In its afternoon meeting yesterday, the House State Affairs committee gave unanimous approval to House Bill 1214. Rep. Bernie Hunhoff (D-18/Yankton) brought this bill to ensure that all pregnant low-income women in South Dakota can receive prenatal care—all women, including those who aren't citizens.
The good read of HB 1214 is that we love babies. As Rep. Hunhoff said in committee, we are a better state than our current stingy laws suggest.
The bad read of HB 1214 is that we're handing out benefits to illegal immigrants, 184 a year, according to Rep. Hunhoff's data on illegal-immigrant births in South Dakota.
Rep. David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) and Rep. Mike Verchio (R-30/Hill City) must be getting soft with age. These two House State Affairs members voted for this important health benefit for illegal immigrant women yesterday. But just two years ago, they co-sponsored legislation that would have made it illegal for any health care provider to knowingly harbor those illegal immigrant patients in their offices. Hmm... maybe there's hope yet that the South Dakota GOP can govern with its heart rather than with its ALEC talking points.