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.

General Motors Co. announced plans to double revenue by 2030 with new battery-electric vehicles and hopes to surpass leading electric carmaker Tesla with the release of a new $30,000 electric SUV. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bill to tax lithium as an energy mineral passes House

By: - January 26, 2023

PIERRE – The South Dakota House of Representatives sent a bill classifying lithium as an energy mineral to the Senate on Thursday.  If passed, the re-classification would subject the high-demand mineral, used to power cell phones, laptops and electric vehicles, to the state’s severance tax. The severance tax is imposed on the extraction of natural […]

A sign displays the names of the state's three elected public utilities commissioners outside of their Pierre office in January 2023. (South Dakota Searchlight/Joshua Haiar)

Some utilities charge customers for donations and events, with regulator approval

By: - January 25, 2023

Last October, hundreds of politicians and business leaders from all over the country gathered to be wined, dined and guided into eastern South Dakota grasslands for a pheasant hunt with the governor.  “There’s a lot of schmoozing that goes on,” said John Cooper, a former secretary of Game, Fish and Parks who’s attended 15 of […]

Officials: Cause of Huron dam fish die-off unclear

By: - January 24, 2023

A recently completed James River dam project was the site of a massive fish die-off in Huron last week, but state officials say the cause of the deaths is unclear. A state official says they are monitoring the situation on the ground and may restock the affected area of the river. The fish kill was […]

A farmer harvests corn near Slater, Iowa. on Oct. 17, 2020.

Bill to protect ag operations from nuisance lawsuits heads to the House

By: - January 24, 2023

A bill to make it more difficult to sue agricultural operations earned the unanimous support of the state House Ag and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.  Some opponents called the legislation a move to eliminate nuisance lawsuits all but entirely.  House Bill 1090, introduced by Rep. James Wangsness, R-Miller, restricts the right to file nuisance […]

State Sens. Lee Schoenbeck, left, R-Watertown, and Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, attend a committee hearing during the 2023 legislative session. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Bill to change the makeup of state Tribal Relations Committee passes Senate

By: - January 23, 2023

PIERRE—A bill that would change the bipartisan makeup of the state’s Tribal Relations Committee passed through the Senate 27-7 on Monday and now heads to the House.  The bill, introduced by Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R- Watertown, would strike a requirement for balance between Democrats and Republicans on the committee. Opponents argue that the move will […]

Hunter Roberts, secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, briefs the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 19, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

State needs more incentives to keep ag waste out of water, regulator says

By: - January 19, 2023

PIERRE — The lack of any sign-ups for a multimillion-dollar water quality program is evidence that agricultural operations need more incentives to keep waste out of waterways, according to the leader of the state’s environmental regulatory agency.  Hunter Roberts is the secretary of the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He briefed the House […]

Sen. Al Novstrup hears from Monica Meyer of Aberdeen during a gathering Jan. 18, 2023, at the Capitol where landowners and others pushed for tighter restrictions on eminent domain. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Landowners congregate in Capitol to push for tighter restrictions on eminent domain

By: - January 18, 2023

PIERRE – Landowners and concerned citizens from around the state congregated Wednesday in the Capitol to advocate for protection from compulsory land acquisition, or eminent domain, and to support a bill limiting the practice. They criticized three projects planned in the state — two carbon capture pipelines and a pumped storage project — all of […]

Lobbyist Jeremiah Murphy testifies in favor of a bill that would add eight conditions to those that qualify for a medical marijuana card during a hearing Jan. 18, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Bill would add conditions for medical marijuana, but also repeal public process

By: - January 18, 2023

PIERRE — A bill in the Legislature would add eight conditions to those that qualify a patient for a medical marijuana card, but the bill would also remove a public process to add more conditions to the list. A legislative committee approved the bill Wednesday on a 6-1 vote and sent it to the full […]

A map of Summit Carbon Solution's proposed carbon-capture pipeline. (Courtesy of Summit Carbon Solutions)

Regulators reject landowners’ attempt to stop carbon pipeline

By: - January 17, 2023

State regulators on Tuesday denied an effort by some landowners to halt a company’s request to build a carbon capture pipeline.  The company did not meet the legal deadline for reaching out to some landowners that the pipeline project will impact, according to Brian Jorde, an attorney representing landowners against the project. State law requires […]

Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling addresses the Legislature's House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 17, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Public access programs enroll a record amount of private land

By: - January 17, 2023

PIERRE — A record 1.48 million acres of private land are enrolled in public access programs around the state, according to the state’s Game, Fish and Parks secretary.  “We’ve never had that number that high before and it’s a compliment to the efforts from our teams up there working with producers, building relationships,” said Kevin […]

Rep. Bethany Soye, R-Sioux Falls, speaks on Jan. 17, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre about a bill she introduced to ban some forms of health care for transgender youth. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

New bill would ban several forms of transgender health care for youth

By: - January 17, 2023

PIERRE – A group of South Dakota Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit physicians from providing some services to transgender youth. A Democratic legislator and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota immediately condemned the bill, which the ACLU labeled as “discriminatory.” Rep. Bethany Soye, R-Sioux Falls, introduced the “Help Not Harm […]

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Peter Lengkeek delivers the annual State of the Tribes address to lawmakers on Jan. 12, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Tribal chairman calls for collaboration; Noem spokesman responds with criticism

By: and - January 12, 2023

UPDATED 7:30 p.m. Central, 1/12/23 PIERRE — A tribal chairman said Thursday that better collaboration is needed among tribal and state officials on deadly storms, and Gov. Kristi Noem’s spokesman responded by describing that assertion and others as a “message of division” that perpetuated “false narratives.” Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Peter Lengkeek delivered the […]