Members of the South Dakota Legislature are accessible during legislative session. They regularly hold public meetings in their district and all have laptops for access to legislative information and communication. There are several ways to communicate with legislators.
- Visit with them in their district.Throughout the session legislators return home on weekends and visit with constituents. This happens informally and formally at public gatherings such as legislative coffees and crackerbarrels. They are publicized through local media and various interest groups. Weekends provide you with the opportunity to share your ideas and views on the topics before the Legislature.
- E-mail. Each legislator has an e-mail address. These can be found at the LRC website.
- Fax. Faxes can be sent to legislators at (605) 773-6806. Be sure to include the legislator’s name on the fax.
- Phone. Phone messages can be sent to legislators by calling (605)773-3851 for representatives and (605) 773-3821 for senators.
- Distributing information to legislators during session via their legislative mailboxes. Information can be distributed through the legislators’ mailboxes on the south side of the third floor of the Capitol between the two chambers. Drop off your information with the individual who is staffing the mailroom who will place it in the designated boxes. This does not require any special approval.
- Placing items directly on the legislators’ desks. This requires approval of the secretary of the Senate or the chief clerk of the House. An alternative is for a legislator to place the items on the desks under that legislator’s name.
- Visiting with legislators in chamber. There are times each morning, usually before 11 a.m., when anyone can go on the floor of the House or Senate to visit with a legislator.
- Visiting with legislators outside of the chamber. Legislators are often in the halls of the Capitol, which offers an opportunity to visit about a specific piece of legislation.
- Testifying at a legislative committee. All bills must be heard by the committee to which they are assigned. People can contribute written testimony or appear at the assigned time and present views on a bill, for or against, in person. When testifying, an individual must sign in on a list by the door giving their name and organization (if any) that they represent. Those representing an organization are considered a lobbyist and must be registered as such. Information on this can be found on the Secretary of State’s website. If you are not representing an organization, you would sign in as ‘self’.