Democratic Legislators Recap First Week of 2024 Legislative Session


January 12, 2024

Your South Dakota Democratic Senators and Representatives just wrapped up their first week of the 2024 Legislative Session.

Rep. Erin Healy, Sen. Reynold Nesiba, and Rep. Kameron Nelson outlined the priorities for this session at the first weekly Democratic legislator news conference. This includes making access to healthcare easier, especially in rural areas. The Democratic caucus also said that it strongly opposes a Medicaid work requirement. “We don’t understand why our Republican colleagues continue to make it harder for people to access healthcare,” said Rep. Healy.

Democratic leaders also discussed the childcare crisis that is forcing families across South Dakota to make tough decisions. They also highlighted the bill Rep. Kadyn Wittman introduced to make sure more kids receive free meals at school. “It is a really critical step in order to access nutritious meals for K-12 students,” said. Rep. Healy. “We also know that we are one of 15 states that didn’t take federal funds for the Summer EBT program. We know that when our kids are taken care of, they’re going to live great lives here in South Dakota.”

Rep. Nelson thanked Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Vice President Cyndi Allen-Weddell for delivering the State of the Tribes. He said the South Dakota legislature must pass its own Indian Child Welfare Act following the decision from the US Supreme Court to uphold ICWA. “The key principles of that act are to emphasize protecting the rights of biological parents and extended families,” said Rep. Nelson. “This would also recognize the importance of maintaining a child’s connection with their community and culture.”

Rep. Nelson said that standing for fairness and equality is a priority for Democratic lawmakers, especially when it comes to marginalized groups. This came a day before the Equality, Visibility & Advocacy Day at the South Dakota Capitol. However, Rep. Nelson’s House Commemoration to celebrate the LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit communities was pulled by Republican Rep. Ben Krohmer.

Sen. Nesiba highlighted how federal money from the Biden-Harris Administration is helping South Dakota, especially from the American Rescue Plan. This includes $600 million for water and waste water projects that communities across the state can apply for. “It’s so great that we have these federal revenues that have come into the state over the last couple of years that have allowed us to do that,” said Sen. Nesiba.

“Those dollars have a great potential of serving our rural South Dakotans as far as building out that infrastructure and make sure that our agriculture continues to be competitive across the entire country,” said Rep. Nelson.

Sen. Nesiba said that while there is a lot to celebrate in South Dakota, there are still issues that need to be addressed by the legislature. He said while we have a balanced budget, the state has a deficit when it comes to pre-k education, childcare, and workforce. Sen. Nesiba says the legislature needs to be aware of the impact that politically divisive rhetoric and extremely conservative policies are having on young people and families and their decisions on whether to stay in the state.

For questions, you may contact Dan at or contact the state party office by phone at 605-271-5405 or 605-940-3071.

Paid for by the South Dakota Democratic Party |