Despite extensive public education and media campaigns to prevent it, infant mortality due to sleep-related causes is higher in South Dakota than in neighboring states. State and tribal health officials are trying new approaches to lower the rate.
Flooding has been added to the list of economic challenges for South Dakota farmers and ranchers. Five straight years of commodity price declines, lingering trade wars and other factors are exerting great pressure on farmers, ranchers and main street business owners.
A recent university study showed some rural residents don't have the network coverage or speed for business or personal needs. Gov. Noem has pledged changes while federal agencies work to get providers to improve access, cost.
After several years of decline, South Dakota's video lottery industry is growing again. And, despite increased gaming competition, some proponents say the state could take steps to make the games even more profitable.
Many registrations come from businesses that allow traveling retirees to register their vehicles in South Dakota. State law allows them to register to vote at the same time. Lawmakers, state officials worry non-local voters could alter elections.
The Helmsley Charitable Trust has invested nearly $100 million to improve rural health care in South Dakota. The newest initiative is technology allowing heart surgeries to be done robotically for patients in isolated areas.
Lawmakers increased the sales tax in 2016 to raise teacher salaries. But legislators also promised to reduce the tax rate if South Dakota collected millions in new taxes from online retailers, money it is now receiving. A bill aimed at reducing the tax has passed the Senate, but still faces opposition.
More than 40,000 children live in families who qualify for food stamps, a number that grew 47 percent from 2007-2017. Statistics show the state continues to wrestle with a 'stubbornly high' number of children in poverty.
Nearly 30 percent of South Dakota high school graduates who enroll in a state university must take remedial courses in math or English. Catch-up classes are expensive and provide no college credit. University officials are trying new approaches to reach students.