PIERRE, S.D. — Legislators are urging South Dakota's Washington delegation to pursue federal disaster relief funding after weeks of severe flooding has wreaked havoc on the state.
The Senate passed Senate Resolution 7 on Friday, March 29, which urges U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, as well as U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, to seek a federal disaster declaration on recent flooding throughout the state resulting from Winter Storm Ulmer. A federal disaster declaration would allow South Dakota counties and tribes to seek federal aid.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, hoghoused former language of the resolution in order to make the request to South Dakota's congressmen. Heinert said it will take a long time for the state to fully recover from the natural disaster, and that more damage could still be to come.
"We're going to be talking a long time when we start looking at all of the bridges, all of the roads, all of the infrastructure needs, plus just rebuilding families' lives and homes and their livelihoods," Heinert said. "This storm was significant and it's going to cost a lot of money and we're going to need some assistance."
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem declared a statewide emergency on March 15, allowing qualifying counties to apply for state disaster aid.
The Senate State Affairs committee passed the resolution unanimously, as did the Senate later on Friday with a 30-0 vote.