South Dakota lawmakers met for their first legislative coffee of the session on Saturday. While several issues were discussed, the improvement of highways and bridges was a big topic on the minds of legislators and citizens.

But it's a bit of a divided issue right now, especially on how the state would pay for improved infrastructure.

Democratic Representative Paula Hawks represents District Nine and says South Dakota can no longer put the poor condition of the state's infrastructure on the back burner. But Republican Representative Steve Westra of District 13 believes this is a big issue that needs to be thoroughly debated, and will take some time to play out.

Senate Bill 1, proposed by Senator Mike Vehle, is the first initiative of the session to help with this issue. It proposes several ways for the state to finance improvement of highways and bridges, and it will most likely mean an increase in taxes, one way or another.

Sioux Falls resident Aaron Skonhovd already has an idea about how the state may pay for the project. But Sioux Falls resident Pam Nelson believes the state could go another route.

While Senate Bill 1 is being discussed, Governor Daugaard's $50 million road funding plan is also up for debate. Lawmakers like Representative Westra say the governor's plan is the one that lawmakers will spend the most time debating.

For more about what representatives and residents had to say, read the complete story on

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