By Kealey BultenaSouth Dakota’s Republican leaders in the Statehouse walk away from nine straight weeks of session confident in their achievements. Republicans in Pierre say they’re pleased with the way they’ve cooperated with their Democratic counterparts. Senate Majority Leader Russ Olson says that dialogue is essential to the process. “With 30 members in the Republican caucus to the five members in the democratic caucus, I said, as leader, if these roles were inversed, how would I want to be treated? So I really do think there’s been an open dialogue between the minority Leader and myself in the Senate,” Olson says. Representative David Lust leads Republicans in the House. He agrees that lawmakers from both parties made the system work. “It is a credit and a tribute to South Dakotans of whatever stripe that we can come together, disagree agreeably, and still reach a conclusion,” Lust says.One of those conclusions is the budget bill. Legislators allocated one-time money to help education and Medicaid endure significant cuts.
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