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Stu Whitney

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  1. Holding elected leaders accountable for boorish or coarse behavior is one strategy to help restore civility to American politics, according to a panel of South Dakota experts in public discourse….

  2. A new statewide poll shows that a majority of registered South Dakota voters supports greater gun-control measures in the state, even as elected officials continue down a path of trying to make guns easier to buy and carry.
  3. In a July 2022 statewide poll commissioned by South Dakota News Watch, a majority of registered voters opposed a total ban on abortion in the state and an even larger majority supported holding a referendum in which voters, not lawmakers, would decide on future laws regarding the procedure.
  4. Now that Congress has passed legislation to provide healthcare to veterans who were sickened by exposure to toxic burn pits, the real battle begins for veterans needing care who must navigate the sometimes cumbersome, over-extended VA healthcare system.
  5. The latest variant of COVID-19 -- which is more able to evade immunity from prior infection or vaccination than previous variants -- is causing infection rates to rise in South Dakota and across the country even though it appears less likely to put patients in the hospital. Unless COVID-19 cases jump dramatically, officials in South Dakota government, health care and education do not appear poised to pursue any active interventions at this time.
  6. The 24/7 Sobriety program, launched in South Dakota several years ago to combat alcohol-related crimes through daily testing, is being considered as a national model that could get Congressional support and funding. Despite claims that it infringes on the rights of some criminal defendants, the program is seen as a major success by many in the law-enforcement community.
  7. Two separate November 2022 ballot measures will ask South Dakota voters to approve expansion of the federal Medicaid health insurance plan in the state. Some advocates of expansion are concerned the two measures with generally the same intent could confuse voters and hamper the chances of expanding Medicaid, which could provide medical coverage to about 40,000 more low-income South Dakota residents.
  8. The next few weeks will help determine the fate of current and former South Dakota legal officials as the race to be the state's next attorney general takes shape. At stake are the jobs and futures of three Republicans with ties to the Attorney General's Office -- former AG Marty Jackley, suspended incumbent Jason Ravnsborg, and DCI director-turned-candidate David Natvig.
  9. Some of the most contentious legislation and debate surrounding what is taught in South Dakota public school classrooms has its origin in model legislation and language put forth by national political operatives and commentators. Education officials in South Dakota say the recent attempts to influence classroom standards and curricula are part of a larger political narrative that is not reflective of what is happening in public schools here.
  10. Three retired classroom teachers from South Dakota say they are worried about how increasing political and cultural pressure placed on public education will affect the ability of teachers to teach and their willingness to remain in the profession they love. Part three of a 3-part series.
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