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.

(John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Drivers could get opportunity to support wildlife habitat with license plates

By: - February 1, 2024

PIERRE — South Dakotans may soon be able to purchase a special license plate to support the state’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts. The yet-to-be-designed plates would cost an as-yet undetermined fee that would go to the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The funds would be used to help improve everything from wetlands in the northeast […]

A kayaker explored Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Public-private campground dispute flares again in debate over failed bill

By: - February 1, 2024

PIERRE — A bill seeking to restrict the expansion of state campgrounds was defeated Thursday following spirited testimony from a campground owner who said the legislation was about “broken trust.” The legislation aimed to amend state law to prevent new state campgrounds or additional state camping sites from being built without the approval of legislators.  […]

Gov. Kristi Noem shakes hands with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 21, 2023, near the nation's southern border. Also pictured, from left, are Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska. (Courtesy of Gov. Noem's office)

Texas hasn’t repaid South Dakota for help at the border

By: and - January 30, 2024

Texas has not repaid South Dakota for assistance at the Texas-Mexico border even though similar mutual-aid agreements between South Dakota and other states have typically involved reimbursement, according to legislators and state officials. That revelation came Tuesday, one day before Governor Kristi Noem was scheduled to address a joint session of the Legislature about what […]

An ethanol plant near Aberdeen. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Poet’s ethanol plants shift to remaining carbon dioxide pipeline proposal

By: - January 29, 2024

An ethanol production company headquartered in Sioux Falls announced Monday it will partner with the remaining company looking to build a carbon capture pipeline in South Dakota. Poet will collaborate with Summit Carbon Solutions to implement carbon capture technology at 17 Poet ethanol plants, including five in South Dakota and 12 in Iowa. The South […]

The sun sets behind the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre on Dec. 5, 2023 (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislative Roundup: Picking up the pace in Pierre

By: , and - January 28, 2024

Lawmakers arrived in Pierre for the 99th session of the South Dakota Legislature earlier this month with an apparent will to challenge assumptions about the sluggish speed of government. Things are moving more quickly, as columnist Dana Hess points out – and celebrates – in his latest South Dakota Searchlight commentary. We can look to […]

State Treasurer Josh Haeder sits at his desk in Pierre in January 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Staking claims on unclaimed property: $175 million haul sparks budget battle

By: - January 26, 2024

Governor Kristi Noem said during her recent budget address that she wants the state to return more unclaimed property to its rightful owners. She could start by claiming her own. She’s one of more than 2 million people with unclaimed money or property held by the state of South Dakota, according to the state’s searchable […]

Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University, briefs state lawmakers about quantum computing on Jan 23, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

$6 million quantum computing center earns first legislative endorsement

By: - January 25, 2024

PIERRE — A committee of lawmakers endorsed a bill Thursday aimed at advancing the state’s position in the burgeoning field of quantum computing.  The South Dakota Senate Education Committee approved the bill 6-0 with one member excused and sent it to the Legislature’s budget committee for further deliberation. Introduced at the behest of the Board […]

State Rep. Tony Venhuizen, R-Sioux Falls, participates in a hearing Jan. 12, 2024, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Medicaid work requirement authorization takes first step toward the ballot

By: - January 24, 2024

PIERRE — South Dakota legislators took the first step Wednesday toward asking voters for the authority to impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-1 to send the resolution to the full Senate. If passed by that body and the House of Representatives, the measure will be placed on […]

South Dakota Partners in Education Executive Director Robert Satter testifies before the state House Education Committee on Jan. 24, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Lawmaker lacks proof for claim that private school scholarships save millions for state

By: - January 24, 2024

PIERRE — A legislator lacked evidence Wednesday for his claim that private school scholarships funded by tax credits save millions of dollars for state government. The scholarship program is South Dakota Partners in Education. It gives insurance companies credits against state taxes on their premiums, equal to the amount of their donations to the program […]

State Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, asks questions during a House Taxation Committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Phone surcharge would increase to support 911 under bill advancing in Legislature

By: - January 23, 2024

PIERRE — A committee of state lawmakers endorsed a bill Tuesday to increase funding for 911 call centers by raising phone customers’ monthly surcharge from $1.25 to $2 per line.  The House Taxation Committee approved the bill 9-4, sending it to the full House of Representatives.  The increase would be the first since 2012. Troy […]

State Sen. Casey Crabtree, R-Madison, speaks on the Senate floor on Jan. 22, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Fuel tax refund to incentivize higher ethanol blends passes state Senate

By: - January 22, 2024

PIERRE — A bill to incentivize the sale of more ethanol passed through the state Senate on Monday with 33 yes votes and no opposition.  The legislation outlines a new tax refund that would be in effect from 2025 to 2030. It would allow gas stations to claim a fuel tax refund of up to […]

Rep. Kadyn Wittman, D- Sioux Falls, testifies before the state House Education Committee on Jan. 22, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

State lawmakers reject expansion of free school meals

By: - January 22, 2024

PIERRE — Lawmakers narrowly rejected a bill Monday that would have given more low-income students free school meals. The state House Education Committee voted 8-7 to defeat the legislation. “These are South Dakota’s most vulnerable families and kids,” the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Kadyn Wittman, D-Sioux Falls, told the committee. She said 7,580 South Dakota […]