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Republican presidential candidates, from left, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, participate in the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 27, 2023, in Simi Valley, California. Seven presidential hopefuls squared off in the debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump declined again to participate. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

GOP presidential hopefuls tear into each other and absent Trump at second debate

BY: and - September 27, 2023

The candidates polling from second to eighth in the race for the Republican nomination for president largely agreed on policy, fought over their records and took aim at former President Donald Trump at their second debate of the year Wednesday night. Trump, who leads polls of the race by substantial margins, skipped the event at […]

The South Dakota Secretary of State's Office in Pierre. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Post-election audit rules spark debate on voter intent

BY: - September 27, 2023

The perceived daylight between the terms “manual count” and “hand count” proved contentious during discussions of post-election audit rules that inched closer to implementation on Wednesday in Pierre. The rules represent South Dakota’s first foray into post-election audits, which are routinely done in most states. Creating such an audit process was a key campaign issue […]

Kevin Kirby operates a tractor to begin the sweet potato harvest process by plowing them up from the field on Kirby Farms in Mechanicsville, Virginia, on Sep. 20, 2013. Kirby is a fourth-generation farmer. (USDA photo by Lance Cheung.)

Senators probe foreign ownership of ag land; Rounds measure would ban several countries

BY: - September 27, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. senators said during a Wednesday hearing that foreign ownership of U.S. farmland is a national security threat that should be further examined. The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry discussed foreign ownership of the nation’s agricultural lands, with testimony from experts and Senate colleagues who have been taking the lead […]

Former New Mexico State NCAA college basketball player Deuce Benjamin breaks down in tears while speaking at a news conference in Las Cruces, N.M., in May. Benjamin and Shak Odunewu discussed the lawsuit they filed alleging teammates ganged up and sexually assaulted them multiple times, while their coaches and others at the school didn’t act when confronted with the allegations. Some states have bolstered anti-hazing laws, but definitions and punishments aren’t uniform. (Andres Leighton/The Associated Press)

South Dakota one of six states without anti-hazing laws

BY: - September 27, 2023

Max Gruver spent the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2017, heavily intoxicated and passed out on a couch inside the Phi Delta Theta chapter house at Louisiana State University. He had been forced to repeatedly chug 190-proof Diesel liquor in a hazing ritual called “Bible Study,” during which pledges are quizzed on fraternity facts. […]

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, center, speaks to reporters on Sept. 26, 2023, at the U.S. Capitol. (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

U.S. Senate moves on short-term spending bill in struggle to avoid shutdown days away

BY: - September 27, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is on track to clear a short-term government funding bill in the days ahead, but it wasn’t clear Tuesday if that would happen before the Saturday midnight deadline to avert a shutdown, or if House GOP leaders would put the bill up for a vote in that chamber. U.S. House […]

Gov. Kristi Noem with members of the South Dakota National Guard in Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border in September 2023. (Courtesy of the Governor's Office)

Details scant on Guard’s border deployment as Noem visits troops

BY: - September 26, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem confirmed Tuesday that 50 South Dakota National Guard soldiers are on a previously announced deployment to the nation’s southern border, but she didn’t say what unit they’re from, how long they’ll be there, what it’ll cost, or exactly what they’re doing. South Dakota Searchlight sent messages about those and other aspects of […]

Visitors drive into Badlands National Park on Oct. 1, 2013, near Wall. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

How a looming government shutdown could hit national parks

BY: - September 26, 2023

National parks and nearby communities could forgo millions of dollars per day during a partial government shutdown that could start this weekend. Would-be visitors will likely see restrictions on park access, though the extent of those restrictions was still unclear just days before a potential lapse in federal appropriations set to begin Sunday. Parks would […]

The minimum security center of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, pictured on Feb. 16, 2023. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

State to pay inmate in federal excessive force lawsuit

BY: - September 26, 2023

The state of South Dakota will pay $6,000 to an inmate who represented himself in a lawsuit over his assault by a correctional officer in 2022. The settlement, filed this week in federal court, comes on the heels of a state-level trial at which a jury convicted the officer of simple assault. Shawn Albrecht was […]

U.S. Air Force ceremonial guardsmen from the 28th Bomb Wing present the colors during a change of command ceremony at Ellsworth Air Force Base, June 23, 2023. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Yendi Borjas)

Active-duty military would work without pay in shutdown, White House warns

BY: - September 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — The White House is warning that a partial government shutdown would mean 1.3 million active-duty armed services members must keep working without receiving paychecks and hundreds of thousands of Pentagon employees would face furloughs. The Biden administration on Tuesday blasted what it’s now calling an “Extreme Republican Shutdown,” saying it would undermine national […]

Mike Scully harvests soybeans at Scully Family Farms in Spencer, Indiana, on Sept. 29, 2022. (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service photo by Brandon O’Connor)

The farm bill is on the verge of expiring. Congress is months away from a new version.

BY: - September 26, 2023

WASHINGTON — As the deadline for Congress to pass a new farm bill looms this weekend, staff members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees say it will be months – if not longer – until they reach agreement on a new bill. Lawmakers must rewrite the sweeping farm bill every five years to set […]

South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations Chief Operating Officer Tammy Hatting presents to legislators on Sept. 25, 2023, in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Proposed nursing home staffing standards are ‘disaster waiting to happen,’ industry reps say

BY: - September 25, 2023

PIERRE — Proposed federal staffing standards for nursing homes that accept Medicaid would be catastrophic for South Dakota facilities, industry representatives warn. The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations and South Dakota Health Care Association both presented information to legislators at Thursday’s committee meeting at the Capitol on the sustainability of long-term care in the […]

Fall peppers and chili at Bloomingdale Farmers Market on Nov. 9, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The market accepted Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefits coupons. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)

Food benefits for low income families at risk in a government shutdown, White House says

BY: - September 25, 2023

WASHINGTON — As Congress barrels toward a partial government shutdown, the White House Monday warned that a program that helps millions of low income families afford healthy food could see substantial cuts. The White House released a state-by-state breakdown, estimating that nearly 7 million people who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, […]