Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Lyft drivers picking up and dropping off passengers within Deadwood’s city limits could face a high fee, reports KOTA News. An ordinance in Deadwood allows for just five taxi companies to operate within its city limits, and Lyft is not named as one of those companies. As a result, a Lyft driver who both picks up and drops off a passenger within Deadwood city limits could face a fine up to $500. Lyft passengers are still able to request rides into Deadwood from outside of its city limits, as well as rides from Deadwood to another location.

Deadwood City Commissioner David Ruth noted that an additional taxi license would need to be added to the city ordinance in order for Lyft to provide services within Deadwood’s city limits. In nearby Rapid City, council members revised ordinances in order to allow the ride sharing service to operate.

To read more news about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

On February 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation affirming the March 2, 1889 Act passed by the United States Congress which reduced the Great Sioux Reservation by 9.2 million acres. The president’s affirmation also created the boundaries of the Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Standing Rock reservations.

The creation of the aforementioned reservations followed two additional and substantial land transactions. A Congressional Act passed on February 28, 1877 diminished the Great Sioux Reservation—which was established through the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty—from its original 60 million acres to approximately 22 million acres. In the passage of 30 years, the Lakota and Dakota tribes retained only 18.3% of the lands allocated to them through treaties and Acts of of Congress. Approximately 9 million acres outside of the reservation boundaries were then opened up for public purchase and homesteading.

In addition to noting the boundaries of each of the newly established reservations, President Harrison’s proclamation issued a warning to individuals who planned to settle upon the reservation lands. Individuals were also warned against “interfering with the occupancy” by tribal members on tribal lands. However, the proclamation did not prescribe any consequences for individuals who chose to violate these provisions.

Lakota and Dakota people have long disputed how the federal government opened treaty land to settlement, especially in the Black Hills region. The earliest cases against the government were brought up in the 1920s and continued until 1980, when the issue bubbled up to the U.S. Supreme Court. In United States vs. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Court ruled that the government had not adequately compensated the Lakota people in exchange for the land it had taken. The Court offered the value of the land in 1877 as well as 5% interest each year thereafter. A full return of the land instead of a monetary settlement was not offered.

Published in Home

On February 12, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender hosted the final public forum concerning the future of the Barnett Arena prior to a council meeting in which members are expected to make a decision on two options for the arena. As reported by KOTA News, the council will hold a special session on February 26th in which it is expected to decide on one of two options for the arena. One option, at an approximate cost of $25 million, would involve remodeling the arena. The second option of rebuilding the arena would cost approximately $130 million.

Councilmember Ritchie Nordstrom as well as Mayor Allender noted that while there is a perception among residents that the remodel or rebuilding of the arena will be funded through a property tax, that is not the case. Funding for a new facility would partially be derived from the Rapid City Vision Fund, as well as additional funds set aside by the city council.

To read more news about the Barnett Arena, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

At the request of the Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association on behalf of 13 Deadwood hotel owners, the Deadwood City Commission recently approved the creation of a new business improvement district (BID). As reported by the Black Hills Pioneer, BID 8 will consist of a hotel occupancy rate proposed at $2 per rented room, per night.

The next step in formally establishing the new district is a public hearing and resolution for the consideration and approval by the Deadwood City Commission. Copies of the resolution must be made available to the businesses within BID 8. The BID process is likely to be completed by May, but until then, no taxes will be collected.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

Published in News

A major renovation is planned for the Pennington County Jail, reports KOTA News. Currently, the facility operates with a laundry room with dryers which are nearly 30 years old and intended to serve an inmate population one-third of what it is today. The facility’s kitchen also struggles to produce the requisite meals for the facility.

The Pennington County Commission recently approved county staff to apply for a rezoning of blocks surrounding the jail to allow for a renovation of the kitchen and laundry facilities. The renovations will allow the facility to operate more efficiently and will result in an overall cost-savings for the county over time.

To read more about Pennington County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

Published in News

Absentee ballots for the changes to water rates in Rapid City became available for residents on February 5th, reports KOTA News. While the Rapid City Council had previously approved a water rate increase through resolution, political interest group Citizens for Liberty gathered sufficient signatures to place the matter to a public vote. Holding the public vote will cost the city approximately $60,000, according to the Rapid City Journal.  

Although the matter is going to a public vote, the Rapid City Council may still be able to adjust the water rates. The question posed in the special election is whether or not the council can adjust water rates via resolution rather than ordinance. A “no” vote would indicate that council cannot adjust the rates via resolution, but it would still be able to amend the original ordinance to adjust the rates.

Early votes concerning the water rate can be cast at the Pennington County Auditor’s Office until the day before the election. The general election will be held on February 20th.  For more information on Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 15:28

Rapid City Indian School Lands

For the last several years, a group of local researchers have been examining the history of the Rapid City Indian School and the surrounding property. For a full overview of their preliminary findings, including a history of the Rapid City Indian School, please see document attached below, entitled "An Inconvenient Truth: The History Behind the Sioux San Lands and West Rapid City," which ran in the Rapid City Journal in the spring of 2017. Over the next several months, the researchers will be uploading their documents to the BHKN. The first batch appears below.


Published in Civic Life & History

Several security updates will soon make their way to the Butte County Courthouse, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The courthouse will soon have upgraded doors, panic buttons, and several surveillance cameras on its premises after a vote of approval from the Butte County Commission.

Las year, the South Dakota Legislature appropriated funds for security needs at county courthouses across the state. The appropriation provided fifty percent match funding for security improvement projects. Nearly $300,000 was allocated across 26 counties in the state for security updates at county courthouses. Butte County received $45,000 for updates to its courthouse.

For more information on Butte County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

Published in News

From its earliest days, Hot Springs was known for the warm, healing springs meandering through the town. However, Hot Springs was not always known as Hot Springs. Prior to its current name, the town was known as “Minnekahta,” which is the Lakota word for “warm water.”

On January 31, 1883, the town was officially named Hot Springs and the name Minnekahta abandoned. The late 1800s was a  time of many changes for the Southern Hills town, including a dispute concerning whether or not it would become the county seat for Fall River. Nearby Oelrichs was also determined to be in the running. However, after a vote was held and fraud charges leveled, Hot Springs ultimately won the title.

Choosing a location for the county courthouse in Hot Springs proved to be even more of a challenge. At the time of the designation as county seat, Hot Springs was just three-quarters of a mile long and divided between upper town, where many of the resort-like spas were located, and lower town, where many of the common businesses were located. Some argued that the courthouse could not be located in upper town, as it was technically located outside of city limits.

Ultimately, local entrepreneur Fred Evans donated a plot of land in upper town and won a $23,000 bid to construct the courthouse there. Although the building was completed in 1891, employees were not authorized to work in the building for nearly two years due to pending litigation concerning the building’s location.

To learn more about the history of Hot Springs, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

Published in Home

The Oglala Sioux Tribe recently selected Scott James to fill the position of attorney general, reports KOTA News. James was previously a prosecutor for Kiowa County in Kansas, where he was elected to serve two terms. This will be James’ first time working as an attorney in Indian Country.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Attorney General position has been vacant since March 2017. The position was previously held be Tatewin Means.

To read more about the Oglala Sioux Tribe, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

Published in News

The Deadwood City Commission recently granted its approval for Mayor Turbiville to enter into a contract with a company to conduct background investigations on potential employees. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the city council approved the mayor's request to enter into a contract with the private company at its January 2 meeting.

Full-time employees will receive a more thorough background search with a total cost of $110 per search, while part-time and seasonal employees will receive a lower level background search at a cost of $44 per search. City officials are still determining the full details of each level of search, as well as the development of policies and procedures for conducting the searches.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

In 2017, Lawrence County held a record number of inmates in its jail, according to KOTA News. The Lawrence County Jail can hold a maximum of 51 inmates. An average of 42 inmates were incarcerated in the jail throughout 2017, and a total of 48 were held during the month of December.

While the facility was near capacity in December 2017, the county did not need to use overflow facilities. Lawrence County Sheriff Brian Dean indicated that his office is examining whether or not 2017 was an outlier or a sign of increasing incarceration rates. Dean also indicated that he may consider seeking assistance from an outside specialist after seeking feedback from the Lawrence County Commission.

To read more news from Lawrence County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News
Saturday, 13 January 2018 22:18

2018 South Dakota State Legislature

As the South Dakota Legislature begins the 2018 session, you can find the information you need to understand the legislative process on this page, including what laws are being proposed and how you can make sure your voice is heard. 

South Dakota Legislature - Legislative Research Council

The official website of the South Dakota Legislature. Find information on past legislative sessions, current legislators, and South Dakota laws, and read the bills being discussed.

2018 Legislative Session Calendar

Track upcoming hearings and votes on the Legislature's official calendar.

Television and Radio Coverage

South Dakota Public Broadcasting provides coverage of floor sessions and committee meetings.

Want to contact your representative?You may also e-mail your legislator using the link in their provided profile or leave a phone message by calling either the House or Senate lobby:

Senate Lobby: 605-773-3821

House Lobby: 605-773-3851 

Crackerbarrel Session Information Rapid City: January 27, February 10, February 24, and March 3
The January 27 and February 24 meetings are 9-11 AM at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology New Classroom Building.
The February 10 and March 3 meetings are 9-11 AM at the Western Dakota Tech Event Center.
Crackerbarrels are free and open to the public. 


Who are my legislators?

Elected Officials information from the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce 

Pages related to legislation 

Coming soon Rapid City Legislator Profiles (Senator is listed first for each district. Names link to their Legislative Research Council profile. Where available, the legislator's Rapid City Journal profile is linked as well)

District 32

Solano, Alan

Conzet, Kristin

McPherson, Sean

District 33 

Jensen, PhilRCJ

Howard, Taffy

Johnson, David

District 34 

Partridge, Jeffrey

Diedrich, Michael

Lust, David

District 35

Haveryly, Terri - RCJ

Campbell, Blaine

DiSanto, Lynn 

Bill tracking landing page

How an Idea Becomes Law

Lobbying and Campaign Finance

The National Institute on Money in State Politics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides access to state data on campaign finance.


News Archive of Legislature articles

Residents of Rapid City listened to Mayor Steve Allender present two options for the future of the Barnett Arena at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. According to KOTA News, one option is to build an entirely new arena with a cost estimated between $100-$130 million. The other option involves renovations, which are estimated at $25 million.

A special meeting to discuss and vote on options for the arena will be held by the Rapid City Council on February 26. Additional public presentations on the future of the Barnett Arena will be available through May 2018.

For more information on the history of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

Governor Daugaard is requesting a work requirement from the Trump Administration for some of the state’s Medicaid recipients. As reported by the Rapid City Journal, the change would apply to approximately 4,500 low-income parents without a disability who are also not caring for a child less than a year old. If approved, the proposal would be piloted in Minnehaha and Pennington Counties.

In 2015, the Medicaid population in South Dakota was comprised by 118,000 individuals. Of that population, approximately 68% were children, according to the South Dakota Health Care Solutions Coalition’s Interim Report and Recommendations. Disabled adults comprised 20% of the population and low-income families comprised just 11% of the total Medicaid population. According to the executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, low-income parents are not a primary factor in the total cost of the Medicaid program.

To read more about health and wellness issues in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

Spearfish set a new record for building valuations in 2017 at $52 million, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The previous record was set in 2014 at $49 million.

Commercial as well as residential building projects contributed to last year’s valuation. For residential permits, 79 new buildings as well as 21 manufactured homes were valued at $24,348,948. Several new commercial properties, including one currently under construction on Main Street and Jackson Boulevard, were valued at $14,952,317.  Over 60 commercial alterations and additions were valued at $8,312,103.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

With a petition to annex 1,020 acres from Frawley Ranches approved by the City Commission, Deadwood may soon expand past the intersection of Highway 85 and Polo Loop Road to the Frawley Ranch courtyard barns. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the annexation would include 60 acres for outdoor activities, including soccer, baseball and walking paths.

The Deadwood City Commission will now need to work up an annexation and developer agreement. Lawrence County and state officials will also certify the petition to ensure that the annexation is in compliance with county and state law. If the annexation is in compliance with state law, the city commission will adopt a resolution to annex the acreage, bringing it under Deadwood’s jurisdiction.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is considering revising its policies regarding the distribution of hunting licenses, reports the Rapid City Journal. Currently, GFP issues approximately 46,000 licenses to over 71,000 deer hunters. The licences are issued via a lottery system as there are more hunters than licenses available.

Under the present system, hunters can apply for deer licenses in each of the state’s deer hunting units, which are determined based on carrying capacity and desires of both hunters and non-hunters. While GFP has developed three new proposals, it has yet to release details from each of the proposed plans. More information will become available following a study with a series of focus groups.

To read more about issues pertaining to the environment and conservation, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

Public presentations have been scheduled to discuss the future of the Barnett Arena in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, reports KOTA News. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender will host presentations on January 11 at 6:30 p.m. and on January 20th at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center’s LaCroix Hall A.

Mayor Allender will answer questions during the presentation in addition to providing a tour of the Barnett Arena. Similar presentations were held in September and October of 2017.

To read more about the history of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s corresponding issue hub page or digital history archive.

Published in News
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 22:24

Rapid City Voters to Decide on Water Rate Hike

The Rapid City Council recently set a special election date for a vote on increasing the city’s water rate, reports the Rapid City Journal. The special election was set after a petition collected enough signatures to refer the increased water rate to public vote. A total of 5% of registered Rapid City voters are required to sign a petition in order to refer measure to a public vote.

Under the Rapid City Council’s proposal, the water rate would have increased by 9-10 percent in 2018 when compared to 2017. For the following four years, the rate would increase by approximately 8.5 percent. Based on an average use of 5,600 gallons per month, a single-family residence currently pays $30.72 per month. Next year, the same family would pay $33.74 per month.

The city proposed the water rate increase due to the poor functionality of its Mountain View water treatment facility, which has been called “functionally obsolete” by Rapid City’s Public Works Department Director. The facility was constructed in the 1960s, which makes finding replacement parts difficult at best.

To read more news from Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News
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