Difference between revisions of "South Dakota State Senate"

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Revision as of 13:10, 10 June 2013

South Dakota State Senate

Seal of South Dakota.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   4 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 8, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Matthew Michels, (R)
Majority Leader:   Russell Olson, (R)
Minority Leader:   Jason Frerichs, (D)
Members:  35
   Democratic Party (8)
Republican Party (26)
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art III, Sec 1, South Dakota Constitution
Salary:   $12,000/2 years + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (35 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (35 seats)
Redistricting:  South Dakota Legislature has control
The South Dakota Senate is the upper house of the South Dakota State Legislature.

The senate consists of 35 state senators who serve two-year terms with term limits.[1]

Each state senator represents an average of 23,262 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[2] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 21,567 residents.[3]

As of May 2013, South Dakota is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.


Article III of the South Dakota Constitution establishes when the South Dakota State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 7 of Article III states that the Legislature is to meet in regular session each year on the second Tuesday of January.

The South Dakota Constitution also contains provisions concerning special sessions of the Legislature. Section 3 of Article IV allows the Governor of South Dakota to convene a special session of the Legislature. Additionally, Section 31 of Article III allows for a special session to be convened by the presiding officers of both legislative houses upon the written request of two-thirds of the members of each house.


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through March 25.

Major issues

Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) has asked legislators to focus on reforming the state's criminal justice system. They will also have to approve a new, balanced budget.[4]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the House was in session from January 10 through March 19.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through March 28. [5]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 12 to March 29.[6]



See also: South Dakota State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of South Dakota State Senate will be held in South Dakota on November 6, 2012. A total of 35 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was March 27, 2012.

South Dakota state senators are subject to term limits and may not serve more than four two-year terms. In 2012, 3 state senators will be termed-out.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: South Dakota State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of South Dakota's State Senate were held in South Dakota on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 30, 2010. The primary election day was June 8, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $1,090,800 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [7]


To be eligible to serve in the South Dakota Senate, a candidate must be:[8]

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of filing
  • 21 years old at the filing deadline time
  • A two-year resident of South Dakota at the filing deadline time
  • May not have been convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime; may not have illegally taken "public moneys"
  • A qualified voter. A qualified voter is someone who is:
* A U.S. citizen
* Reside in South Dakota
* At least 18 years old old on or before the next election
* Not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction which included imprisonment, served or suspended, in an adult penitentiary system
* Not be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law
* Not have served 4 consecutive terms


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures:

Under the state constitution, the Governor is responsible for appointing a replacement in the event a vacancy happens in the State Senate. There are no deadlines set in the state constitution to when the Governor has to fill the vacancy[9].

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The South Dakota legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the South Dakota Term Limits Act in 1992. That initiative said that South Dakota senators are subject to term limits of no more than four consecutive two-year terms, or eight consecutive years. State senators can run again after they have been out-of-office for a term.

The South Dakota State Legislature has tried on more than one occasion, each time unsuccessfully, to persuade the state's voters to repeal term limits. The most recent such failed attempt was when Amendment J lost in 2008 by 75-25%.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2000.[10]


The Legislature is tasked with drawing and passing new legislative maps, which the Governor can veto. The maps must be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia per Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

2010 census

Census data was delivered to South Dakota on February 11, 2011. The state's population grew 7.9 percent to 814,180, making it the 25th fastest-growing state in the country.[11] On October 24, 2011, the state legislature passed HB 1001, which was signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard on October 25, and precleared on January 19, 2012.[12]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the South Dakota Legislature are paid $12,000/two-year term. Legislators receive $110/day per diem. Rates are set by the legislature.[13]


South Dakota does not provide pensions for legislators.[14]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

South Dakota legislators assume office the first day of session after election (Jan. 11).

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 8
     Republican Party 25
     Vacancy 2
Total 35

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the South Dakota State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the South Dakota State Senate.PNG


The Lieutenant Governor acts as President of the Senate. 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.

Current leadership

Current Leadership, South Dakota State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Matthew Michels Ends.png Republican
President Pro Tempore of the Senate Bob Gray Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Jason Frerichs Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Current members, South Dakota State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Jason Frerichs Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
2 Chuck Welke Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
3 Al Novstrup Ends.png Republican 2009
4 Tim Begalka Ends.png Republican 2011
5 Ried Holien Ends.png Republican 2011
6 Ernie Otten Jr. Ends.png Republican 2013
7 Larry Tidemann Ends.png Republican 2011
8 Russell Olson Ends.png Republican 2009
9 Deb Peters Ends.png Republican 2011
10 Shantel Krebs Ends.png Republican 2011
11 David Omdahl Ends.png Republican 2013
12 R. Blake Curd Ends.png Republican 2013
13 Phyllis Heineman Ends.png Republican 2011
14 Deb Soholt Ends.png Republican 2013
15 Angie Buhl Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
16 Dan Lederman Ends.png Republican 2011
17 Tom Jones Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
18 Jean Hunhoff Ends.png Republican 2007
19 Bill Van Gerpen Ends.png Republican 2013
20 Mike Vehle Ends.png Republican 2009
21 Billie H. Sutton Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
22 Jim White Ends.png Republican 2013
23 Corey Brown Ends.png Republican 2009
24 Jeff Monroe Ends.png Republican 2013
25 Tim Rave Ends.png Republican 2011
26 Larry J. Lucas Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 James Bradford Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
28 Ryan Maher Ends.png Republican 2007
29 Larry Rhoden Ends.png Republican 2009
30 Bruce Rampelberg Ends.png Republican 2011
31 Bob Ewing Ends.png Republican 2013
32 Stanford Adelstein Ends.png Republican 2009
33 Phil Jensen Ends.png Republican 2009
34 Craig Tieszen Ends.png Republican 2009
35 Mark Kirkeby Ends.png Republican 2013

Senate Committees

The South Dakota State Senate has 13 standing committees.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, South Dakota’’
Partisan breakdown of the South Dakota legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the South Dakota State Senate for two years while the Republicans were the majority for 20 years. The South Dakota State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. South Dakota was under Republican trifectas for the final 19 years of the study.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of South Dakota, the South Dakota State Senate and the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of South Dakota state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links