Gov. Dennis Daugaard
Eight decades ago, in 1936, South Dakota received a presidential visit. It was the height of the Great Depression and the state was in the middle of the worst drought in history. Tom Berry, who was serving as governor at the time, took on the responsibilities of directing New Deal programs for the state. He was the only governor to do so. Managing federal aid programs led Gov. Berry to have a good working relationship with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, and when the President came to South Dakota, Gov. Berry served as his tour guide.
In January of 2012, I introduced in my State of the State Address a proposal to comprehensively reform our criminal justice system. The Public Safety Improvement Act legislation was pieced together with help from the Chief Justice, legislative leaders and stakeholders from across the state. The bill passed with overwhelming support.
Across South Dakota, a new school year is getting underway. Students and families are getting back into the school day routine, reestablishing study habits and juggling activities. In order to succeed in school, students are often reminded to listen to their teachers, complete homework assignments on time and cooperate with their classmates. There is another simple practice we sometimes overlook that is absolutely critical: consistent school attendance. It seems obvious, but the importance of attendance cannot be overstated.
Over the past several years, South Dakota has seen a rise in the use of methamphetamine, or meth. In our state, 3.8 percent of high school students have tried meth. That is slightly higher than the national average of 3 percent. Approximately 15,000 South Dakotans, age 12 and up, were dependent on or abused illicit drugs in 2015, including meth.
It's almost rally time in South Dakota. What started in 1938 as a single motorcycle race in a small town has grown into one of the largest and best-known motorcycle gatherings in the world. This year is the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and though we don't expect the numbers will approach the levels we saw last year, the rally is sure to be well-attended.
Flags across South Dakota have been at half-staff for most of the last two weeks. Following the violence perpetrated in Dallas, France and Baton Rouge, President Obama issued three consecutive proclamations calling for the lowering of the flag. Even though our state has not been directly affected by this recent senseless violence, we are not untouched. We too feel the losses, and we mourn with the rest of the nation.
In the past decade South Dakota has seen tremendous job creation and capital investment in renewable energy. Wind power has led the way by contributing over $2 billion in direct...
Every year, thousands of visitors come to Pierre to enjoy all that our Capital City has to offer. Every South Dakotan can be proud of the State Capitol Building, which has been beautifully restored and maintained. The Capitol grounds are also impressive, especially in the summer, with the Fighting Stallions Memorial and the veterans' memorials along Capitol Lake. The Cultural Heritage Center provides an opportunity to learn about the history of our state.
In the 2016 session legislators serving on the appropriations committee adopted a new budget process. With the goal of more thoroughly evaluating the state's budget while improving timeliness, appropriators held budget hearings earlier and adhered to new deadlines. Their new process worked. Under appropriators' leadership, South Dakota has once again adopted a balanced budget that continues a tradition of low spending.
A significant number of Americans struggle with mental illness. For many the struggle is silent. Some experience short-term mental health problems, as it's not uncommon for individuals to temporarily face mild forms of mental illness throughout their lives. For others though, it's a lifelong battle that requires consistent treatment. No community is untouched by mental illness. It deeply affects schools, workplaces and families.