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AARP AARP States South Dakota Advocacy

Connect with Lawmakers at Legislative Cracker Barrels

South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre

South Dakota has a "citizen legislature," which refers to the fact that the members of our legislature are residents of the state who often have full-time occupations in addition to being a legislator.

With a part-time legislature and a short legislative session (only 38 legislative days in 2024), things happen fast at the Capitol. That is why AARP South Dakota keeps a close eye on legislative happenings in Pierre so we can keep you informed and provide opportunities for you to contact your lawmakers.

Another great way for you to make your voice heard, along with sending emails or making phone calls, is to attend local legislative coffees or "cracker barrel" sessions held on the weekends when legislators are back in their home districts.

Fun side note - the term "cracker barrel" comes from the days back when townspeople would gather around a cracker barrel in country stores to share informal conversation

Be sure to check with your local Chamber of Commerce or other organizations that might be hosting legislative events in your community. Here are a few locations that have already announced upcoming cracker barrel sessions:

10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Kessler’s Champions Club, 2nd floor of the NSU Barnett Center on the following Saturday mornings:

  • February 10, 2024
  • February 24, 2024

Refreshments will be served. The sessions will also be livestreamed on

Saturday, February 24 at 10 a.m. at the Hanson Community Library.

Belle Fourche
"State of the Community" event featuring speakers from the City, County and School District will be held on Saturday, February 3rd, at the Branding Iron Social Club building. The event begins at 11 a.m.

February 17 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the City-County Government Center, 520 3rd Street (3rd Floor Chambers)

Saturday, February 17 at 1 p.m. at the American Legion.

Saturday, February 24 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Deadwood Mountain Grand.

Saturday, February 17 at 8 a.m. at the Flandreau Public School building.

Hot Springs
Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m. at the Mueller Center.

February 10 and February 24 - Each session starts at 9 a.m. at the Huron City Hall, 239 Wisconsin Avenue SW.

Saturday, February 17 at 9 a.m. - virtually on the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

Friday, March 1 from 12-1 p.m. at the DWU School of Business in Lecture Hall 103.

Saturday, February 17 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. at the Piedmont Valley American Legion Post.

February 10 from 10-11 a.m. at the Community Room, 800 West Dakota Avenue.

Saturday, February 17 at 4:30 p.m. at Pizza Plus.

Rapid City
February 17 and March 2 from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time at the Western Dakota Tech Event Center. A live stream will be available on the Elevate Rapid City Facebook page.

Monday, February 19 at 2 p.m. at the Depot.

Sioux Falls
Sessions start at 10 a.m. at the Hamre Recital Hall (in the Humanities Building) on the Augustana University Campus. Parking lot available on campus just north of the building, with the entrance to the lot off of Grange Ave near 30th Street. Coffee and water will be available in the lobby beginning at 9:30 a.m.

  • February 10 - Districts 6, 12 and 13
  • February 17 - Districts 9, 11 and 15

Saturday, February 17 at 10 a.m. at the Stickney Gym

Saturday, March 2 from 9-11 a.m. at the Meade County Erksine Building

February 10 from 9-11 a.m. at City Hall, 25 Center Street

Saturday, March 9 from 10-11 a.m. at the Codington County Extension Complex.

Wessington Springs
Friday, February 16 at 11 a.m. at the Springs Inn Cafe.

February 10 and March 2 from 10-11 a.m. at the City Commission Room at CMTEA, 1200 West 21st Street (enter through the West Door)

Is your community hosting a cracker barrel event? Email us the information at, and we will update our list.