South Dakota State Legislature

The South Dakota State Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of South Dakota. It is a bicameral legislative body, consisting of the Senate, which has 35 members, and the House of Representatives, which has 70 members. The two houses are similar in most respects; the Senate alone holds the right to confirm gubernatorial appointments to certain offices. In addition, the Senate votes by roll call vote, whereas the larger house uses an electronic voting system.

The Legislature meets at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. It begins its annual session of the second Tuesday of January each year. The legislative session lasts 40 working days in odd-numbered years, and 35 days working days in even numbered years. Generally, the legislature meets every business day until the session ends, excepting on last day which is delayed to allow for consideration of gubernatorial vetoes. In addition, the legislature occasionally meets on Saturdays to make-up for recesses on holidays such as Presidents' Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The legislature selects, from its membership, an Executive Board to tend to administrative matters during the time when the legislature is not in session. The administrative support for the legislature is provided by the Legislative Research Council.

Selection of state legislators

Members of both houses of the state legislature are elected in November of every even-numbered year to serve a two-year term. Since 1992, legislators have been limited to serving four consecutive terms in a single house. Vacancies in the legislature are filled by gubernatorial appointment.

State legislators are elected from 35 legislative districts; each district elects one senator and two representatives. In 34 districts, representatives are elected at-large from the entire district. District 28, however, is divided into two house districts, each of which elects one representative. This is meant to ensure greater representation of Native Americans in the legislature.

Legislative districts are redrawn every ten years, following the United States Census. The districts currently in effect were adopted by the legislature in 2001. Each district encompasses approximately 21,500 people.

As a result of a 2005 court order, several legislative districts in the southwest corner of the state were redrawn for the 2006 elections. District 26 was split into two single-member house districts, much like District 28. The state appealed the District Court decision that resulted in these changes, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling. The legislature decided not to appeal the decision.


The Senate is the upper house of the South Dakota State Legislature. It is made up of 35 members, one representing each legislative district. The President of the Senate is the Lt. Governor, currently Republican Dennis Daugaard. The president only votes in the case of a tie.

The senate elects one member to serve as President pro tempore; this officer presides in the absence of the president, appoints committees, and assigns legislation to committee. The current President pro tem is Senator Bob Gray, a Republican from Pierre.

At present, the Senate has 20 Republicans and 15 Democrats. Each party selects a floor leader. The current majority leader is David Knudson, a Republican from Sioux Falls; the minority leader is Scott Heidepriem, a Democrat who is also from Sioux Falls. In addition, each party also selects a number of whips, who assist the floor leader in leading their respective caucuses.


District Senator Party Home
1 Gary D. Hanson Democrat Sisseton
2 Jim Hundstad Democrat Bath
3 Alan Hoerth Democrat Aberdeen
4 James R. Peterson Democrat Revillo
5 Nancy Turbak Berry Democrat Watertown
6 Brock Greenfield Republican Clark
7 Orville Smidt Republican Brookings
8 Dan Sutton Democrat Flandreau
9 Thomas A. Dempster Republican Sioux Falls
10 Gene Abdallah Republican Sioux Falls
11 Jason Gant Republican Sioux Falls
12 Sandy Jerstad Democrat Sioux Falls
13 Scott Heidepriem Democrat Sioux Falls
14 David L. Knudson Republican Sioux Falls
15 Gil Koetzle Democrat Sioux Falls
16 Kenneth Albers Republican Canton
17 Ben Nesselhuf Democrat Vermillion
18 Jean Hunhoff Republican Yankton
19 Frank Kloucek Democrat Scotland
20 Ed Olson Republican Mitchell
21 Cooper Garnos Republican Presho
22 Tom Hansen Republican Huron
23 Jay Duenwald Republican Hoven
24 Bob Gray Republican Fort Pierre
25 Arnie Hauge Republican Canistota
26 Julie Bartling Democrat Burke
27 Theresa Two Bulls Democrat Pine Ridge
28 Ryan Maher Democrat Isabel
29 Kenneth McNenny Republican Sturgis
30 Jim Lintz Republican Hermosa
31 Jerry Apa Republican Lead
32 Tom Katus Democrat Rapid City
33 Dennis Schmidt Republican Rapid City
34 Royal "Mac" McCracken Republican Rapid City
35 William Napoli Republican Rapid City

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the South Dakota State Legislature. It is made up of 70 members, two from each legislative district. The presiding officer of the house is the Speaker of the House, elected by the members. The current speaker is Republican Thomas Deadrick of Platte. In addition, the house also elects a speaker pro tempore, who presides in the absence of the speaker and traditionally succeeds the speaker in the next legislature. The current speaker pro tempore is Tim Rave, a Republican from Baltic.

The current House has 49 Republicans, 20 Democrats, and one vacancy. Each party selects a floor leader. The current majority leader is Larry Rhoden (R) of Union Center; the minority leader is Dale Hargens (D) of Miller. In addition, each party selects a number of whips to aid the floor leaders in leading their respective caucuses.


District Representative Party Home
1 Clayton Halverson Democrat Veblen
David Sigdestad Democrat Pierpont
2 Burt Elliott Democrat Aberdeen
Paul Dennert Democrat Columbia
3 Al Novstrup Republican Aberdeen
Dave Novstrup Republican Aberdeen
4 Val Rausch Republican Big Stone City
Steve Street Democrat Revillo
5 Al Koistinen Republican Watertown
Bob Faehn Republican Watertown
6 Kristi Noem Republican Castlewood
Paul Nelson Republican Hetland
7 Carol Pitts Republican Brookings
Larry Tidemann Republican Brookings
8 David Gassman Democrat Canova
Russell Olson Republican Madison
9 Deb Peters Republican Hartford
Richard Engels Democrat Hartford
10 Roger W. Hunt Republican Brandon
Shantel Krebs Republican Sioux Falls
11 Mark Willadson Republican Sioux Falls
Keri Weems Republican Sioux Falls
12 Manny Steele Republican Sioux Falls
Hal Wick Republican Sioux Falls
13 Phyllis Heineman Republican Sioux Falls
Bill Thompson Democrat Sioux Falls
14 Joni M. Cutler Republican Sioux Falls
Marc Feinstein Democrat Sioux Falls
15 Mary Glenski Democrat Sioux Falls
Kathy Miles Democrat Sioux Falls
16 Joel Dykstra Republican Canton
Margaret Gillespie Democrat Hudson
17 Jamie Boomgarden Republican Chancellor
Eldon Nygaard Democrat Vermillion
18 Garry Moore Democrat Yankton
Charlii Gilson Republican Yankton
19 Jim Putnam Republican Armour
Gary Jerke Republican Tripp
20 Mike Vehle Republican Mitchell
Lance Carson Republican Mitchell
21 Kent Juhnke Republican Vivian
Thomas Deadrick Republican Platte
22 Quinten Burg Democrat Wess. Springs
Dale Hargens Democrat Miller
23 Justin Davis Republican Ipswich
Tom Hackl Republican Hoven
24 Ryan P. Olson Republican Onida
Tim Rounds Republican Pierre
25 Dan Ahlers Democrat Dell Rapids
Tim Rave Republican Baltic
26A Larry Lucas Democrat Mission
26B Kim Vanneman Republican Ideal
27 Jim Bradford Democrat Pine Ridge
Mark DeVries Republican Belvidere
28A Tom Van Norman Democrat Eagle Butte
28B Betty Olson Republican Prairie City
29 Tom Brunner Republican Nisland
Larry Rhoden Republican Union Center
30 Gordon Howie Republican Rapid City
Gordon Pederson Republican Wall
31 Tom Hills Republican Spearfish
Charles Turbiville Republican Deadwood
32 Brian Gosch Republican Rapid City
Brian Dreyer Republican Rapid City
33 Mike Buckingham Republican Rapid City
Don Van Etten Republican Rapid City
34 David Lust Republican Rapid City
Ed McLaughlin Republican Rapid City
35 Jeff Haverly Republican Rapid City
Mark Kirkeby Republican Rapid City

See also

External links


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