Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council unanimously approved a shortlist of priorities for the upcoming legislative session in Pierre. Top of the list? The council wants lawmakers to help them keep their options open for the future of a collection of taxidermy animals from the Delbridge Museum.

Why it matters

  • Each year, the Sioux Falls City Council sends a list of priority items to lawmakers who represent the city, letting them know what the state's largest city wants to see happen in Pierre.
  • Historically, Sioux Falls has sent long lists with somewhat broad priorities, but in recent years the focus has shifted to sharing only a handful of specific, actionable items.
  • The City Council on Tuesday approved six priorities, with only one last-minute amendment to include support from the state to expand the Sioux Falls airport.
"We used to have 20-25 of these," Council Chair Marshall Selberg said. "We've done a nice job over the last year or two of sharpening this up ... these are really the things that we're focused on."

What are the council's legislative priorities?

Here's a quick breakdown, in the order priorities are listed in the resolution:

  • Taxidermy options. Right now, the Delbridge Museum animals – many of which tested positive for arsenic – could not be moved to another museum out-of-state under state law. The council would like to see more flexibility there as a city task force determines the future of these specimen.
  • Transparency options. Government entities must publish legal notices with an established newspaper under state law. The city would like to see that law amended to allow for alternative publishing options for legals, including or online news outlets.
  • Increasing water capacity. The council urges the legislature to approve funding for the Dakota Mainstem project, which would expand water capacity in eastern South Dakota.
  • Studying childcare. The council is also asking lawmakers to form a task force to study the childcare crisis and report back with recommendations and proposed solutions.
  • Expanding the airport. Councilors want the folks in Pierre to help fund the construction of a new concourse on the Sioux Falls airport to add five new gates.
  • Keeping kids safe. The last priority on the list supports "legislation to safeguard children and educators from deadly threats," calling for realistic legislation to promote best practices for school safety.

What happens next?

The legislative session is set to begin Jan. 9.