Democratic Leadership Column: Democrats Proposing Real Solutions


February 26, 2024

Minority Leader Sen. Reynold Nesiba

Hello from week seven of the 2024 Legislative Session! You’ve likely heard from Republican leaders about how proud they are of a well-run session this year. What they fail to mention is that everyday South Dakotans don’t care whether we have a short Crossover Day. Most South Dakotans agree with Democrats on our priorities which have been stopped by GOP legislators.

We had bills to raise the minimum wage, make it easier to file an eligible worker compensation claim, and protect warehouse workers. Republicans voted with the business and insurance lobbyists to stop these protections for working class people. We brought bills to help families pay for school lunches, stop child marriage, and protect the welfare of native children. Republicans killed all of these bills as well.

South Dakotans voted to expand Medicaid and now Republican leaders are working to strip that away. They want us to vote on a constitutional amendment before they explain what paperwork and red tape they will require and who will be exempt from their arbitrary health denying rules.

There are people out gathering signatures to restore abortion rights for South Dakotans. Yet, Republicans are passing a resolution to oppose restoration of that essential freedom and conniving to create new mechanisms to undermine the signature gathering process and create chaos in the Secretary of State’s Office.

Almost every Republican in the Legislature campaigns on lowering taxes, yet when given the chance to take the sales tax off of baby formula and peanut butter, they said no again in 2024.

Our teachers are the third-worst paid in the country and student achievement continues to fall. Yet, we’re still talking about providing funding increases to our schools that are below inflation.

We learned this week in appropriations from the Department of Corrections Secretary that 98% of incarcerated women in South Dakota have substance abuse disorder. We’re debating whether to spend a half-billion to a billion dollars on a new prison without seriously discussing South Dakota’s unique felony ingestion law that leads to incarceration for so many people who are struggling with addiction. We are trying to incarcerate our way out of a public health crisis.

If Republicans want to pat themselves on the back for adjourning early on Crossover Day, they’re welcome to so. Democrats are ready to stay here as long as it takes to create solutions to the real problems facing the people of South Dakota.

Thank you,

Minority Leader Sen. Reynold Nesiba District 15

For questions, you can contact the SDDP Executive Director Dan Ahlers 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 |