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South Dakota lawmakers prepare for 2021 session, anxious about COVID-19

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) -- A new year, a new legislative body, but the same problem has carried over from 2020…COVID-19.

South Dakota lawmakers are making their way to Pierre, anxious for what is to come.

“I don’t know how this session is going to work, nobody quite knows how it's going to work. We don't know whether a lot more people will get sick in the capital, or if we'll end up making some changes as far as procedures,” said Sen. Arthur Rusch, (R) Vermillion, SD.

Lawmakers said they will be provided personal protective equipment. Masks are required in the Senate but encouraged in the House of Representatives.

Some legislators might be remote at times, but the majority will take precautions in person.

“You bring people in from all over the state. You know, the nature of legislation is personal contact, coversation," said Rep. David Anderson, (R) Hudson, SD.

The virus will be at the forefront of their minds as they take on the other challenges on the agenda.

"There's a lot of one-time money so to speak…$224 million, so I expect there will be a lot of different proposals coming out of that including how to best utilize that money," said Rep. Ryan Cwach (D) Yankton, SD.

Tuesday, Gov. Kristi Noem gives her State of the State Address, laying out her vision for South Dakota this year.

Wednesday is the State of the Judiciary, an update from the courts.

While Thursday is the State of the Tribes, where tribal leaders talk about the issues they are facing. The following week is when the house and senate will get to work.

KTIV's Claire Bradshaw will bring us more on what to expect this week, and in the weeks to come Tuesday on News 4.

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Claire Bradshaw

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