Democratic Legislative Leaders Unveil Democrats’ “Opportunity Agenda for Working Families”

January 20, 2017

PIERRE, SD – At their weekly press conference today, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings unveiled the Democratic Caucus’s “Opportunity Agenda for Working Families” – the five main bills Democratic state legislators will focus on the rest of the session.

“Democrats believe that our state’s people are in need of the same kind of investment as the Legislature made in our roads and bridges in 2015,” said Sutton. “South Dakota has the highest rate in the nation of people working multiple jobs and the second highest percentage of families where both spouses are in the workforce. On top of that, we are 44th in the nation for median earnings for men and 46th  for women. Simply put, working families are having to work harder to get by, and many are falling behind.”

“Our agenda represents the kind of frugal, smart investments that will pay the state big dividends in the future,” said Hawley. “If it is passed it will be a huge boost for the working families of South Dakota. As the minority party, we know it will be hard to get our ideas passed through the Legislature, but Democrats intend to work hard to make South Dakota’s economy and state government work for the working families of South Dakota.”

The Opportunity Agenda for Working Families includes the following pieces of legislation:

  • Creating A Pre-K Pilot Program and Restoring Childcare Assistance – to help close the education gap for at-risk youth and alleviate child-care expenses for their parents
  • Fully funding the Building South Dakota Program – to stimulate economic development and provide affordable housing in both large and small communities in our state
  • Funding a Needs-based Scholarship Program – so every South Dakotan has the ability to afford a college or technical school education
  • Guaranteeing Paid Sick and Family Leave for employees of large corporations – which will help working people employed by companies with 50 employees or more care of themselves and their families
  • Removing the Sales Tax on food –to make our tax code fairer for working families

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