Refugees, polygamous sect among topics lawmakers could study

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota legislative board is set to choose among more than 20 proposed topics Tuesday to identify issues lawmakers should study ahead of the 2018 legislative session.

Here's a look at some of the suggestions that members of the Legislature's Executive Board will consider:


A study committee would look at the regulation of nonmeandered waters, which are bodies of water - usually smaller in size - that weren't specially designated during government surveys in the late 1800s. It would encompass private property protections, public access to waters and the regulation and management of nonmeandered waters.


Several proposed studies would focus on refugees. One would study the financial impact of resettlement on the South Dakota economy. Others would look at the challenges and issues confronting refugees, examine why they have come to South Dakota and look at the impact of government policies on refugees. A Democratic lawmaker also proposed studying how to improve cross-cultural understanding to more effectively integrate immigrants, refugees and religious minorities into the state's workforce.


The study would examine the population of the compound near Pringle, whether citizens have birth certificates or if a death certificate has ever been issued. It would also ask whether polygamy or sex trafficking are taking place.


The study would look at the future of South Dakota's university system, including the impact of population shifts, the structure of tuition and fees and changing career markets. It would also examine the need for a community college system in South Dakota.


Legislators have also proposed tax-related studies on topics ranging from property tax exemptions to laying the groundwork for an extensive study of South Dakota's tax system.


The study would examine the impact of early childhood education in South Dakota, the potential and opportunity of state funding of pre-kindergarten and examine the best early childhood programs in other states.


The proposal would look at issues facing rail expansion, the status of state-owned rail and how to serve underserved areas.