Lobbyist Registration

SDCL 2-12-1 defines a lobbyist as "Any person who employs any other person to act as a lobbyist to seek the introduction of legislation or to promote, oppose, or influence in any manner the passage by the Legislature of any legislation affecting the special interests of any agency, individual, association, or business, as distinct from those of the whole people of the state, or to act in any manner as a lobbyist in connection with any such legislation, shall register the name of the person so employed or agreed to be employed, with the secretary of state, to be included in a directory of registered lobbyists as hereinafter provided. The lobbyist shall also register with the secretary of state. Upon the termination of such employment prior to the adjournment sine die of a legislative session, such fact shall be entered opposite the name of any person so employed, either by the employer or employee."

Additional statutes regarding lobbyists may be found at SDCL 2-12.

Statutory Regulations Regarding Gifts from Lobbyists

Through the enrollment of House Bill 1073, the following statutory changes will go into effect July 1, 2017:

SDCL 2-12-15. Definition of terms in §§2-12-15 to 2-12-19

Terms used in §§2-12-15 to 2-12-19, inclusive, mean:

  1. "Immediate family," the spouse or any minor children living at home;
  2. "Lobbyist," any person who is registered pursuant to § 2-12-1; and
  3. "Principal," any person or organization as defined in § 12-27-1 that employs or otherwise compensates a lobbyist or authorizes a lobbyist to lobby on behalf of that person or organization. A person's membership in or employment by an organization that employs or compensates a lobbyist does not qualify such person as a principal.

SDCL 2-12-16. Limitation on gifts from or through lobbyists--Violation as misdemeanor No public official and no member of the immediate family of a public official may accept from any lobbyist or principal any gifts with a cumulative value greater than one hundred dollars during any calendar year. Beginning on January 1, 2019, and again on January first of each year thereafter, the cumulative value applicable in this section shall be adjusted by the index factor as provided in §2-12-19, and the adjusted cumulative value for the year shall be published on the secretary of state's website. Any person who knowingly and intentionally violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

SDCL 2-12-17. Public official defined for purposes of §§2-12-15 to 2-12-19, inclusive, the term, public official, means:

  1. Any person holding a statewide office as defined in §12-27-1, including any person who has been elected or appointed but who has not yet assumed office;
  2. Any head of an agency in the executive branch, including any person who has been appointed but who has not yet assumed office; or
  3. Any member or member-elect of the Legislature.

SDCL 2-12-18. Gift defined for purposes of §§2-12-15 to 2-12-19, inclusive, the term, gift, means anything of value, including any object, money, property, or service, that is given without compensation or remuneration. The term does not include:

  1. Anything of value for which the recipient paid an equal or greater value;
  2. Any contribution to a political committee that is regulated by the Federal Elections Commission or under chapter 12-27;
  3. Any service or event to assist a public official in the performance of official duties, including any cost to educate or inform the public official on matters of public policy; any advice, information, consultation, or communication regarding actual or proposed legislation; any service to constituents or to promote the economic development of the state;
  4. Any food, entertainment, or beverage provided for immediate consumption;
  5. Anything of value exchanged between immediate family members;
  6. The cost of admission to any state-owned facility or state-sponsored industry or event, if provided by the sponsoring state agency, political subdivision, or publicly funded institution
  7. Anything of value received due to membership in a group, the majority of whose membership is not comprised of public officials, if the object or other thing of value is also given to other members of that group or to other members who also serve as officers or directors of that group; or
  8. Any scholarship, prize, or financial support awarded or supported by a principal for a program related to education, and widely available and generally awarded to qualifying members of the public, the majority of whom are not comprised of public officials or the immediate family of public officials.

SDCL 2-12-19. Index factor defined For the purposes of §§2-12-15 to 2-12-19, inclusive, the index factor is the annual percentage change in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers as published by the United States Department of Labor for the year before the year immediately preceding the year of adjustment.

SDCL §12-27-46 be repealed.

Online Registration System

Lobbyists must register before Employers can access the system.

The Online Registration System assists you by:

  • Allowing easy access to register ahead of session.
  • Processing fees online via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express).
  • Streamlining the registration process by entering the lobbyist name only once for multiple employers.
  • Providing employers email notification of lobbyist registration with a link to the authorization form.
  • Providing easy management of employers or lobbyists.
  • Recording expenses as you go.
  • Submitting lobbyist/employer expense reports online at the completion of the legislative session.
  • Ordering a lost badge replacement.

For the Lobbyist Registration Guide, click here.

Downloadable Forms

The Secretary of State’s office accepts paper filings for lobbyist registration, employer authorization or lobbyist/employer expense reports.

Lobbyist Registration Form

Employer Authorization Form

Lobbyist Expense Report

Employer Expense Report

Return the completed form(s) to:
South Dakota Secretary of State
Lobbyist Registration
500 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 204, Pierre, SD 57501

Registered Lobbyist Directory

As per SDCL 2-12-2, for the public directory of registered lobbyists by Legislative Session, click here.

Contact Information

If you need assistance, please contact the Lobbyist Administrator at (605) 773-3537, email at or stop by our office during normal business hours.