Author

Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar is a reporter based in Sioux Falls. Born and raised in Mitchell, he joined the Navy as a public affairs specialist after high school and then earned a degree from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining South Dakota Searchlight, Joshua worked for five years as a multimedia specialist and journalist with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

The South Dakota House of Representatives convenes on Feb. 5, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Out-of-staters will pay more to title a vehicle if governor signs bill passed by lawmakers

By: - February 22, 2024

Tens of thousands of out-of-staters title their vehicles in South Dakota, because it’s cheaper and easier.  “This has resulted in South Dakota becoming a haven for non-residents that choose to avoid higher taxes and fees, vehicle emissions inspections, or to get a title that their home state would not be able to issue to that […]

Elk roam Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. (Courtesy of the National Park Service)

Lawmakers wade into landowner-hunter relations with plan for special elk licenses

By: - February 21, 2024

There aren’t enough elk in the state for all the hunters who want to shoot them, yet in some areas, farmers and ranchers complain of too many elk trampling cornfields, breaking fences and eating livestock feed. The state Senate advanced legislation Wednesday that supporters say would ease both problems. But opponents say the bill could […]

Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, speaks on the House floor on Feb. 6, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Responding to abortion-rights effort, House approves bill allowing withdrawn petition signatures

By: - February 20, 2024

In response to a potential ballot measure that would reinstate abortion rights, the Republican-dominated South Dakota House of Representatives advanced a bill Tuesday in Pierre that would allow people to remove their signatures from ballot-question petitions.  The bill passed 59-9 — with the no votes coming from the chamber’s seven Democrats and two of its […]

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, speaks on the Senate floor on Jan. 16, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Fund controlled by governor may soon require legislative oversight

By: - February 20, 2024

Responding to recent controversy about a fund controlled exclusively by the Governor’s Office, a committee of lawmakers endorsed a bill Tuesday that would require greater oversight of the spending.  “I think this is a good attempt to respond to a concern that’s out there,” said Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown. The South Dakota Senate Commerce and […]

South Dakota State Treasurer Josh Haeder testifies before a committee of lawmakers in Pierre on Jan. 12, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislative committee endorses proposal for more control over state treasurer’s budget

By: - February 20, 2024

The state Treasurer’s Office may have to seek permission from the Legislature to increase the office’s budget for finding unclaimed property owners. The House Appropriations Committee voted 5-3 on Tuesday in Pierre to endorse legislation containing that requirement. “This bill is an important way of improving the legislative oversight in this area,” said the bill’s […]

Joe Kirby, head of South Dakota Open Primaries, signs a petition on April 19, 2023, in Sioux Falls that aims to allow all voters to cast a vote in the state's primary elections. Kirby is seated next to De Knudson of Sioux Falls, with Tom Dempster of Sioux Falls standing to her left. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Open primaries effort attracts big contributions from South Dakotans and Colorado group

By: - February 18, 2024

An ongoing effort to create open primary elections received some big contributions from South Dakotans in 2023, and also received a little more than half of its donations from a Colorado-based political action committee funded in large part by a Georgia billionaire, according to recently filed campaign finance reports. “Our open primaries effort in South […]

Dale Bartscher, executive director of South Dakota Right To Life, watches the state House of Representatives take a vote on Feb. 14, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislation would require Health Department to make video interpreting state’s abortion ban

By: - February 14, 2024

PIERRE — The state Department of Health would have to create a video “and other materials” interpreting the state’s abortion ban and an exception for the life of the mother, under a bill making its way through the Legislature. “We were asked by the people of this state to bring clarity to this,” the bill’s […]

Rep. Jessica Bahmuller, R-Alexandria, testifies before the state House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 13, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Blaze pink may become an official hunter safety color in South Dakota

By: - February 13, 2024

PIERRE — A committee of lawmakers endorsed a bill Tuesday that would add blaze pink as a legally recognized hunter safety color.  The South Dakota House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill in an 11-1 vote. It goes to the House of Representatives next. Sponsored by Rep. Jessica Bahmuller, R-Alexandria, the legislation aims […]

Rep. Carl Perry, R-Aberdeen, hears testimony during a House Commerce and Energy Committee hearing on Feb. 12, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Another attempt to block carbon pipelines from using eminent domain fails

By: - February 12, 2024

PIERRE — Another legislative attempt to stop a proposed carbon sequestration pipeline from using eminent domain failed Monday.  “It is up to us to defend South Dakotans’ property rights,” said Rep. Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, the prime sponsor of the bill.  The legislation was rejected by the House Commerce and Energy Committee in a 7-6 […]

Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, testifies before the House State Affairs Committee on Feb. 12, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Committee advances bill banning ‘obscene live conduct’ at universities

By: - February 12, 2024

PIERRE — A bill that would ban “obscene live conduct” at state universities raised concerns Monday among opponents who view it as a veiled attempt to target drag shows.   “Who decides what is considered obscene?” said Samantha Chapman, of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, in an emailed statement. “It’s impossible to define […]

The South Dakota House of Representatives convenes on Feb. 5, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislative Roundup: zombie bills, teacher pay, lithium tax, pipelines and more

By: , and - February 11, 2024

One of the effects of a faster start to this year’s legislative session in Pierre has been the prevalence of “zombie bills,” given new life after an initial defeat.  Rather than allowing the first week of session to pass with little action, as was often the case in years past, lawmakers jumped right into bill […]

Governor's Office of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Schilken testifies to the Legislature's Executive Board on Jan. 8, 2024, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Lawmakers slam uses of fund controlled by governor, but panel rejects reduction in revenue

By: - February 8, 2024

Lawmakers grilled a representative of the Governor’s Office about a fund controlled by the governor, but a legislative committee rejected a bill Thursday at the Capitol in Pierre that would have reduced the money flowing to the fund. The topic was the Future Fund, which draws revenue from a tax on employers. Sen. Brent Hoffman, […]