How to Use the Legislative Research Council Web Site to Research Legislative Issues
Here are some ideas for you in your search for information on the important issues facing the South Dakota Legislature.
Searching By Subject
If you are interested in searching for bills relating to a certain subject area, there are two ways to do it. The first is to click on Current Legislative Session and then on Subject Index. Scroll through the list of subjects provided and click on each one of interest to you. Clicking on a subject will provide you with a list of bills that have been introduced on that topic. If you want to go further and examine any of the bills listed, click on the number of the b ill, for example HB 1008. This will allow you to examine the status report of the bill, or how it has progressed in the legislative process. It will also allow you to retrieve the bill in full-text if you scroll to the bottom of the bill status report.
If none of the subject headings seem quite right, you may also search for bills by keyword. To do this, simply back out of the Subject Index and click on Bills. From there, choose Text Search. This will allow you to enter keywords that you think may appear in bills of interest to you. You may enter one word, several words, or a phrase in quites. Using the quotes allows you to search for a series of words in that particular sequence only. Click on Search, and the numbers of any bills containing those words will appear on the screen.
Searching By Bill Number
If you have the number of a bill, tracking it is very easy. Simply click on Current Legislative Session and then on Bills. From there, select Quick Find. Then, simply enter the bill number (using numbers only) and click on Get Bill(s). It is important to remember, however, that if you are in search of a resolution, you will need to include the proper prefix, such as HCR or SJR. Once you’ve entered the number, the bill status report will appear showing you how the bill has progressed in the process. You may also scroll to the bottom and print a copy of the bill in its original form or an amended form. For detailed instructions on following a specific bill through the legislative process, see How to Compile Legislative History Using the Legislative Research Council Web Site.
Searching By Member
If you want to review the bills introduced by a particular member of the Legislature, simply click on Current Legislative Session and then on Members. This will take you to a screen listing the members of the SD Legislature in alphabetical order. Senate members appear on the left and members of the House of Representatives appear on the right. From there, simply scroll down until you come to the name of the member of interest to you, and click on it. That member’s picture will appear. Above the picture, find the words, Bills Sponsored, and select that phrase. This will provide you with a list of bills that member has sponsored. The list includes both bills that the member has prime sponsored and the ones the member has co-sponsored. (The prime sponsor initiates the bill; co-sponsors join the prime sponsor in endorsing the bill.) Clicking on any of the bill numbers listed will lead you to the bill status report and the text of the bill, if desired.
If you want to monitor the activities of a certain committee, click on Current Legislative Session and then choose Chamber or Committee. Senate committees are listed on the left, and the House committees are listed on the right. Click on the one of interest to you. The names of the members of the committee will appear. Above those names is a string of links. Click on those to obtain such information as when and where the committee meets and what bills the committee is sponsoring. You can also find the agendas that list the bills the committee is expected to hear at a particular meeting, along with the minutes of committee meetings that have already taken place. The agendas and minutes are listed by date.
If you want to listen to a recording of a committee meeting, you can do so by visiting the South Dakota Public Broadcasting site at http://www.sdpb.org/statehouse/. You have the option of llistening to an entire meeting or else to the debate on one particular bill depending on which entries you select.
Tracking Floor Activities
If you want to monitor the actions that take place on the Senate and House floors, click on Current Legislative Session and then choose Chamber or Committee. From there, click on either Senate or House. If you want to see what bills might be acted upon during the next day’s session in that house, choose Calendars and then the appropriate date. The calendar for that date will appear. Similarly, if you want to view the actions that took place in either house on a previous day, choose Journals and the appropriate date.
If your computer is equipped with speakers, you may also listen to floor debates by visiting the South Dakota Public Broadcasting site athttp://www.sdpb.org/statehouse/ and clicking on the appropriate date or bill number. Or, look for the little symbol (at left) that appears to the right of certain entries in a bill’s status report that pertain to actions taken on the floors. Clicking on those symbols will also allow you to listen to the debate surrounding that particular bill.
Locating Existing Laws
If you want to search existing South Dakota law, go to the main LRC page and click on Codified Laws. From there, you may search the laws by keyword or retrieve them by chapter or section number.
If you know the year in which a certain law was enacted, you may also retrieve it by clicking on Session Laws. The Session Laws are a compilation of all the laws that pass during a given year. They are published annually, and the most recent editions are available online. The Session Laws are easy to search by keyword. If you know the bill number, but not the Session Law chapter number, you can refer to the conversion table. There is also a table of amended, enacted, and repealed sections that allows you to examine the portions of SD law that have been affected by the laws enacted during that year.
Finding Other Legislative Information
To find other information about the South Dakota Legislature, click on General Information. There you will find the Guide to the Legislature that describes the legislative process in detail. You will find lists of legislators by the year in which they will become subject to term limit restrictions. There are also district maps outlining the legislative districts in the state.
For information more specific to the current session, click on Current Legislative Session and then General. This will lead you to a wealth of information including lists of the legislators complete with addresses and phone numbers, a list of the members of each committee, a list of legislative leaders, and more. It also includes a telephone listing and the names of those who are registered lobbyists.
Receiving Additional Assistance
This guide is intended to answer the most common questions that arise when new users visit the LRC site. However, if you have additional questions, please feel free to call us at (605) 773-3251 or send your questions email@example.com. Also, if you have any comments about the site or how we can make it better, we’d like to hear those too.