SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Wednesday laid out a proposal that would make $400 million in federal coronavirus relief funds available to businesses in the state.

The state received $1.25 billion in federal funding as part of the CARES Act to address the coronavirus crisis and legislators are conducting public hearings this month for people to weigh in how the funds should be used.

Under Noem's plan, South Dakota businesses can qualify for grants of up to $100,000 if they can demonstrate a 25% budget reduction between March and May as a result of COVID-19.

“It’s my hope that this proposal will help folks stay open and overcome the unprecedented times we’ve faced these last several months,” the governor said in a statement.

Noem's move appears to set the stage for a special legislative session this fall. She had previously told lawmakers to be patient in allocating the money, pushing for the issue to be decided in next year's legislative session. Legislative leaders had expected Congress to extend the end-of-year deadline to use the money.

The $1.25 billion must be used by Dec. 30, and the state has used about $77 million so far, according to the latest legislative report.

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