SD politics

Statehouse: Feb 20

Feb 20, 2020

The Statehouse podcast is SDPB Radio's legislative podcast that features a compilation of the top stories coming from Pierre. Today you'll hear about Senate Bill 6, and why SD lawmakers are keeping ingestion of a controlled substance a felony.



  Politics and public policy reporting is supported by The Center for Western Studies at Augustana University

Daschle Forms Rural Progressive Policy Organization

Apr 17, 2018

Former South Dakota Democratic US Senator Tom Daschle is joining other prominent national democrats to form a group that advocates for progressive policies in rural state’s like South Dakota.

Daschle says they’re just in the beginning stage, but the group hopes to rebuild the two-party system in rural America.

Former Senator Daschle is working alongside former USDA Secretary and Governor Tom Vilsack and US Senator Mary Landrieu to organize rural progressives ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

The Yankton Sioux Tribal chairman says understanding the misunderstanding between native and non-native cultures is a first step in closing the gap between the two. Robert Flying Hawk addressed the South Dakota legislature Thursday during the second State of the Tribes address.

Flying Hawk calls for unity between state government and the tribes. He says teaching more Native American history will help bridge the cultural divide.

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.

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

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…

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.

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.

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.

Transgender Bathroom Bill Could Return On 2018 Ballot

Nov 22, 2016
Chynna Lockett / SDPB

A version of the transgender bathroom bill that was vetoed by Governor Dennis Daugaard earlier this year could make its way to the 2018 ballot for a public vote.

A group is pushing for enough signatures to bring the issue of transgender students and bathroom usage to voters statewide.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says supporters are about to start circulating petitions for measure that requires transgender students use the bathroom corresponding with their assigned sex at birth.

Thune And Rounds Outline Upcoming Congressional Session

Nov 17, 2016

South Dakota’s congressional leadership is back in Washington D.C. following a recess during the campaign season.

Earlier this week Senator John Thune was re-elected as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.  This puts Thune in the top three of the Republican leadership.

Thune says the GOP has a chance to deliver on Republican promises of economic and national security.

Thune says many concerns expressed by state residents sync up with what the new congress and President-elect Donald Trump want to accomplish.

Jackley Hints Heavily At Run For Governor

Nov 16, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

By all indications Attorney General Marty Jackley is getting ready to run for governor.
While no formal announcement has been made, Jackley has formed a statewide Candidate committee called “Marty Jackley for Governor.”
The move comes a day after Congresswoman Kristi Noem announced her bid for the state’s highest office.
Jason Glodt, the state director of the campaign for Marsy’s Law, which added a crime victim’s bill of rights to the state constitution, has been tapped as the treasurer of the campaign.

SD Secretary of State

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says South Dakota voters broke record numbers this year.

She says the number of registered voters reached an all-time high, when compared to previous election years in South Dakota.

Krebs says the total election night turn out came in just under 70 percent.

Dusty Johnson Says He’s Running For Congress In 2018

Nov 16, 2016

Dusty Johnson will run for South Dakota’s lone congressional seat in 2018.

Noem Announces Run For Governor

Nov 14, 2016
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem

Congresswoman Kristi Noem is announcing her bid for governor in 2018.

The announcement comes just after Noem was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Noem’s announcement ends speculation about her run for the state’s highest office.

Last week, State Representative Mark Mickelson announced he won’t run for governor.

If elected, Noem would be South Dakota’s first female governor.

Mickelson Says He’s Not Running For Governor In 2018

Nov 10, 2016
Sd Legislature

State Representative Mark Mickelson says he won’t run for governor in 2018.

His announcement ends speculation that he’d be a GOP contender for the state’s highest office.

Mickelson made the announcement yesterday/Thursday.  He says running for governor takes 100 percent commitment. Mickelson says that’s not in the cards for him and his family at this time.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

With days left before the election, various political parties and factions are vying to get their message out.

Front and center are the issue of tax increases and government accountability.

Lance Russel signs a pledge against tax increases next to the Ronald Reagan statue in Downtown Rapid City Thursday afternoon. Seven legislative candidates aligned with the group South Dakota Citizens for Liberty signed the pledge to abstain from increasing taxes during Governor Dennis Daugaard’s administration.  

Spearfish Canyon Tours

UPDATE: Black Hills National Forest Service supervisor Mark Van Every issued the following statement in regards to earlier claims the state never reached out to the forest service about Spearfish Canyon.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Two candidates for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives squared off during the Sioux Falls Rotary debate.
The hour long debate touched on many issues facing the country, including national security, the economy, and education. The conversation also turned to South Dakota’s number one industry… agriculture.
Democratic challenger Paula Hawks has spent much of the campaign for U.S. House criticizing Representative Kristi Noem’s move from the House Agriculture committee to the Ways and Means Committee.

Dakota Midday: Indepth Look At Amendment T

Oct 5, 2016
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

In November voters get a chance to decide on Amendment T.  It establishes an independent commission to draw legislative districts.

The state legislature currently redraws the districts every ten years.   Amendment T proponents says that creates a conflict of interest and leads to gerrymandering. Opponents of the amendment say districts are already drawn fairly.

If you’re looking for an earful on how legislative districts are drawn in the state.. former State Senator Frank Kloucek will oblige.

Woster Brothers Share Stories From Their Careers

Oct 1, 2016
Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

Two of the state’s longest working journalists, and brothers, Terry and Kevin Woster shared behind-the-scenes stories from their careers.

In Rapid City Friday night, they spoke about the Wounded Knee occupation, Governor Bill Janklow, and the ins and outs of the state legislature over the last four decades.


Journalism has changed since both Kevin and Terry Woster first began their careers.

Sd Legislature

Governor Dennis Daugaard is appointing former state Representative David Lust of Rapid City to fill the seat of a state lawmaker who passed away last month.

The late Representative Dan Dryden’s term ends this year and he’s technically still up for re-election.

Former state Representative David Lust was first elected to the legislature in 2007. He also served as the house majority leader from 2011 to 2015. He was then term limited.

Early Voting Starts Friday

Sep 22, 2016
Kent Osborne / SDPB

Absentee voting opens Friday across the state. Registered voters can cast their early ballot ahead of the November 8 general election.

One Auditor in the state says absentee ballot numbers are up, given the presidential election.

Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson says her office has received about 4,000 early voting ballot requests this year. She says absentee voting numbers are about 25 percent higher than the 2008 election, when Barack Obama was first elected.

Pearson says about a quarter of registered voters in Pennington county will vote early.

Drop In Cattle Prices Hurting South Dakota Ranchers

Sep 21, 2016

South Dakota ranchers and cattle feeders are feeling the pinch as sale prices are falling.

Some in the industry blame country of origin labeling and foreign beef imports, but others say a number of factors can contribute to a drop in prices.

Recent drops in the market mean some ranchers are losing as much as 400 dollars per-head.

Energy and spirits are low that the Mitchell Livestock Auction house.

Officials in sale barns like this say cattle prices are hitting lows not experienced since 2009. This drop comes after a spike in late 2014.