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  1. Despite a 2020 law restricting cell phone use by drivers, and numerous public-information campaigns, distracted driving remains a significant cause of injuries and deaths in car crashes in South Dakota and across the United States. Police officers continue to crack down on the risky behaviors, but a new outreach effort will use a multi-pronged approach to try to keep people focused on the road ahead.
  2. As some experts were predicting the demise of in-person retail shopping amid the explosive trend of online sales in recent years, many South Dakota business owners have adapted by improving the in-store experience and mixing online and in-person offerings. Some shoppers, meanwhile, say they are eager to return to in-person shopping for the camaraderie and social aspects of visiting stores now that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased.
  3. A proposal to bypass the state legislature and instead use the statewide ballot process to eliminate the sales tax on groceries in South Dakota has hit an early legal snarl. But introduction of the ballot measure is providing more evidence of how citizens groups in South Dakota want to let voters -- rather than lawmakers and the governor -- decide the outcome of important issues facing the state.
  4. The highly contagious virus known as RSV is spreading fast among children in South Dakota and across the U.S., raising concerns among medical officials that a more virulent strain of the virus is striking earlier in the year than usual and may sicken large numbers of children and eventually overwhelm pediatric intensive care units in hospitals.
  5. The sometimes stormy relationship between Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and the GOP-led Legislature has led to the delay of implementation of a $200 million infrastructure loan and grant program that was intended to help developers quickly build new workforce housing that is a critical need for the success of the South Dakota economy. An entire annual construction season was lost due to the delay of the program, which will now need compromise legislation in the 2023 session in order to launch.
  6. Legal and grassroots efforts are continuing in South Dakota to make it easier for Native Americans to vote, including in the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election. While history has shown that many Native voters have faced disenfranchisement, South Dakota history also shows how important the Native vote can be in close elections.
  7. Jamie Smith: a teacher, coach, realtor, father, lawmaker -- and perhaps the next governor of South Dakota? State Rep. Smith, the Democratic nominee for governor of South Dakota, is running to unseat Republican Gov. Kristi Noem in the Nov. 8, 2022 election with a campaign focused on trust, truth and character. Running against a well-funded incumbent who has an undefeated electoral record, Smith believes he can nevertheless pull off the upset.
  8. From state lawmaker to member of Congress to South Dakota's first female governor, Kristi Noem has experienced a steady upward trajectory in her political career. As presidential aspirations may now be in play, and as Noem fights to retain her position as governor in November, South Dakota News Watch spoke with numerous political experts and analysts to look back at the past -- and potential future -- of one the most polarizing political figures in the history of the state.
  9. Those who want all American schoolchildren to have access to free meals at school are looking to the U.S. Congress for the authorization and money to pay for the meals. But for now, no firm plan exists in Washington, D.C. to get universal free meals approved.
  10. A federal program that provided free meals to all American schoolchildren during COVID-19 has ended, causing more students than usual to go hungry in South Dakota schools. Many families, already enduring inflation, are having a harder time affording food for their children or buying them meals at school. Schools and teachers are doing their best to keep students healthy and fed.
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About News Watch
South Dakota News Watch is a non-partisan nonprofit organization producing in-depth coverage that sheds light on the issues and concerns of all citizens. As we undertake our fourth full year of operation, we would like to thank our supporters for their generous contributions — during the year-end matching funds campaign and at other times of the year. Because of you, South Dakota News Watch will continue to fulfill its mission of bringing important issues to light, throughout 2022 and beyond.