Executive Branch

The governor is the chief executive of the state and is elected to a four-year term in nonpresidential election years. The candidates for governor and lieutenant governor of each party must run as a team. South Dakota law also permits independent candidates to file for the general election. The governor and lieutenant governor are limited to two successive terms in office. They must be residents of the state for at least two years, citizens of the Unites States and at least twenty-one years old.

While the only specific prescribed duty of the lieutenant governor is to preside over the state senate, the South Dakota Constitution provides that the lieutenant governor "shall perform the duties and exercise the powers that may be delegated to him by the governor."

While preceding governors have made changes in the organizational structure, legislative action has also dictated some of the organizational patterns. At the present time, the executive branch of state government that is controlled by the governor operates through the following departments and bureaus, each headed by a cabinet-level secretary or commissioner:

  • Bureau of Administration
  • Bureau of Finance & Management
  • Bureau of Information & Telecommunications
  • Bureau of Human Resources
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Corrections
  • Education
  • Game, Fish and Parks
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Labor and Regulation
  • Military
  • Public Safety
  • Revenue
  • Social Services
  • Tourism
  • Transportation
  • Tribal Relations
  • Veterans Affairs

The Board of Regents is the governing board named in the South Dakota Constitution to oversee the six state institutions of higher learning and the schools for the hearing and visually handicapped.