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.

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

Lawmakers heap competing tax cut bills on Appropriations Committee

By: - February 11, 2023

The House Taxation Committee wasn’t willing to kill two tax cut bills during its Thursday morning meeting. Instead, the committee was forced to send the two bills to House Appropriations. The House Appropriations Committee will wrestle with at least six bills proposing various tax cuts for South Dakotans in the coming weeks. “I’m sure House […]

Retired teachers, educators and community members lined the sidewalks outside The Rushmore Hotel in Rapid City on Feb. 10, 2023, protesting the proposed social studies standards ahead of the latest state Board of Education meeting. (Courtesy of South Dakota Education Association)

Opponents urge board to ‘go back to the drawing board’ for social studies standards

By: - February 10, 2023

The public had a third opportunity to speak to the South Dakota Board of Education about proposed changes to the state’s social studies standards on Friday at The Rushmore Hotel in Rapid City, and many used the opportunity to criticize the current draft. Wade Pogany, executive director of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, […]

A Publix Super Markets pharmacy manager retrieves a a medication. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Committee approves bill to lower costs for pharmacies

By: - February 8, 2023

Over 20 pharmacies have closed across South Dakota since 2018. And over 55% of the state’s counties either lack a pharmacy or only have one. The industry is facing a pharmacy technician shortage, and a looming pharmacist shortage. South Dakota pharmacists believe a bill that would provide more transparency in prescription drug pricing by pharmaceutical […]

Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt, R-Sioux Falls. (Courtesy of Taylor Rehfeldt)

Legislator tables own bill that would define ‘life of mother’ during abortion

By: - February 7, 2023

Taylor Rehfeldt wakes up afraid for herself, her unborn child and her family every morning. The registered nurse and Republican state representative from Sioux Falls is four months into a high risk pregnancy. She’s excited to welcome her third child, but also worried about current South Dakota law. After suffering a stroke in 2014, Rehfeldt […]

Tim Blakeley, manager of Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary, shows marijuana plant buds on May 11, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Bills regulating medical marijuana ‘pop-up’ clinics pass House committee

By: - February 7, 2023

Two bills regulating medical marijuana “pop-up clinics” passed the House Health and Human Services committee Tuesday morning at the Capitol in Pierre. The bills, one that would regulate pop-up clinic locations and another that would regulate advertisements and restrict telehealth meetings to obtain a medical marijuana card, passed through the committee 10-2 and 9-4, respectively. […]

Iley and Frank Petereit, both 92, pictured in their home in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Workforce woes, nursing home closures pressure sustainability of long term care

By: - February 4, 2023

Iley and Frank Petereit bought their burial plots two decades ago. Frank likes to think of himself as a planner, so he has most everything worked out for when they eventually, in his words, “kick the can.” The now 92-year-olds have a gravestone at the site, already etched with everything but the year of their […]

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

Legislative out-of-state travel reform bill fails on House floor

By: - February 1, 2023

The House of Representatives shut down a Senate bill that would alter who approves legislative travel on the state’s dime. SB 68 sailed through the Senate with a unanimous vote last week, but was met with overwhelming opposition on the House floor, with 60 votes against and eight votes in favor. The bill was prompted […]

The South Dakota Capitol grounds and lake in Pierre. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Committee approves bigger tax cut than Noem’s food tax repeal

By: - January 31, 2023

A bill that would reduce the state sales and use tax by half a percentage point unanimously passed the House Taxation Committee and will head to House Appropriations. House Bill 1137 is one of many this session proposing to reduce taxes, including one backed by Gov. Noem to eliminate the food sales tax. Noem touted […]

Legislators and guests wait for Gov. Kristi Noem to deliver her budget address on Dec. 6, 2022, in the House chamber at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

House sends Medicaid work requirement ballot measure to Senate

By: - January 31, 2023

A resolution that would put Medicaid back on the ballot in 2024 passed the House of Representatives and will head to the Senate. The House passed HJR 5004 with a 60-8 vote. The resolution would ask South Dakota voters to amend the state constitution to let the state impose work requirements on “able-bodied” people eligible […]

The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Committee passes resolution that would allow Medicaid work requirements

By: - January 30, 2023

South Dakotans may find Medicaid on the ballot again in 2024. The House State Affairs Committee passed a joint resolution Monday morning 11-2. It would ask South Dakota voters to amend the state constitution to let the state impose work requirements on “able-bodied” people eligible for expanded Medicaid. South Dakota voters approved a constitutional amendment […]

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, […]