Political news

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

The head of South Dakota’s Supreme Court says the probation system in the state is stretched thin.

With rising rates of drug related offenses, Chief Justice took time to reiterate the savings of the state’s probation program as opposed to incarceration.

South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson calls the rising rates of addiction in South Dakota a new wave of evil.

He says the drug problem in South Dakota has exploded.

Gilbertson says drug crimes accounted for 41 percent of prison admissions in the last fiscal year.


South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard says relations between tribes and the state made continued progress in 2016.

During his annual State of the State address, Daugaard pointed to tax agreements and conservation efforts on the reservations as examples.

But one lawmaker says the governor failed to address the major issue in Indian country right now…

Representative Shawn Bordeaux is a Democrat from the Rosebud Reservation.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants the legislature to update the state’s wiretapping laws.

The move is part of an overall attempt to address the state's methamphetamine epidemic. Daugaard says the update allows police to monitor drug trafficking.

Daugaard says right now law enforcement can use court orders to tap into landline phones.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants out of state think tanks to stop experimenting with South Dakota’s constitution and laws.

One of those groups, along with several South Dakotans, stood outside the capitol urging lawmakers to accept the will of the voters.

During his annual State of the State address, Governor Dennis Daugaard says he supports repealing Initiated Measure 22. He says he wants constitutionally sound measures to replace portions of it.

Nicole Griffith / SDPB

The Veterans Affairs rehabilitation program and outpatient clinic in Hot Springs are moving to Rapid City.

A decision by United States Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Robert McDonald, was announced Friday afternoon to close a major part of the facility and relocate.

South Dakota’s congressional delegation says they are deeply concerned by the V.A.’s decision in what they say was a flawed process.

Officials with the V.A. say they hope to renovate part of the Hot Springs Facility for outpatient services and dialysis.

Nesiba Reinstated By State Democrats

Jan 6, 2017

South Dakota Democrats are reinstating Senator-elect Reynold Nesiba after prosecutors say they’re dropping charges of sexual conduct without consent.

The Minnehaha County State’s Attorney says they found inconsistencies in evidence upon further investigation.

Minority Leader Senator Billie Sutton says the allegations against Nesiba are serious. Sutton says the Democratic caucus met this morning to

Former US Attorney Calls For Peltier Release

Jan 5, 2017

A former justice department official who supervised the case of Leonard Peltier’s appeal wants him released. The previous US Attorney wrote a letter to the White House in favor of the Native American activist.
President Barack Obama has until the end of his term to decide whether to issue a pardon.
Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement. He is serving two life sentences on a conviction for murdering two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
He has been in prison for over 40 years.

Rounds for Senate

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds says repealing the Affordable Care Act is lawmakers’ first priority this session of Congress.

He says Republicans are using a technical process to eliminate some funding with 51 Senate votes… instead of the usual 60 needed.

Rounds says less regulation gives people more options than the Affordable Care Act.  

South Dakota Fiscal Health In Good Position

Jan 3, 2017
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota is in a strong financial position going into the new year.
That’s the summary of the state’s annual end of the year financial report.
Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Finance and Management Jim Terwilliger points to the state’s recent triple-A rating and fully funded pension system…

SD Secretary of State

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says she supports creating a state government ethics commission.
Voters approved an ethics commission in November at the ballot box, along with other reforms that make up Initiated Measure 22. Lawmakers are currently challenging the measure in court.

 Krebs says she’s already drafted legislation establishing a state ethics commission for lawmakers to consider.

Forget Texas… Don’t Mess With South Dakota

Dec 30, 2016

The number of concealed carry permits reached an all-time high in South Dakota in December.
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says the number of permits issued beat the previous state record by well over 3,000.

She says the number of concealed carry permits issued during a single year has more than doubled since 2008.

Krebs says her office saw an increase in permit applications following tragedies that get national attention…

Courtesy SD Attorney General's Office

Attorney General Marty Jackley is requesting a South Dakota court take a closer look at the constitutionality of several provisions in Initiated Measure twenty two.

Among those provisions are the campaign finance and lobbying limits that are a part of the Anti-Corruption Act

Earlier in the month, Judge Mark Barnett issued a preliminary injunction against I-M 22. That put the entire measure on hold.

However, Jackley says some portions of I-M 22 are constitutional. He’s requesting Judge Barnett take a closer look at his injunction.

SD Electors Say They Will Vote For Trump

Dec 16, 2016

The South Dakota Electoral College voters say they won’t need intelligence briefings before casting their vote for President-elect Donald Trump.

A spokesperson for Governor Dennis Daugaard and Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels says they believe it’s their job to reflect the will of South Dakota voters.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Marty Jackley says he has no plans of receiving intelligence briefings into alleged Russian meddling with the American election system.

President-elect Donald Trump won the state of South Dakota 61 percent of the vote.

Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

Rural states like South Dakota rely heavily on federal funding.  Tribes also require federal dollars to maintain programs, roads, schools and even small business development.

With so many budgets and businesses hinging on the input of federal dollars.   There’s cautious optimism, and some uncertainty, among tribal and federal officials about the incoming Trump administration…

A group of representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture are touring the Pine Ridge Reservation as part of a Promise Zone initiative granted a few years ago.

A group of lawyers is pushing for President Barack Obama to issue clemency for Leonard Peltier.

Peltier is serving two life sentences for the convicted murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970’s.

In 1975, two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ron Williams, were killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation during a shootout near the town of Oglala.

Martin Garbus is a New York attorney and legal counsel for Leonard Peltier. He says Peltier was wrongfully convicted of the murders.

SDSMT President Meets Trump Transition Team

Dec 12, 2016

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology President Heather Wilson has been asked to meet with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team Monday. According to a statement from the university, she was invited to New York to talk about a senior national security position.

School of Mines President Heather Wilson traveled to New York City to discuss a position with the Trump administration. She was contacted by the President elect’s transition team late on Friday.

IM22 Receives Preliminary Injunction

Dec 8, 2016
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Circuit Court Judge Mark Barnett has issued a preliminary injunction against Initiated Measure 22.

That means requirements of the Anti-Corruption Act are placed on hold. Those include establishing an ethics commission, creating a publicly funded campaign finance system and revising state campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Proponents of Initiated Measure 22 say they are surprised at the circuit court judge’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction against measure.

Don Frankenfeld is with South Dakotans for Integrity. That group backs IM 22.

The State of South Dakota has filed a response to the Initiated Measure 22 lawsuit. SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger joins Dakota Midday with an update.


Seth Tupper of the Rapid City Journal and Dana Ferguson of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader discuss the week's political news, highlighted by yesterday's annual budget address by Governor Dennis Daugaard. Described by some as "bare bones," Daugaard's budget proposes small increases for education and state employees. The governor took time Tuesday to blast Initiated Measure 22. He's recommending that legislators not fund a major part of the measure which was passed by voters last month.

The Statehouse Podcast for December 7th, 2016 incudes excerpts and reaction following Governor Dennis Daugaards FY18 Budget Address.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard does not mince his words in his opposition to the voter approved Initiated Measure twenty two.

The governor spoke against IM 22 in his annual budget address
 Daugaard is refusing to fund the Democracy Credits that are part of the new law.  The law includes a publicly funded campaign finance system.
Democrats say that provision should remain priority funding.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Republicans have a super-majority in both chambers of the South Dakota state legislature. 

State Representative Spence Hawley is a Democrat – one of 16 total in the state legislature. He says Democrats have ideas that deserve consideration.

Governor Dennis Daugaard’s FY18 Budget Address

Dec 6, 2016
Kealey Bultena

Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a total budget of $4.6-billion for fiscal year 2018.   The state is seeing lower than expected growth in sales taxes due primarily to a downturn in the agriculture economy and lower tourism revenue over the last year.  Daugaard says the state can make up for a lower than expected growth in this fiscal year with a mix of one time funds and other cost saving measures.  He says the state remains in good economic standing thanks to an honestly balanced budget without any over-borrowing.


Rick Weiland was instrumental in bringing Initiated Measure 22 before South Dakota voters. Now, as state lawmakers and policy makers struggle to interpret and implement the measure, Weiland joins Dakota Midday to address the challenges and opportunities of the Measure in detail.


Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter talks about the upcoming budget address, the prospect of budget adjustments and a more modest budget in FY18.


Governor Dennis Daugaard joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to preview his FY18 budget address and the upcoming legislate session, and answer questions about Medicaid expansion, education reform, and budget shortfalls.

SDPB political reporter Lee Strubinger joins Dakota Midday to provide an update on the lawsuit over Initiated Measure 22. He discusses the controversy, the allegations and the will of South Dakota voters.

A sponsor of the transgender bathroom ballot measure says he’s bringing the issue to voters statewide after the legislature failed to pass a similar bill.

Jack Heyd says the voting public should have a say in 2018 if lawmakers again fail to pass a measure in the coming session.

A Box Elder resident, Heyd is behind a ballot measure that requires public school students to use rooms designated for the same biological sex. That means bathrooms, locker rooms and the like.

Two Cannabis Ballot Measures Could Reach 2018 Ballot

Nov 28, 2016

Marijuana activists in South Dakota say they will have ballot measures up for vote to legalize both medicinal and recreational marijuana during the 2018 election.

The move comes after the group New Direction South Dakota failed to get medical marijuana on the ballot this year.

In Colorado, Proposition 64 was passed in 2012 to regulate marijuana much like alcohol. The group New Approach South Dakota is basing their recreational use ballot measure off of that proposition.

Lawsuit Filed To Stop IM22

Nov 23, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Opponents of Initiated Measure 22 are challenging the constitutionality of the campaign reforms approved by voters earlier this month.

A group of state lawmakers, lobbyists, and citizens filed a lawsuit against IM22 in Hughes County Court Wednesday afternoon.

Supporters of IM 22 say this lawsuit goes against the will of voters.