PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — COVID-19 has led South Dakota legislators to turn to a virtual meeting to gather public comments from tribal areas, as they draw election-district boundaries for the coming 10 years.
The tribal-areas subcommittee meeting is set for Tuesday, September 28, starting at 3 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. MT. People intending to provide testimony should contact the Legislative Research Council office at firstname.lastname@example.org. and send comments in advance or arrange to make them by phone or video link.
Representative Spencer Gosch and Senator Troy Heinert co-chair the subcommittee of House and Senate members. The group had planned an earlier meeting at Fort Thompson on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. But it was canceled at tribal leaders’ request because of COVID-19
That led to the remote option. “The tribes reached out to us to do virtual,” Gosch said.
The tribal-areas meeting comes the same day as the Sioux Falls subcommittee meets at 6 p.m. CT Tuesday at Southeast Technical College, room HUB30, HUB Building, 2001 N. Career Avenue.
The full House and Senate committees on redistricting will also provide opportunities in October as part of a travel plan that takes them to six communities to hear public comments, including several locations either on or adjacent to Indian reservations. Those meetings are:
October 11, 8 a.m. MT, Rapid City, at Black Hills State University-Rapid City campus, room 112, 4300 Cheyenne Boulevard.
October 11, 4 p.m. CT, Rosebud Casino, entertainment center, 30421 U.S. Hwy. 83.
October 12, 8 a.m. CT, Mobridge, Wrangler Inn, conference room, 820 W. Grand Crossing.
October 12, 1 p.m. CT, Aberdeen, at Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center, 225 Third Avenue SE.
October 12, 6 p.m. CT, Watertown, Lake Area Technical College student center, 1201 Arrow Avenue NE.
October 13, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. CT, Sioux Falls, Southeast Technical College, FADM room 186, 4891 N. Career Avenue.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years using results of the latest U.S. census. The Legislature plans a special session November 8. The constitutional deadline for completion is December 1. The new districts will be used for the 2022 House and Senate elections.
The House and Senate panels next meet jointly Thursday, September 28, at 10 a.m. CT at the Capitol in room 414. Joint meetings are planned for October 18, to discuss what was learned from the public tour, and for October 25, to propose the final maps for the full Legislature’s approval at the November 8 special session.