South Dakota Legislature

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South Dakota State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
Corey Brown (R)
Since January 8, 2013
Dean Wink (R)
Since January 10, 2015
Seats 105 voting members:
35 Senators
70 Representatives
S.D Senate Diagram.png
Senate political groups
     Republican (27)      Democratic (8)
South Dakota House of Representatives Arch Diagram 2012.svg
House political groups
     Republican (58)      Democratic (12)
Senate last election
November 4, 2014
House last election
November 4, 2014
Meeting place
SD Capitol.jpg
South Dakota State Capitol, Pierre

The South Dakota State Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of South Dakota. It is a bicameral legislative body, consisting of the South Dakota Senate, which has 35 members, and the South Dakota House of Representatives, which has 70 members.[1] 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 South Dakota Legislative Research Council.

Since the 1996 election the Republican Party of South Dakota has had a supermajority in State Senate and since the 1976 election the Republican Party of South Dakota has had a supermajority in State House.[2]

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 1993,[3] legislators have been limited to serving four consecutive 2-year terms in a single house, but there is no limit on the number of non-consecutive terms a legislator may serve. However if a legislator serves the limit they are re-eligible for election after 2 years. Vacancies in the legislature are filled by gubernatorial appointment.

State legislators are elected from 35 legislative districts; each multi-member district elects one senator and two representatives. In 33 districts, representatives are elected at-large from the entire district. District 26 and 28, however, are 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 2011.[4] Each district encompasses approximately 23,200 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.

South Dakota legislative districts as of 2005; each district elects one senator and two representatives.

See also

External links



  • Schoenfeld, Fred (Legislative Research Council), (2012). [1] "South Dakota Legislator Reference Book"