out on that bike more. If it’s safer for kids to cross roads on their way to and from school, parents are more inclined to let them walk or bike instead of firing up the minivan to drop them off. And more active transportation means healthier hearts!

We’re monitoring a number of other bills, including several vehicle bills that may support legislation to cover more people in our state through Medicaid. It’s been a long haul for Medicaid expansion as legislators consider ideas on how to cover the state’s share of expansion. It’s a great deal for South Dakota as the federal government has pledged to cover not less than 90 percent of the costs to cover up to about 48,000 more people. Medicaid coverage means hard-working South Dakotans will get their preventive care, keeping them out of emergency rooms and delaying serious (and expensive) health problems such as heart attacks. If someone can’t pay their medical bills, the costs get passed on to all of us through higher insurance premiums and taxes – let’s cover people and make sure they’ve got their preventive care that keeps them healthier and more productive.

Stay tuned as there’s a lot of session left. Make sure to like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/southdakotaheart?ref=hl to keep in top of what we’re working on here in Pierre. As always, you can reach me at megan.myers@heart.org or my cell at 605-261-7717 .

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