South Dakota News Watch


Loss of tourism hurting businesses and governments in SD


The COVID-19 pandemic has almost completely shut down tourism in South Dakota, one of the state’s largest industries. The loss of visitors now and potentially into the summer tourism season threatens to cut off a vital economic lifeline for businesses and their employees and eliminate a major source of sales tax revenues that fund operations of cities and state government. […]

S.D. municipal elections and presidential primary could be delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic


Amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, South Dakota lawmakers will consider a bill to postpone upcoming city elections in Sioux Falls, Brookings and other cities at least until June, and to allow Gov. Kristi Noem to delay the presidential primary from June 2 to July 28. The elections bill is one of at least nine last-minute bills related to […]

Legislative special session likely needed to redo state budget due to COVID-19 epidemic


The South Dakota Legislature will likely hold a special session by the end of June to address financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to potentially remake the coming year’s spending plan passed earlier this month, legislative fiscal leaders say. Members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee told South Dakota News Watch that economic uncertainty now hangs over South […]

Experts: S.D. health-care system could be overwhelmed if COVID-19 takes hold


If the COVID-19 pandemic grows rapidly in South Dakota — as it has in other states and nations — the state’s hospital systems are likely to be quickly overwhelmed, according to medical experts in South Dakota and elsewhere. It is unknown if the state has enough ventilators or intensive-care beds, and patients in rural areas or smaller cities would likely […]

Sioux Falls biotech firm rushing to develop coronavirus treatment


A Sioux Falls company — with its team of scientists and a herd of genetically engineered cows — is working feverishly to develop an effective treatment for people infected with the coronavirus. SAb Biotherapeutics has emerged as a major player in the effort to produce a viable antidote to the fast-moving virus that is sweeping across the world and the […]

Sioux Falls lawyer is behind-the-scenes power broker in Pierre

Matt McCaulley lobbies for Gov. Noem and 16 private clients

For someone who doesn’t hold elected office, attorney Matt McCaulley of Sioux Falls has amassed a significant amount of political clout, and he is among the most influential people in Pierre during South Dakota’s annual legislative sessions. Throughout his more than 14 years of lobbying, McCaulley, 47, has developed a reputation for quiet competence, effective problem-solving and honest negotiation — […]

Legislative fight between electricity providers coming to a head

A long, simmering battle between electricity providers in South Dakota is coming to a head as the 2020 legislative session winds down, and at stake is the potential for faster economic growth in some cities versus the possibility of higher electric rates for rural residents. The debate is raging between municipalities that provide electricity to residents and rural electric cooperatives […]

Land ownership question hovers over $185 million Sioux Falls redevelopment plan

Questions about the ownership of a strip of land within the Sioux Steel Co. site in downtown Sioux Falls has created a new, unexpected hurdle for the proposed $185 million redevelopment of the property. The land in question was once a channel of the Big Sioux River and has ownership origins that stretch back beyond South Dakota statehood all the […]

S.D. hunter residency case creates ‘nightmare’ for retired combat veteran

The legal language describing who qualifies as a South Dakota resident when it comes to in-state hunting privileges is laid out in state law, but the real-world definition is now murkier than ever. A recent drawn-out, highly charged criminal case in South Dakota could have further defined residency, particularly when it comes to so-called “snow birds” or part-time residents. Instead, […]

California energy firm will turn S.D. farm wastes into usable natural gas

A new industry launching in South Dakota will use manure from dairy farms to generate usable natural gas, creating a new income stream for some South Dakota farmers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions along the way. California-based renewable energy company Brightmark Energy announced plans on Feb. 5 to capture, refine and sell methane gas rising off the decaying manure produced […]

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