Author

Makenzie Huber

Makenzie Huber

Makenzie Huber is a lifelong South Dakotan whose work has won national and regional awards. She's spent five years as a journalist with experience reporting on workforce, development and business issues within the state.

Active Generations in Sioux Falls is one of a few adult day services contracted with the state. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Lawmaker seeks $5 million to expand adult day centers

By: - January 28, 2023

South Dakota had 30 state-registered adult day centers scattered across the state at one point. The services provided low cost programming, care and supervision during the day for people who were elderly or disabled, and let them return to their homes and families at night. Now, there are only three left: one in Rapid City, […]

Kimberlee Browne watches as metal is sheared off the top of a metal block at Lake Area Technical College's precision machining lab in Watertown on Jan. 20, 2023. Through a new training program, Brown earned a certificate in machining while she was incarcerated at the Women's Prison. (J.T. Fey/for South Dakota Searchlight)

From prison to a payroll: Program trains inmates as machinists

By: - January 27, 2023

Kimberlee Browne thought she’d die on the streets. The 40-year-old mother of six and former educator has been in and out of the South Dakota prison system twice since 2012. Each time she was released, something would happen to make her lose her confidence and faith; she’d fall back into bad habits and be arrested, […]

Gov. Kristi Noem receives applause in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre during her 2023 State of the State Address. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Noem-backed food tax cut clears first committee hearing

By: - January 26, 2023

PIERRE – A tax cut touted by Gov. Kristi Noem as the largest in state history cleared its first legislative hurdle Thursday. House Bill 1075 would eliminate the state’s 4.5% tax on food sales. South Dakota is one of just three states with such a tax. The others are Alabama and Mississippi. The tax cut […]

Flags from various tribal governments on display near Cannonball, ND in 2016. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SD tribes would lose millions for tribal government if state eliminates food sales tax

By: - January 26, 2023

PIERRE – A food sales tax cut that passed a House panel Thursday morning has raised concerns for South Dakota’s nine tribal governments. An official with the Bureau of Finance and Management estimated that the tribes would lose about $2 million in funding for tribal government operations if the food tax is eliminated, but admitted […]

Bill legalizing fentanyl testing strips passes House committee

By: - January 25, 2023

A bill that would decriminalize fentanyl test strips in South Dakota passed the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday with a 11-2 vote. Fentanyl test strips are small bits of paper that can detect the presence of the synthetic opioid, which is sometimes laced with other drugs and has a high mortality rate. Under current law, the […]

State Rep. Kadyn Wittman, D-Sioux Falls, on the House floor during the 2023 legislative session. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Bipartisan bill would make state IDs free for low income South Dakotans

By: - January 25, 2023

PIERRE – State identifications cards are needed to get a job, rent an apartment and vote in South Dakota. Even library cards are out of reach without an ID. The wallet-sized card, which resembles a driver’s license, costs $28 in South Dakota. Rep. Kadyn Wittman, D-Sioux Falls, wants to make state IDs free for low […]

A person climbs the stairs of the South Dakota Capitol. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Panel backs proposal to require law enforcement to inform schools of suspected criminal activity by students

By: - January 24, 2023

A Senate panel endorsed a bill that would require law enforcement to inform school officials when a student is suspected of violating the law. Current law says officers “may” report their suspicions to school officials. Opponents and several members of the juvenile justice summer study committee said most school districts already communicate well with law […]

The South Dakota State Capital, pictured on Nov. 2, 2022.

Bill to repeal annual intellectual diversity report by SD colleges passes committee

By: - January 24, 2023

A bill that would remove a requirement for the South Dakota Board of Regents to produce an annual intellectual diversity report passed the Senate Education Committee 5-2 on Tuesday. Senate Bill 45, introduced by Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, would backtrack a requirement set by the 2019 intellectual diversity law. The 2019 bill also ordered public […]

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

‘Center for American Exceptionalism’ gets first committee endorsement

By: - January 23, 2023

A House panel endorsed a bill that would create a Center for American Exceptionalism at Black Hills State University on Monday. House Bill 1070, introduced by Rep. Scott Odenbach, R-Spearfish,passed through the House Education Committee on a 9-6 vote and now heads to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill would allocate $150,000 for the center, […]

Lewis Drug pharmacists Graham Protexter and Sara Hahn prepare prescriptions on Jan. 12, 2023, at a store on South Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Pharmacist and technician shortage threatens access to health care

By: - January 21, 2023

When Jessica Strobl’s 87-year-old grandmother needed to fill an antibiotic prescription last fall, her regular Black Hills area pharmacy was closed. She returned the next day to fill the prescription, but it was closed again. During that time, her infection worsened — enough to send her to the emergency room. While Strobl’s grandmother has since […]

The South Dakota Capitol is reflected in Capitol Lake. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Bill to complicate county seat relocations limps out of committee

By: - January 20, 2023

A bill that would make it more difficult to move a county seat to another city has been stripped down by committee amendments but will move on to the Senate floor. Senate Bill 56, as originally introduced, would have made numerous changes to the state law (SDCL 7-6) governing the relocation of a county seat, […]

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

Bill proposes task force to study new criminal justice approach for ‘emerging adults’

By: - January 18, 2023

Young adults, ages 18 to 25, represent roughly 10% of South Dakota’s population but 25% of arrests, according to Greg Sattizahn, state court administrator with the Unified Judicial System. Those “emerging adults” are the most incarcerated group based on penitentiary numbers and are the most likely group of state prisoners to recidivate, or return to […]