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

Legislator’s conflict of interest puts meaning of ‘indirect’ under microscope

BY: - September 1, 2023

What does “indirect” mean? The question has been at the forefront of political discourse in South Dakota for weeks after former Sen. Jessica Castleberry, R-Rapid City, was found to have accepted over $500,000 in allegedly illegal indirect benefits from state government while serving as a state legislator. The state constitution prohibits legislators from being interested […]

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Brian Bengs speaks to supporters on Nov. 7, 2022, at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Amendment is clumsy way to keep Legislature from manhandling voter initiatives

BY: - July 16, 2023

South Dakota’s legislative process is haunted by the ghost of Initiated Measure 22. Endorsed by a little more than 51% of voters in 2016, the anti-corruption measure was quickly dismantled in the next legislative session. Since then, lawmakers have lived with a reputation for dismissing the will of the people. Derailing IM 22 has had […]

Sen. Michael Rohl, R-Aberdeen, testifies at the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Bill barring legislative spouses from becoming lobbyists passes Senate committee

BY: - February 13, 2023

PIERRE — A bill that would prohibit a spouse of a legislator from being employed as a lobbyist passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning. The bill, SB 197, was introduced by Sen. Michael Rohl, R-Aberdeen, and would apply to active members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The committee passed the […]