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.

Inside the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Bill would tighten residency rules for hunting licenses

By: - January 16, 2024

A legislative committee in Pierre recommended the adoption of a bill Tuesday that would impose stricter criteria for resident hunting and fishing licenses. To qualify as a “resident” under existing state law, hunters and anglers must live in South Dakota for at least 90 consecutive days before applying. Additionally, they must not claim residency in […]

State Sen. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, speaks on the Senate floor during the 2023 legislative session at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Bill would raise cap on private school scholarships funded by insurance companies

By: - January 13, 2024

A bill beginning its journey through the Legislature would create more private school scholarships funded by insurance companies in exchange for tax relief.  The legislation would raise the annual tax-credit cap for insurance companies from $3.5 million to $5 million. The companies get state tax credits in exchange for donations to a private-school scholarship program for […]

The flags of the Standing Rock and Rosebud Sioux tribes, center, stand between the U.S. and South Dakota flags on Jan. 10, 2024, in the Capitol Rotunda in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem celebrates tribal flag display, but only two of nine participating so far

By: - January 10, 2024

PIERRE — Governor Kristi Noem celebrated a new, permanent display of Native American tribal flags in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, but only two of the nine tribes in the state have contributed flags so far. The two tribal nations whose flags now hang in the Capitol are the Rosebud and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.   […]

Governor Kristi Noem delivers her State of the State speech at the Capitol in Pierre on Jan. 9, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

In State of State, Noem offers few new proposals while reviewing her record

By: - January 9, 2024

PIERRE — Governor Kristi Noem recounted her administration’s achievements while offering few new proposals Tuesday during her 2024 State of the State address at the Capitol.  Noem organized the speech as a “Top Ten List of things we are doing here in South Dakota to ensure that Freedom Works Here.” The list highlighted her efforts […]

The state's three elected public utilities commissioners (from left), Gary Hanson, Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen, question a NorthWestern Energy lawyer on Jan. 9, 2024, in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Agreement with regulators reduces NorthWestern electric rate increase from 16% to 11%

By: - January 9, 2024

PIERRE — Electric rates for the average NorthWestern Energy residential customer in South Dakota will rise by $13.67 per month instead of $19.14 after state regulators approved a settlement with the company Tuesday. The state’s three elected regulators on the Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the settlement after a recommendation from their staff.  “We were […]

Nate Welch, former marketing director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, testifies before the Legislature's Executive Board on Jan. 8, 2024, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Former official: Politically connected firm was ‘obvious’ favorite for Noem ad campaign

By: - January 8, 2024

PIERRE — A former Noem administration employee told legislators Monday that a politically connected, out-of-state marketing firm seemed predestined for selection to carry out a state advertising campaign. “It was pretty obvious that was who we would be selecting at the end of this,” said Nate Welch. He was marketing director for the Governor’s Office […]

Carbon dioxide pipeline critic and farmer, Mark Lapka, of Leola, speaks during a rally at the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre on Jan. 8, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Hundreds of CO2 pipeline critics converge on Capitol ahead of legislative session

By: - January 8, 2024

PIERRE — About 200 landowners braved the winter weather Monday to descend on the state Capitol and demand greater property rights protection and local control in the face of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline. The rally occurred one day before Governor Kristi Noem is scheduled to kick off the 2024 legislative session with her State […]

Governor Kristi Noem rides, with American flag in hand, into the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup in Sioux Falls in September 2023. (Courtesy of Governor's Office)

‘Governor’s Cup’ rodeo among recipients of millions from public fund controlled by Noem

By: - December 28, 2023

In September, Gov. Kristi Noem carried the American flag on horseback into a Sioux Falls arena full of fans.  It was the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup, advertised as “the richest rodeo in South Dakota history,” with $1 million in prize money. Noem handed out awards, posed for photos with the winners, and shared the images […]

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

CO2 pipeline debate has resulted in divisions among ethanol proponents

By: - December 21, 2023

A carbon pipeline project aimed at reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from the Midwest ethanol industry is irritating some within that very industry. Summit Carbon Solutions aims to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol plants to an underground storage site in North Dakota. Its CEO, Lee Blank, recently emphasized the importance of the pipeline for the […]

The South Dakota Supreme Court chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Pennington County GOP wants full representation by start of legislative session

By: - December 20, 2023

Some Pennington County Republicans are voicing frustration over Gov. Kristi Noem’s decision to wait on a South Dakota Supreme Court opinion about conflicts of interest before filling two vacant seats in the state legislature. Meanwhile, the Governor’s Office says Noem’s hands are tied.  With 20 days left before lawmakers convene in Pierre to craft and […]

A deer in a field

Is it hunting? ‘Wild’ game increasingly raised in captivity for profit

By: - December 19, 2023

When Jeff Olson saw a photo of a massive buck deer recently – along with a message suggesting it was a record breaker – he was immediately skeptical. Olson is a Black Hills Sportsmen Club board member and a former state Game, Fish and Parks commissioner.  “Any real hunter knows wild deer don’t look like […]

Solar panels stand near the Pine Ridge Indian Health Service in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

‘Solar for All,’ but not South Dakota: State one of six not applying for grants

By: - December 18, 2023

South Dakota is one of six states that hasn’t applied for a federal grant program to support solar energy projects around the nation. The Solar for All initiative aims to lower utility costs and promote renewable energy. The state governments that have not applied for grants are all led by Republican governors: Florida, Idaho, Montana, […]