Democrats praise Daugaard budget, urge action on teacher pay

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Democratic legislative leaders say they're pleased Gov. Dennis Daugaard has put forward a plan to expand the state's Medicaid program, but say his budget address lacked urgency on education and boosting teacher pay.

The leaders praised many proposals in Daugaard's $4.8 billion budget, which he outlined Tuesday.

South Dakota Democrats have pushed to expand the Medicaid program for several years. Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton says now it looks like "a very real possibility."

The governor says the state's cost for expanding Medicaid would have to be covered by savings to move forward. He also says specific proposals on teacher pay will come later during his State of the State address.

House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley says he's disappointed with a "mere reference" to teacher pay in the governor's budget.

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