Legislature

Counselor Angelena Plummer sits in a room used for therapy at her private practice, A Positive Life, on March 3, 2023, in Rapid City. (Nicole Schlabach/For South Dakota Searchlight)

Need mental health care in SD? You may have to get in line

BY: - April 1, 2023

Angelena Plummer, owner of a counseling practice in Rapid City, knows what it’s like to wait for mental health care. A few years ago, she called a therapist after a distressing life event. When she found out the wait was three months for the next available appointment, Plummer recalled, “it was a literal jaw drop.” […]

Aberdeen Fire & Rescue paramedic interns are trained on LIFEPAK monitor defibrillator equipment. (Courtesy of Aberdeen Fire & Rescue)

State spends $11.6 million to update equipment for South Dakota ambulance services

BY: - March 29, 2023

Dozens of ambulance services in rural South Dakota have been operating for years with outdated or broken patient care tools because the agencies don’t have enough money to purchase new equipment, but that’s beginning to change thanks to an infusion of funding. Gov. Kristi Noem and state lawmakers approved three initiatives in 2022 that allocated […]

COMMENTARY
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)

Legislature protects us from dangers we didn’t know existed

BY: - March 29, 2023

It’s amazing the amount of effort that the South Dakota Legislature puts into protecting citizens from things they didn’t even know were a threat. Lucky us. Consider ranked choice voting. That’s all you’ll be able to do — consider it. You’ll never vote that way because the Legislature just outlawed it. Held up as one […]

COMMENTARY
Forested land in the Black Hills. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Open space is at the mercy of development and tax policy in the Black Hills

BY: - March 28, 2023

We’re all lucky to live in the Black Hills for its outdoor beauty. Those who enjoy driving through the Hills may not realize that in many cases the idyllic meadows, timber stands, and meandering streams on either side of the road are private land, very often designated as agricultural. Tree farms, or family owned and […]

The South Dakota House of Representatives chamber at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Legislature will tackle county funding and long term care in summer studies

BY: - March 27, 2023

The 2023 legislative session ended Monday, but legislators are already preparing and researching issues ahead of the 2024 session. The Legislature will conduct two summer studies this year focusing on long term care sustainability as well as county funding and mandated services, the Executive Board decided Monday. The summer studies allow legislators to learn about […]

Legislators consider vetoes from Gov. Kristi Noem on March 27, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Hemp and crypto bills fall as legislators sustain Noem vetoes

BY: - March 27, 2023

PIERRE — Lawmakers debated the future of money and the amount of an intoxicating compound that should be allowed in industrial hemp, but they failed to override any of Gov. Kristi Noem’s vetoes Monday at the Capitol. None of the four bills up for override votes received the necessary two-thirds majority. Legislators also failed to […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at a January 2022 event in the state Capitol at Pierre. (Twitter/Governor Kristi Noem)

A state that’s ‘pro-birth’ should also be truly ‘pro-life’

BY: - March 26, 2023

No matter where you fit on the political spectrum, the news on June 24, 2022, was staggering: The Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that guaranteed women the right to an abortion. Polls indicate that two-thirds of the country saw this as a crippling blow to the rights of women. For […]

(Illustration by Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Interest groups spend thousands on social events for lawmakers, with no disclosure

BY: - March 25, 2023

PIERRE — Politicians, lobbyists and liquor dealers gathered in the back room of a restaurant. It was mid-January, a couple of weeks into South Dakota’s annual legislative session. Everybody was unwinding after a long day at the Capitol, chatting and mingling.  Pork roast was on the menu. People lined up for drinks at the bar. […]

Hemp grows at Papa G’s Organic Hemp Farm in Crawford County, Indiana, in 2022. (NRCS photo by Brandon O’Connor)

Noem vetoes bill that would increase THC limits for hemp processing

BY: - March 23, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed a bill Thursday that would increase the amount of THC that industrial hemp processors can have in their products. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in cannabis plants that produces a high when present in sufficient amounts. Hemp, unlike its cousin marijuana, is low in THC. Hemp plants can be […]

Governor Kristi Noem conducts a bill-signing ceremony in a military hangar at the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing at Joe Foss Field on Mar. 22, 2023. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem signs ban on ‘evil foreign government’ contracts, takes questions on ag land and trusts

BY: - March 22, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — With a fighter jet in the background, Governor Kristi Noem conducted a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday in a military hangar where she celebrated efforts to mitigate the influence of what she called “evil foreign governments.”  “I’ll do everything in my power that I can to ensure that our people stay as free as […]

Gov. Kristi Noem attends an event Oct. 12, 2022, at a Sioux Falls grocery store. (John Hult/SD Searchlight)

Noem signs temporary tax reduction into law, vows to fight for permanent tax cut

BY: - March 21, 2023

After weeks of veto threats, Gov. Kristi Noem signed what some have called the “largest tax cut in state history” into law Tuesday. The move reduces the state sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2%, cutting an estimated $104 million from state revenues in the first year of implementation. But the tax cut has a sunset […]

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at the Calvin Coolidge Foundation conference at the Library of Congress on Feb. 17, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Noem signs $7.4 billion budget despite previous threats

BY: - March 20, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem signed the state’s fiscal year 2024 budget into law Monday, providing for increased funding to the “Big Three” state obligations and 100% tuition coverage for National Guard members, among other funding decisions. Noem had made veiled threats in recent weeks to veto the budget because legislators chose to pursue a different tax […]