The Legislature meets at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. It begins its annual session of the second Tuesday of January each year. The legislative session lasts 40 working days in odd-numbered years, and 35 days working days in even numbered years. Generally, the legislature meets every business day until the session ends, excepting on last day which is delayed to allow for consideration of gubernatorialvetoes. In addition, the legislature occasionally meets on Saturdays to make-up for recesses on holidays such as Presidents' Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The legislature selects, from its membership, an Executive Board to tend to administrative matters during the time when the legislature is not in session. The administrative support for the legislature is provided by the Legislative Research Council.
Members of both houses of the state legislature are elected in November of every even-numbered year to serve a two-year term. Since 1992, legislators have been limited to serving four consecutive 2-year terms in a single house, but there is no limit on the number of non-consecutive terms a legislator may serve. However if a legislator serves the limit they are re-eligible for election after 2 years. Vacancies in the legislature are filled by gubernatorial appointment.
State legislators are elected from 35 legislative districts; each district elects one senator and two representatives. In 34 districts, representatives are elected at-large from the entire district. District 28, however, is divided into two house districts, each of which elects one representative. This is meant to ensure greater representation of Native Americans in the legislature.
Legislative districts are redrawn every ten years, following the United States Census. The districts currently in effect were adopted by the legislature in 2001. Each district encompasses approximately 23,200 people.
As a result of a 2005 court order, several legislative districts in the southwest corner of the state were redrawn for the 2006 elections. District 26 was split into two single-member house districts, much like District 28. The state appealed the District Court decision that resulted in these changes, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's ruling. The legislature decided not to appeal the decision.
South Dakota legislative districts as of 2005; each district elects one senator and two representatives.