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The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry bylaws state that our purpose is to promote, foster, and encourage the economic development of the State of South Dakota.  It is a broad goal but simply stated it means that if business has a problem with state laws, we exist to fix those problems.  If our members do not have problems with state regulations and laws, we exist to keep it that way.

The changes in public policy that can hurt businesses come from the legislature, the rule making process and, increasingly, the initiative process.  To illustrate our role, here are some recent victories secured for the entire business community through the leadership and actions of the State Chamber.

Defeat of Initiative #10 – In 2018, the South Dakota Chamber led the No on Amendment Campaign to defeat an amendment that would have created a non-elected tribunal to operate outside of the three branches of government, added eight pages (designed to supersede existing sections) to the State's Constitution.  This tribunal was to be granted authority to write rules controlling business contracts with all levels of government and could have required disclosure of ownership or tax returns for business doing business with the public sector.  Despite being outspent more than three to one, under the leadership of the State Chamber, the campaign's effort resulted in a defeat with 55% of voters casting a NO vote.

The Chamber’s high level of expertise in organizing coalitions, leading initiative campaigns and winning statewide elections is critically important as groups turn to the “semi-direct” democracy of the initiative process to seek public policies that threaten the business environment of South Dakota

 

In 2016, the Chamber led the campaign against equipment operator unions from Minneapolis and Chicago that spent $870,000 on ballot measure IM-23 which, if passed, would have made it legal for unions to charge non-union members an "agency fee" (usually 75% of dues).  The Chamber raised money, conducted debates and produced the ads against IM-23.  The result?  IM-23 was defeated by 79% voting NO.

 

The Chamber functions as an advocate for our members and for all businesses in South Dakota.  This advocacy is done in the legislature, before state agencies and directly with the public in the form of initiative campaigns.  The South Dakota Chamber is not only working to promote business but is the organization that appreciates the role of the public sector and looks for solutions to pressing problems. 

 

While the core mission of the State Chamber has always been to serve as the voice of business during the legislature and to provide the leadership in statewide issues, we also maintain a series of important programs for the benefit of our membership and the betterment of the state of South Dakota.  Here is a reminder of the programs offered.

 

Business Day at the Legislature – Also serving as our annual meeting, Business Day brings local business men and women and community leaders to Pierre for a legislative update, Business Caucus event, an opportunity to observe the legislature in process, meet with state officials, and enjoy the evening’s reception and program.


Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competition – This program was established in 2005 to help South Dakota citizens realize that our state is the best place to start a successful business.  The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve the dream of operating their own business.  Over $59,000 was presented to the 2020 participants of this year’s event.

 

Economic Outlook Seminar – This annual fall event provides members with updated information on the state’s economy and speakers addressing a certain segment of the economy.  In 2020, the topic of focus is the impact of COVID-19.

 

The South Dakota Chamber frequently takes a leadership or partnership approach to a number of other issues as they arise.  In the past, we have hosted a Business Leadership Summit to provide information on federal legislative issues that affect business; partnered with the state in addressing Unemployment Insurance and property taxes issues; and are currently working to address changes to the economic development program that offers tax refunds to very large construction projects.

 

The State Chamber communicates regularly through the publication “Capitol-ism”, providing timely information on legislative activities and actions.  Our quarterly electronic newsletter “Capitol Venture” is distributed to the membership and posted on this website.

Please review the benefits of memberships with the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce at this link:  Member Benefits.

Member testimonials are included at this link: 
Member Testimonials

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