Gov. Kristi Noem presents her fiscal year 2025 budget address to the South Dakota Legislature on Dec. 5, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem’s spending plan totals $7.28 billion, down slightly from current budget

BY: - December 5, 2023

PIERRE — Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled a $7.28 billion budget proposal during a speech Tuesday at the Capitol, which would be a 1.33% decrease from the current budget.  She said it’s time for state government to tighten its belt. “Last year, the Legislature spent tens of millions of dollars that wasn’t in my budget recommendation,” […]

Gov. Kristi Noem presents her fiscal year 2025 budget address to the South Dakota Legislature on Dec. 5, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Governor criticizes school districts for lagging teacher pay

BY: - December 5, 2023

PIERRE — The total increase in state funding for schools is 26% since Gov. Kristi Noem took office in 2019, she said Tuesday during her annual budget address; meanwhile, statistics from the same period show average South Dakota teacher pay has increased about 10%. That’s left South Dakota near the bottom in teacher salaries compared […]

The Senate floor in the South Dakota Capitol at Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Governor shouldn’t be the one to choose replacement legislators

BY: - November 24, 2023

Two Republican legislators from Rapid City have resigned. Sen. Jessica Castleberry of District 35 had to resign so she can get busy repaying $600,000 in pandemic relief funding she received through state government, in violation of the Legislature’s ethics rules. Rep. Jess Olson of District 34 said she resigned for health reasons. According to The […]

The Legislature's Appropriations Committee meets Nov. 13, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Some lawmakers frustrated by lack of specific data from governor’s workforce campaign

BY: - November 13, 2023

PIERRE — Some lawmakers expressed frustration Monday upon learning the state’s $5 million workforce recruitment campaign — which includes television ads featuring Gov. Kristi Noem — is not directly measuring how many workers it recruits.  Members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee heard a report from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development that included information on […]

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)

Noem sets budget mood, but are legislators in a mood to follow?

BY: - November 8, 2023

With her annual budget address set for Dec. 5, Gov. Kristi Noem used her last weekly newspaper column of October to help set the mood for the coming legislative session. The mood she’s going for: overwhelmingly conservative. For the past few years, the state had enjoyed strong economic growth coupled with a windfall of federal […]

Gov. Kristi Noem delivers her annual budget address Dec. 6, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/SD Searchlight)

Noem foreshadows ‘back to normal’ budget

BY: - October 27, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem says state revenues are falling “back to normal.” Noem focused her weekly column Friday on fiscal matters. She’s preparing to deliver her annual budget address to the Legislature on Dec. 5. “It is important to realize that this year’s budget will look more ‘normal’ than it has the last several years,” Noem […]

The state Capitol in Pierre. (Getty Images)

Legislative Research Council director resigns

BY: - October 23, 2023

The South Dakota Legislature’s Executive Board accepted the resignation of the state’s Legislative Research Council (LRC) director on Monday. Reed Holwegner, a McLaughlin native, was appointed director in the spring of 2020 after several years working in a similar office in Kansas. In an interview with the National Conference of State Legislatures published in January […]

South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke discusses eminent domain concerns during a press conference Oct. 12, 2023, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. The press conference was held to announce the launch of the South Dakotans First coalition. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

New property rights coalition plans to lobby for eminent domain restrictions

BY: - October 12, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — A statewide coalition has formed to pursue restrictions on the use of eminent domain for projects such as carbon dioxide pipelines.  The group introduced itself during a press conference Thursday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.  The politically diverse coalition, named South Dakotans First, consists of the South Dakota Farmers Union, Dakota […]

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. […]

Legislators on the Study Committee on County Funding and Services address a crowd at the South Dakota County Convention in Sioux Falls on Sept. 13, 2023. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Task force will ask Legislature for millions to help with county legal costs

BY: - September 14, 2023

The top proposal to come out of the legislative summer study on county funding could cost an estimated $35 million to $50 million annually, according to a committee member. The proposal would set a cap on public defender and court-appointed attorney costs for counties, likely around $10,000 for each case, while the state would cover […]

An apartment building under construction on June 13, 2023, in eastern Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Seven housing projects get boost from long-delayed infrastructure program

BY: - September 12, 2023

A state board signed off Monday on the first grant dollars from a $200 million housing infrastructure program that had been mired in controversy through two state legislative sessions. Box Elder was the big winner at the September meeting of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, at which seven applications for infrastructure grants were reviewed […]

Blurred hands are typing on a laptop computer in the dark with illuminated keyboard and illegible mystic program code visible on the screen.

Jackley calls for study and new laws to protect children from AI exploitation

BY: - September 5, 2023

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley and colleagues from 53 states and territories are asking congressional leaders to create an expert panel on how artificial intelligence is to used to exploit children. “Artificial intelligence has its benefits, but there is also potential for serious harm that we are now experiencing with several investigations in South […]