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  1. Several long-term care facilities have closed and more are likely to shut down as financial challenges deepen. Gov. Noem will tackle funding issues in her budget address and legislators are eyeing changes in South Dakota's Medicaid reimbursement rate, the lowest in the nation.
  2. The state is near the bottom in the nation for average pay and South Dakota's employment base is dominated by low-wage support service jobs. Lawmakers eye expanding education offerings. Gov. Kristi Noem pledges to identify new opportunities to generate better jobs.
  3. Weeks after announcing store closures in four South Dakota towns, Shopko officials say they will shutter stores in two more communities. Find that story and in-depth coverage of the retail moves here.
  4. The shuttering of Shopko stores in Chamberlain, Custer, Dell Rapids, Redfield, Wagner and Webster spotlights the fragility of rural retail economies. The resulting job losses, decreased access to necessities and sales-tax reductions could weaken community viability.
  5. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of South Dakota's entry into legalized casino gambling. When voters approved black jack and table games in the historic city of Deadwood in 1989, the Black Hills town was on the ropes. Gaming brought an instant economic spurt and, despite a variety of challenges through the years, has helped sustain the community.
  6. A near-record number of women legislators soon will begin their terms in Pierre. The newly elected lawmakers say an increase in female representation could bring a focus on different issues and greater collaboration.
  7. The adult child payment requirement has been on the books in South Dakota since 1939 and is rarely used. But as nursing homes increasingly face financial struggles, some legal experts say elder-care providers may see it as an avenue to collect unpaid bills.
  8. Economic pressures, low reimbursement rates and staff shortages are contributing to financial stresses for skilled care facilities. Three have closed in recent years and two more are slated for shutdown in February, creating hardships for residents and workers.
  9. A constitutional amendment making sports betting legal in South Dakota will be presented to lawmakers in January. If approved by the Legislature, the amendment also would need voter approval. Betting on sports would be allowed in Deadood and at tribal casinos, but not through the state's video lottery system.
  10. Most farmers who applied for assistance received less than $20,000 in the first round of federal payments this fall. The government program is designed to mitigate agricultural producers' financial losses due to the ongoing trade war with China.
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