Senator Troy Heinert


The Senate Education Committee unanimously passes a bill to allow for the creation of community-based schools centered on Native American language and culture curriculum.

The approval comes after a lengthy amendment process to bring the Governor’s office and Department of Education on board.

Governor Noem is partnering with the South Dakota Arts Council to host the first South Dakota Governor’s Student Art Competition.

The statewide visual arts competition is intended to encourage creativity among the state’s students.

Governor Noem wants young artists to pursue their talents in South Dakota—a state famous for public art from Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse to the Faulkton grain elevator murals. Over the next few months, the South Dakota Arts Council will develop competition guidelines and send them to schools.

A bill to create a missing person’s clearinghouse is moving to the House after passing unanimously in the Senate. The bill is the result of legislative action last year calling on the Division of Criminal Investigations and attorney general to collaborate in response to high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The Senate Education Committee ends the legislative session with a debate on the merit of certain resolutions and the federal Department of Education. A resolution calling for South Dakota’s congressional delegation to support dissolving the department moves to the senate floor without a recommendation. 

Senator Stace Nelson is the resolution’s prime sponsor. He tells the committee this is an issue Republicans have pursued on a national scale since the Department of Education was established in 1979.


The senate education committee effectively tables a bill prohibiting students who are in the country illegally from attending public universities. Senate Bill 103 is sent to the 41st day after more than an hour and a half of testimonies and discussion. 

Opponents of the bill argue the Board of Regents lacks power and resources to uphold federal immigration law. Legal counsel for the Board of Regents also states the system is not considered complicit in harboring criminals under federal statute.

Protest Bill Heads To Governor With Emergency Clause

Mar 11, 2017

A bill that expands the governor’s ability to respond to potential protests has passed through the legislature with an emergency clause.

That’s what kept the bill from reaching the governor’s desk, until now.

Senate bill 176 allows the governor to prohibit no more than 20 people on school and public land, allow outside council for criminal defense and stiffens penalties to prevent protestors from blocking highways and occupying highway right of ways.