SD Legislature Redistricting Committees Hold First Meetings


      The South Dakota lawmakers tasked with redrawing legislative districts based on last year’s census data plan to focus on the state’s two largest cities, as well as its Native American reservations. 

      Both the House and Senate committees that are redrawing legislative boundaries met on Tuesday and decided to create sub-committees tasked with gathering input from Sioux Falls, Rapid City and “tribal areas.” 

       Lawmakers are readying to receive detailed data from the 2020 Census, develop boundary lines for legislative districts, and approve them by Dec. 1. A special session of the legislature to set the new district boundaries is scheduled for November 8 and 9. 

      The general census report shows South Dakota’s population has grown almost 9% since 2010, which means each legislative district must include about 2,500 more constituents than it had a decade ago.

       Since the population growth has been centered in urban areas while rural areas have lost population, the likelihood is that rural district will grow larger in size 

     District 32 State Senator Helene Duhamel of Rapid City says every district will look a little different with the probability that one rural district will be eliminated and that designation moved to a new district in Sioux Falls.

         Duhamel is part of the Senate Redistricting Committee, which had was told by Native Americans involved in the process that it’s important to consult with the tribal governments on the process.