2021 S.D. Legislature: Nationwide supply chain issue felt in SD

Rep. Steve Haugaard, District 10

This week’s bigger story nationwide seems to be the increasing ‘supply-chain’ problem. Not only have we shifted much of our actual production of finished goods overseas, but we have also allowed our in-country production to be partly dependent upon some key components from other parts of the world. For example, the “chips” for automobiles that we have ‘farmed out’ to other countries, specifically, China.

The supply chain being stretched overseas is a problem, and so is the nationwide distribution of goods that are near our shores. The new energy and environmental policies have sent a signal to energy producers that the use of oil, gas and coal within the United States is going to come at a premium cost. As a result of those policies, the fuel prices have shot up, shipping container prices have skyrocketed, and inflation is driving up hourly wages to the point that our ports are bottlenecked, and trucking is in high demand but short supply.  

In addition to ‘supply chain’ issues, there is also the manufacturing and retail practice of limiting inventory by going to ‘just-in-time’ delivery of items needed for production and sale. In an effort to reduce costly warehousing and reduce interest paid to maintain inventory we have become dependent upon delivery of various parts at an exact time in the process.  

What all of this means for South Dakota is that we, too, need to recognize that to avoid interruption of commerce, ongoing production might now require investment in additional warehousing of component parts and other finished goods.  

In addition to that, we should also recognize that the ‘trickle down’ effect of food shortages should drive us more quickly in the direction of the final processing of grain products as well as meat products, especially with the tight profit margins we suffer when we sell raw grain and livestock ‘on the hoof’. There are great benefits in having a low-cost delivery of goods, but there is also a long-term benefit of being more self-sufficient. Also, here at home, and back to COVID, there has been much news and conversation about treatment protocols for COVID. Many first-hand accounts of individuals who have been hospitalized indicate that the treatment protocols being used do not include practices that are reportedly having positive results in other parts of the country and other parts of the world.  

In 2015 we passed a law that was generally described as a “right to try”. (That is now codified at SDCL 34-51.) Nearly all states have now passed a similar law. That allows people who are suffering from illness that is diagnosed as terminal to try treatments that are considered ‘experimental’ or ‘investigational’ or otherwise aren’t considered to be currently approved treatment protocols. Given the varying nature of COVID, this year’s legislative session will be an appropriate time to revisit that section of law and determine what changes or additions need to be made to include this pandemic.

As I have previously mentioned, a Special Session should be called to address employer vaccine mandates along with a thorough consideration of why individuals with existing antibodies still fall into the category of needing vaccination. The issue of existing antibodies is oftentimes acknowledged, but the conversation seems to go no further. In any event, modification of our ‘right-to-try’ laws could be a life-saving measure for the Legislature to consider.  

Unfortunately, we are limited by significant disagreement within the medical community, and we are limited by the general population’s positions on this issue that are oftentimes based more on faith and opinion as opposed to unshakable scientific fact. A robust and unbiased consideration of the currently available science on this virus could go a long way to reduce the divide over the issue.

As always, feel free to contact me (steven.haugaard@sdlegislature.gov) with questions or comments. You can also go to www.sdlegislature.gov to see what else is happening in state government.


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