As the South Dakota Legislature begins the 2018 session, you can find the information you need to understand the legislative process on this page, including what laws are being proposed and how you can make sure your voice is heard.
The official website of the South Dakota Legislature. Find information on past legislative sessions, current legislators, and South Dakota laws, and read the bills being discussed.
Track upcoming hearings and votes on the Legislature's official calendar.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting provides coverage of floor sessions and committee meetings.
Want to contact your representative?You may also e-mail your legislator using the link in their provided profile or leave a phone message by calling either the House or Senate lobby:
Senate Lobby: 605-773-3821
House Lobby: 605-773-3851
Crackerbarrel Session Information Rapid City: January 27, February 10, February 24, and March 3
The January 27 and February 24 meetings are 9-11 AM at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology New Classroom Building.
The February 10 and March 3 meetings are 9-11 AM at the Western Dakota Tech Event Center.
Crackerbarrels are free and open to the public.
Elected Officials information from the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce
Pages related to legislation
Coming soon Rapid City Legislator Profiles (Senator is listed first for each district. Names link to their Legislative Research Council profile. Where available, the legislator's Rapid City Journal profile is linked as well)
Lobbying and Campaign Finance
The National Institute on Money in State Politics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides access to state data on campaign finance.
Nine members of the Rapid City Council voted in favor of increasing funding for infrastructure. City staff will now draft an ordinance shifting how Rapid City's 2 percent sales tax is distributed. According to the Rapid City Journal, currently 46 percent goes to the general fund, the city improvement fund and the Vision Fund receive 23 percent each, and 8 percent goes to the utility support fund. Under the proposed plan, the utility support fund would be cut out. General fund revenue would increase to 50 percent, capital improvement to 29 percent, while, the Vision Fund would be reduced to 21 percent. The capital improvement fund would see an extra $3.8 million, while the Vision Fund would dip by about $1.1 million; the Vision Fund received $12.4 million in 2016.
The city council will continue budget discussions on August 24. Further stories on the budget are found in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
The Rapid City Council opened its first 2018 Budget meeting on August 15, at 5:30 at the City/School Administration Building. Additional meetings are set for Thursday, August 17, and for August 21 and 24 on an as needed basis. The Rapid City Journal provided some additional information from the mayor on how the budget was created. Under priority-based budgeting, city programs received a point score based on if the program was mandated by law, if other organizations provide a similar service, and how the program fits with the city's comprehensive plan, among other criteria. It was due to the low scores that the Retired Senior Volunteer Service, Allied Arts Fund, the Journey Museum, and other programs were marked for cuts.
More stories on the budget are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
Mayor Steve Allender gave his budget presentation last week, including cuts to arts and volunteer programs. The Rapid City Journal reported on how these cuts would affect three organizations. The Black Hills Area Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) stands to lose all $40,000 of city funding. This would also remove Rapid City as sponsor for the federal grants that provide the rest of RSVP's funding. In 2016, RSVP placed 682 volunteers with nonprofits, providing 155,658 hours of work. Paying workers minimum wage for the same amount of hours would have cost over $1.3 million.
Rapid City contributes $331,500 to the Journey Museum, approximately half of its funding. Museum officials point out that every dollar invested in the museum generates four dollars in revenue for the area. Although the museum had its first profitable year in recent times, the $30,000 cut is two and a half times that profit.
The Allied Arts Fund provides more than $200,000 to music and art groups in the city. Rapid City funds it with $102,000, which Allied Arts then uses to gain matching funds from area businesses. The budget is set to remove $27,000 in funding, more than a quarter of what Allied Arts has been receiving.
Budget meetings are set for Tuesday and Thursday, August 15 and 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the City/School Administration Center, with additional meetings the following Tuesday and Thursday, August 22 and 24, if needed. Past stories on the budget are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
South Dakota lawmakers will need to wait two years from leaving office before becoming lobbyists now that a new law has taken effect. Initiated Measure 22 included a provision for changing the waiting period from one year to two. After the legislature struck down the measure, the extended wait was one part chosen to be implemented by law. The Rapid City Journal notes that just 14 legislators who served between 2006 and 2017 have become lobbyists since 2012. Only four returned after the then-required year.
Past stories on ballot measures are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
The history and land tenure of a portion of West Rapid City formerly belonging to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, is currently under evaluation by researchers and government officials. As reported by KOTA News, William Bear Shield, Chairman of the Sioux San Unified Health Board, has stated that the Regional Behavioral Health Center, Clarkson Mountain View Health Facility, and the Canyon Lake Senior Center, in West Rapid City are in violation of a 1948 federal law outlining to whom and for what purposes the land could be used.
The boarding school closed in 1933 and later became as a sanitarium for Native American tuberculosis patients. After the tuberculosis epidemic had ended, Congress appropriated funds for the facility to be used as a health clinic for Native American patients in 1966.
Under the terms of the 1948 act that broke up the boarding's school's 1,200 acres, the land could be made available to the city of Rapid City, the South Dakota National Guard, the Rapid City School District, to be sold for use by religious institutions, or slated for use by "needy Indians." Bear Shield believes that Behavior Health, Clarkson, and the Senior Center to not fit these terms and, per the 1948 act, should revert to federal ownership. The Bureau of Indian Affairs agrees with Bear Shield and recently issued a letter declaring its support for a mutually beneficial solution.
Learn more about the Rapid City Indian Boarding School lands at the Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors (MOA) website. Past stories on Native American issues are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
Rapid City is looking for citizen input on downtown parking. The city planning department will hold an open house on August 15th at the Dahl Fine Arts Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. Those unable to attend can still offer opinions through an online poll.
Parking is a recurring issue for downtown Rapid City. An extended history of parking issues is available as an issue hub, while more recent news stories are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) issued a statement explaining that the Sioux San Hospital emergency and inpatient departments will close completely within a year ,according to the Rapid City Journal. The Great Plains Area is the IHS regional division that covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. There are seven hospitals, eight health centers, and several small care centers in the area according to the IHS website.
Sioux San Hospital is to be converted to a modern 200,000-square-foot hospital including technology advancements that will allow for improved medical care. The existing hospital is 80-years-old and shifted to an outpatient and urgent care focus. The new facility will have a similar patient care focus.
For more information about Sioux San Hospital, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive. You can learn more about Health and Wellness in the Black Hills by visiting the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub.
Terri Davis is returning home to the Black Hills when she assumes the role of Director of the Rapid City Public Library in August. Although born in Brookings, the Rapid City Journal reports that spent much of the 1990s as director of Deadwood's library. She came to Rapid City in 2000 during Greta Chapman's fifteen year tenure. Davis would serve as Chapman's assistant director, and then interim director during the months between Chapman's 2013 departure and Jim McShane's arrival. She moved to Australia in 2015.
Davis sees her first priority as meeting with the staff and learning what has changed with the library. Since her time at Rapid City Public Library, the library's maker space has grown considerably. Experience bags, board games, and video games are now part of the circulating collection. Earlier this year, the library's first floor was reorganized, with shelves being re-arranged and the nonfiction divided into the Bookstore Model.
Past library stories are linked through the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
The Rapid City Public Library was one stop on Tim Bjorkman's journey that he hopes will end with him as South Dakota's lone representative. Representative Kristi Noem will not run in 2018, instead aiming for governor. In a town hall meeting on Tuesday, the Rapid City Journal reports that Bjorkman spoke on income equality, resulting in a huge divide in results for between the poorest and the most well-off high school graduates. He also spoke in favor of increasing the minimum wage and the need for universal health care.
Bjorkman will likely face Chris Martian in the Democratic Primary. The winner will likely face Shantel Kreb or Dusty Johnson for the seat. Stories for the upcoming election are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.