Simplified: Sioux Falls-area lawmakers are prime sponsors of more than 40% of the proposed legislation (including bills, resolutions and commemorations) in Pierre. Most of those 184 proposals are still alive and well. Here's a closer look at what's being considered.
Why it matters
- Sioux Falls is the state's largest population center, so it makes sense that about one in every three South Dakota state lawmakers is from the area.
- Part of the reason so much legislation is still alive is because many bills haven't yet been scheduled for a committee hearing. The legislative session is about halfway over at this point, and lawmakers will only have about three more weeks until "crossover day" when bills must have passed out of their chamber of origin, or they'll die.
- Lawmakers from Sioux Falls have taken some losses – including attempts to redesign the state flag, fund more kids' school lunches, require the ACT and establish a minimum age for marriage.
- But, there are significantly more bills still in play – including legislation to make it possible to donate the Delbridge Museum collection out-of-state, a pitch to get more money for private school vouchers for students, and a bill to prohibit the use of eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipelines.
What else is still in play?
A quick note: For the purposes of this article, I'm looking only at bills for which the Sioux Falls-area lawmaker is the prime sponsor.
- I've also tried to focus this summary only on legislation that would have a marked impact on the people who live here – so if you want some more in-the-weeds infrastructure, tax or administrative rules stuff, you can see all filed bills (and everything about them) here.
Here's a look at some of the big topics still on the table:
Stricter punishments in the justice system: Rep. David Kull (R-Brandon) brought legislation to make it a felony to disarm a police officer, as well as create a stricter penalty for people who elude police.
- Sen. Brent Hoffman (R-Hartford) brought a couple bills related to DUIs – including some harsher penalties for multiple offenders.
Workforce development efforts: A number of lawmakers are also bringing legislation to make it easier for folks in some professions to have their out-of-state license recognized in South Dakota.
- Some examples include a couple of bills from Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt (R-Sioux Falls) related to counselors and registered nurses.
Regulating "diet weed": Rep. Brian Mulder has a pair of measures that would prohibit retailers from selling certain cannabinoids – e.x. Delta-8 THC-O – as well as cannabis-infused beverages. (John Hult with South Dakota Searchlight has a great explanation of the state's "diet weed" dilemma here.)
Free documents for unhoused people: Rep. Tyler Tordsen (R-Sioux Falls) has a bill that would provide free birth certificates for people experiencing homelessness, and Rep. Kadyn Wittman (D-Sioux Falls) has a similar measure to waive fees for nondriver ID cards.
Let voters decide: There are also some things that lawmakers would have to ultimately let the voters of South Dakota decide on – including a resolution from Venhuizen to let voters decide whether the state should have work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
What happens next?
Session runs through the first week in March.
If you've got opinions one way or another on any of the topics or pieces of legislation listed above, here's a roundup of all of the local lawmakers' contact information: