Weekly Legislative Roundtable

Feb 5, 2020

In The Moment ... February 4, 2020 Show 746 Hour 1

In The Moment checks in with SDPB journalists from around the state for our weekly Statehouse roundtable. Seth Tupper joins from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio in Rapid City. Jackie Hendry is in the Kirby Family Studio in Sioux Falls. Stephanie Rissler connects from SDPB's studio on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion. And Lee Strubinger is located at the State Capitol building in Pierre.

Statehouse: Jan 22, 2020

Jan 22, 2020

The Statehouse podcast is SDPB Radio's legislative podcast that features a compilation of the top stories coming from Pierre. 

In today's edition, you will hear a report from the Dakota Political Junkies, how House Republicans are advancing a bill they say protects transgender children from undergoing irreversible procedures, and more.


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



The House Education Committee passes a bill banning instruction on gender dysphoria to the house floor, despite confusion on what the phrase means. House bill 1108 prohibits instruction on the issue to public school students from kindergarten to seventh grade. 

House Bill 1108 originally prohibited instruction on gender identity and expression. Later, the bill was amended to remove those phrases and instead prohibit instruction on gender dysphoria.

submitted photo

Carmen Dannenbring is a Democratic candidate for District 22 of the South Dakota House of Representatives.

Meet the Candidates is a series of interviews conducted by SDPB. We are asking each legislative candidate the same three questions: What would you like other South Dakotans to know about your districts and constituency? Discuss major issue or topic you want the Legislature to address? What legislation or solutions will you bring forward to deal with it?

By a single vote, a bill to allow medical marijuana in certain situations is moving to the full House.  The House Health and Human Services Committee denied an attempt to kill Senate Bill 171.

George Hendrickson of Sioux Falls has a son who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy.  He supports Senate Bill 171, which, if passed, allows the child to treat his disorder with marijuana.  Henrickson says it’s difficult to be admitted to clinical trials to test new, more traditional medications.

File photo by Victoria Wicks

In a move one state senator described as “sneaky,” the Senate Health and Human Services Committee made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a bill on Monday. The committee was asked to reconsider House Bill 1155, regulating responses to prenatal Down syndrome diagnoses. Part of that bill puts obligations on doctors performing abortions. As SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reports, the bill was not posted on the agenda, and apparently some committee members hadn’t been told that it was up for discussion.

The South Dakota Speaker of the House of Representatives has terminated a House secretary for the Democratic Caucus. Democrats are frustrated with Speaker Dean Wink’s decision and view it as a political move to diminish democrat views in the state legislature. 

Teachers Support Common Core

Jan 16, 2015

South Dakota teachers from across the state came to Pierre Thursday to receive awards and engage with lawmakers. One issue of concern for many teachers who came to the capital is the continuance of Common Core Standards. Last year many lawmakers voted to do away with Common Core standards completely.

Ann Noyes  is a 5th grade elementary teacher in Pierre. She supports the Common Core standards and says they have made her a better teacher.

Teacher Shortage a Concern for South Dakota Teachers

Jan 16, 2015

Governor Dennis Daugaard recognized the achievements of South Dakota teachers Thursday. Teachers from across the state not only came to receive awards but also to engage with lawmakers. 

Laurie Wagner is a high school math teacher in Webster South Dakota and is a Teacher of the Year regional award winner. Wagner is taking this opportunity to show lawmakers what teachers are doing in the classroom. One issue she hopes lawmakers understand is the need to address South Dakota’s impending teacher shortage.

SD Department of Education Outlines Goals

Jan 16, 2015

South Dakota’s Secretary of Education says overall South Dakota students are doing well but there are few areas that could improve. The Department of Education provided a plan to lawmakers outlining 4 major goals to help students become ready for college and the workforce when they leave K-12.

An official with the Governor’s office says he’s satisfied with the progress of initiatives implemented under the Public Safety Improvement Act. The act was passed in 2013 in response to South Dakota’s growing prison population.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants the Department of Health to have better authority to contain infectious diseases like Ebola and Measles or even the flu.  He says current contagious disease control statutes are vague and only specifically address tuberculosis.

Daugaard Addresses Teacher Shortage

Jan 13, 2015

Democrats in the South Dakota Legislature say they wanted to hear more about teacher shortage in the governor’s state of the state address on Tuesday.  The governor responds by saying it already is part of his work force development plan.  

Governor Daugaard says his work force plan does not discriminate against teachers.  He says if there is a shortage in that area then the opportunity scholarship will help pay for tuition for students filling the shortage.

Governor Tells Lawmakers To Fix Roads And Bridges

Jan 13, 2015

The 20-15 South Dakota Legislative Session began with the annual State of the State Address today (Tuesday).  Governor Dennis Daugaard says his top priority is working on the state’s roads and bridges.  

After the pleasantries and welcome of new lawmakers to their first session, Governor Daugaard didn’t mince any words with his goals for the state.

Governor Tells Lawmakers Rails Matter

Jan 13, 2015

Governor Dennis Daugaard’s State of the State Address focused on improving South Dakota’s transportation system.  Much of that time was spent on funding proposals to improve the state’s roads and bridges.  But Daugaard says another way to save excessive wear on highways is to utilize rail.

The House Education Committee took nearly an hour to discuss and vote on a single bill today/Wednesday.  Members heard about Senate Bill 1-82, which allocates 300 thousand dollars for students to take dual credit courses.  Successful completion gives students college credits at a reduced cost.  Tony Venheuzen with the Governor’s Office told the committee there’s one major change to the bill from current legislation.

SB128 Sparks LGBT Rally.

Feb 10, 2014

A bill before the state legislature is sparking backlash from those who support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community.  
Senate Bill 128 seeks to allow business owners to refuse service to L.G.B.T. individuals without fear of a lawsuit.  Proponents say it’s a freedom of speech issue to protect the rights of business owners allowing them to act in accordance with their faith.   Those against the measure call it blatant unconstitutional discrimination.   

Bill Targets Sex Traffickers

Feb 6, 2014

One piece of legislation intended to combat sex trafficking in South Dakota cleared its first legislative hurdle in Pierre.  Senate Bill 25 allows law enforcement to confiscate money and property used in sex trafficking and child pornography cases.    Attorney General Marty Jackley is backing the legislation.   He says it's similar to the system used in drug enforcement.

State of South Dakota


The House State Affairs committee heard about an hour of testimony before advancing House Bill 10-93. The measure sets the start of an academic year to no earlier than the final Monday in August.

Lion Kill Bill Passes Senate

Jan 30, 2014

A bill that expands the legal definition for when it’s OK to shoot a Mountain Lion is halfway through the State Legislature.

The State Senate gave approval to a measure that makes it OK to shoot a lion if a person feels a reasonable threat from an animal. 

Proponents argue the current law is too narrow and only allows someone shoot a big cat if the animals is threatening them or their livestock.

A Busy Day For House Education Committee

Jan 29, 2014

South Dakota lawmakers are considering changes to the state aid to education formula. In his budget proposal Governor Dennis Daugaard asks for a three percent increase for education. That’s nearly twice what is required by law. Today, the House Education Committee hears testimony on why the figure should go even higher.


"You heard the good senator say his finest hours were spent here in House Ed—I assure you my message will not be one of your finest hours. Give me five minutes tops.”

South Dakota State Legislature

The State Senate Judiciary Commitee has approved a measure to delay the arrests of some individuals with warrants who are suspected of further non-violent crimes. Proponents of the measure say it will reduce trauma on children already in difficult situations.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Gary Ellenbolt reports.

University Students May Get Rights to Sue

Jan 23, 2014

The South Dakota House supports a measure that allows university students to take some grievances to court.

The bill doesn’t allow students to sue a professor over grades, but it does give student the right to begin litigation against a university in residency disputes and disciplinary actions.

The Senate Local Government killed a measure dealing with outside election money. South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant brought the bill to the committee, at the request of the State Elections Board.  

Gant says members are trying to keep outside groups from dictating where polling places and other items are placed. Gant says it doesn’t stop groups from encouraging all residents to vote.

State Senate Rejects Teacher Shortage Resolution

Jan 21, 2014

The State Senate rejected a resolution recognizing a connection between the teacher shortage in South Dakota and low teacher pay.    A resolution expresses the intent of lawmakers, it is not binding law.  

Republican State Senator Larry Senator Larry Tidemann from Brookings supports the measure.

“We do have a teacher shortage.   When we look at the time when the baby-boomers are going to retire we need to replenish those folks.   What can we do about it?   We can do nothing, or first you have to recognize there is a problem, there is an issue,” says Tidemann. 

After two amendments, the House Health and Human Services Committee advanced a bill to change statutes regarding state nursing homes.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Gary Ellenbolt reports members won’t change requirements for administrators.

Medicaid Expansion Debate Set For Pierre

Jan 17, 2014

Lawmakers in Pierre are grappling with the idea of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Those in favor of expansion say it would be foolish for South Dakota to turn down the federal government’s offer to give Health Coverage to about 48-thousand South Dakota residents who could otherwise not afford it.   
But as SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports opponents say they don’t trust the Federal Government’s ability to follow-through for the long term and don’t want South Dakota stuck with the bill.

          South Dakota Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist says the Federal Omnibus Budget that passed Congress Thursday is good for South Dakota.  Bergquist spoke before the Senate Transportation Committee today (Friday). But he says the Federal Highway Trust Fund may be out of money by September. 


Daugaard Doubts Audits Will Find Wrongdoing

Jan 16, 2014

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he believes the audits of the state’s EB-5 program and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will not turn up any major wrongdoing

The EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to acquire visas when they invest a half million dollars in a rural area.   The program was used in conjunction with the GOED to fund the now bankrupt Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen.  

Chief Justice Heaps Praise On Reform Efforts

Jan 15, 2014

The Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court praises state lawmakers for passage of broad criminal justice reforms. Chief Justice David Gilbertson made his comments during the annual State of the Judiciary Address to lawmakers gathered in Pierre.