Saturday, January 28, 2023

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A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

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Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

SD Plan: More Students Could 'Make the Grade' in Career Readiness

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023   

Like other states, South Dakota has a program allowing high school students to take courses offered at universities and technical colleges. Now, there is a legislative plan to help ensure younger students get a chance to participate and get a head start on a career path.

Under South Dakota's dual-credit program, juniors and seniors can apply for state aid to defer the costs of courses like auto-body welding or accounting.

Rep. Kameron Nelson, D-Sioux Falls, has introduced a bill to expand aid to tenth graders. He said expenses for courses can be a barrier, and thinks students also deserve a chance to start collecting credits if they have a career in mind.

"A sophomore might be able to start this dual-credit program, collect credits by the time that they graduate from high school, receive and earn their associate's degree," Nelson explained.

He noted it could especially help in health care-related fields. It is projected South Dakota will need at least 14% more registered nurses to meet demand in the years ahead. Nelson's bill is seeing bipartisan support, in terms of sponsors, but no hearings have been scheduled.

Nelson acknowledged at the start, enrollment for sophomores would likely be lower than for other grade levels, but he noted the additional costs are forecast at around $900,000 if there's strong demand. He is convinced it would be a worthwhile investment for the state.

"Anytime we can invest in our young people to become more educated, I will always back that," Nelson emphasized.

South Dakota has a budget surplus of more than $400 million, but some leaders, including Gov. Kristi Noem, have a range of other ideas to put the money to use, including tax cuts.


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