With the future of legal abortion in America suddenly uncertain, advocates on both sides of the issue expect a battle over access to abortion in South Dakota to be waged during the upcoming 2022 legislative session. While pro-life advocates expect to see strong legislation filed, pro-choice advocates are gearing up to protect a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.
A new poll shows that a majority of South Dakotans favors the removal from office of state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, who killed a pedestrian with his car in 2020 and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors. The poll results come just days before the Legislature will begin impeachment proceedings against Ravnsborg in a special session on Nov. 9.
Native American government advocates are pushing to ensure that South Dakota's largest minority group is not cut out of the ongoing legislative redistricting process and that the end result of the process does not make it harder for Natives to get elected or have influence at the voting booth.
As the state embarks on creation of a new and expanded civics and history initiative for South Dakota public schools, key stakeholders in the process are urging those behind the plan, including Gov. Kristi Noem, to keep politics out of the process to tell the truest possible story of history and government.
As South Dakota prepares to roll out a framework for legalization of medical marijuana, South Dakota News Watch provides a look at how medical marijuana programs are operating in North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana.
A South Dakota lawmaker who is a leader on marijuana legalization says that despite concerns of Gov. Kristi Noem that the state needs another year to implement a medical marijuana program, he believes the state can implement an efficient program by the end of the year as planned.
Native American tribes and tribal members in South Dakota may have advantages in entering the legal marijuana market quickly and successfully if legalization becomes final. Sovereign nation status, available land, a ready workforce and nimble government operations have benefited tribes in other states and could also create new economic development opportunities in South Dakota.
Lawmakers have passed and sent to Gov. Kristi Noem a bill to allow the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation to develop a new type of health benefits plan that would provide affordable coverage to farmers and ranchers but which would operate outside the purview and regulatory oversight of the state Division of Insurance. Backers say it will provide health coverage for thousands of uninsured people in the agriculture industry; opponents say it removes consumer protections and would provide only limited benefits that could put policyholders at risk.
After a slow start during the 2021 legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers and state officials are stepping up the pace of planning and preparation for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in South Dakota. Both forms are marijuana are set to become legal on July 1 after voters approved a pair of separate ballot measures.
Only one bill has been filed so far regarding regulation of medical and recreational marijuana in South Dakota, both of which become legal on July 1, and lawmakers have a long way to go in creating a solid regulatory framework for legal weed. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are not waiting for the Legislature or courts to act and are making plans to monetize marijuana as soon as it becomes legal.
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