2015 South Dakota Legislative Session: Why Should South Dakotans Care?

Posted by Nate Wek on
State Capital Building (Pierre, SD)
Nate Wek-SDPB

The 2015 Legislative Session is underway at the state capital building in Pierre, SD. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard kicked off the session with his State of the State Address on Tuesday of this week. His main area of mention, for at least the first 15-20 minutes, was the growing need for improvement in transportation. Transportation includes roads, highways, bridges and railroads.

In his speech, Daugaard mentioned thirty states adopting some kind of transportation funding measure within the last three years. He also mentioned South Dakota roads being the state’s “most valuable physical asset,” worth somewhere in the range of $14 billion.

Republican State Representative Mark Willadsen, along with most of the lawmakers in Pierre, agrees with Daugaard's push to improve South Dakota’s transportation quality. Here’s why it’s important for citizens of the state.

Another large focus of Governor Daugaard's speach was the workforce issue in South Dakota. He said the state must continue its efforts in keeping South Dakota’s youth in the state for the long-term. 

Republican State Representative Roger Hunt agreed with the Governor in keeping South Dakota’s future (high school and college students) in the state. He said not only should students be given the opportunity to study what they want within South Dakota, but they should also be able to find a job in the state, once they complete their degree.

Hunt said workforce development is important for South Dakotans because it will help other factors of the state in chain-of-events fashion.

Democratic State Representative Ray Ring was a little more specific in his thoughts on the workforce issue in South Dakota. He said workforce in education, more specifically teachers, should be a priority for lawmakers. 

Ring said he was disappointed, but not surprised, to hear Governor Daugaard leave the teacher shortage out of the workforce issue during the State of the State Address. He said it’s important for South Dakota to help teachers, which will in turn keep them in the state.

State Democrats also mentioned Medicaid Expansion, which Daugaard did NOT mention in his State of the State Address, as an area of priority for lawmakers during this year's session. 

Democratic State Representative Julie Bartling said Medicaid Expansion makes sense for South Dakotans. She said she’s optimistic that something can get done soon.

Republican State Representative Herman Otten said he agrees with most of the Governor’s concerns from the speech. He said every year South Dakotans should care about actions taking place in Pierre, regardless if you’re a republican or a democrat.  

The 2015 legislative session is 39 days long with some of the key dates being: Last day to introduce new bills (February 4), crossover day (February 25), last day for a bill or joint resolution to pass both houses (March 10), and the last day of the session (March 30).

What issues would you like to see resolved during this year's session? Do you agree with the politicians above?

subscribe to sdpb email updates food and cooking banner image learning blog link living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

The Latest From SDPB Radio News

FEMA Housing Lands On Pine Ridge Following Disaster

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is placing new mobile homes on Pine Ridge following spring storms and...

Daugaard Proposes Medicaid Expansion In $4.8-Billion Budget

Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a total state budget of about $4.8-billion for fiscal year 2017. You can...

Dakota Midday: Attorney General Marty Jackley Discusses 24/7

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley recently returned from the National Association of Attorneys General...

Dakota Midday: GF&P Secretary Kelly Hepler

While broadcasting live from the state capitol building in Pierre, Cara Hetland visited with Kelly Hepler, Secretary...

Dakota Midday: Wink And Sutton Look Forward To Budget Address

South Dakota Speaker of the House Dean Wink and Democratic Senator Billie Sutton visited with guest host Cara Hetland ahead of Governor Dennis Daugaard's annual...

Hawks To Introduce Resolution On College Debt

One South Dakota lawmaker says she’s crafting a resolution about debt-free college. Democratic State Representative Paula Hawks says she wants to start a conversation...

Dakota Midday: Images Of The Past Potato Creek Johnny

Potato Creek Johnny is featured in this week's Images of the Past. Jessica Michak, Archivist with the HomestakeAdams...

Dakota Midday: Health Insurance Change Has Financial Consequences

Certain people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange could find themselves paying significantly more money in January if they don’t change their plans soon....

Dakota Midday: Budget And Policy Council Anticipates Budget Address

Joy Smolnisky, Executive Director, South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute discusses Medicaid expansion, Indian Health Services, education funding, and state revenue...

SD Scientists Welcome Renewable Research Boost

World leaders are meeting in Paris to hash out a new agreement on the best way to deal with climate change. As part...

The Latest from NPR News

In Birmingham, The Debate Over Confederate Monuments Is Renewed After Charlottesville

Birmingham, Ala., has a complicated relationship with racism. Some of the most notable events from the Civil Rights...

Mathematicians Could Help In Gerrymandering Legal Cases

Legal fights over racial and partisan gerrymandering are intensifying and mathematicians think they can help...

Officials Still Searching For Bodies After Deadly Mudslides In Sierra Leone

Three days after mudslides killed hundreds in Sierra Leone's capital city, government officials are still searching...

Reporter In Barcelona Describes Scene Immediately After Deadly Van Attack

Jim Kent runs an English-language radio station in Barcelona and arrived at the scene in the Las Ramblas district...

Varied Republican Response To Charlottesville Raises Questions On Legislative Ability

After their failed health care efforts, Republican lawmakers are regrouping for the coming fight this fall to...

Trump Voters Discuss The President's Comments On Confederate Monuments

As President Trump re-emphasizes his support for statues of Confederate leaders, Republican and Trump voters in...