PIERRE — Eleven of South Dakota's smaller cities can expect a little something extra this Thanksgiving holiday. State government's Transportation Commission approved community access grants for them Tuesday. Program administrator Laurie Schultz said the amounts totaled $3,678,000. The money helps cities with less than 5,000 people. Communities chosen for the grants receive from the state Department of Transportation funding for 60 percent of street and road projects, with a maximum state share of $400,000.
PIERRE — State government's Transportation Commission approved eight more road and bridge projects on South Dakota highways Tuesday for 2018, including a Minnehaha County deal that a state official said would cost more than any before in state history. That project connects new Highway 100 in Sioux Falls from Rice Street to Exit 402 on Interstate 90. Five structures are along the one-mile route. Riley Bros. Construction Inc., of Morris, Minnesota, had the low bid of $54,665,168.60. Six competitors submitted more expensive bids. Highest was $62,325,658.00.
State government's Board of Education Standards must hold two more hearings next year before members decide whether to further change what South Dakota teachers are presenting to students, its departing leader said Monday. Board president Don Kirkegaard, of Sturgis, made the remarks after the board conducted the second public hearing in Sioux Falls. Board members are considering proposed revisions to state standards for 10 sets of subjects, including math, English and the history and culture of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribal peoples.
Two people who started serving a year ago will be the new officers leading the South Dakota Board of Education Standards in 2018. Board members unanimously chose Susan Aguilar, of Sioux Falls, to be their president next year. They also chose Gopal Vyas, of Mitchell, as vice president. Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed Aguilar in January 2016 and Vyas in June 2016. Glenna Fouberg, of Aberdeen, a past South Dakota teacher of the year, nominated each of them Monday. The meeting in Sioux Falls was live-streamed on the Internet.
Members of state government's Board of Education Standards agreed Monday on their meeting schedule for 2018. It calls for: • Friday, Jan. 26, Rapid City; Monday, March 19, Pierre; Tuesday, May 8, Vermillion; Monday, July 16, Pierre; Monday, Sept. 17, Aberdeen; and Monday, Nov. 19, Sioux Falls. All meetings start at 9 a.m. local time. The board plans to also meet at 1 p.m. May 8 with state government's Board of Regents, whose members govern South Dakota's public universities and special schools.
PIERRE — Once upon a time, South Dakota had two U.S. House of Representatives seats. They became one in 1982. But there also was a 20-year stretch when we actually had three. Upon 1889 statehood, South Dakota had two House votes. Those elections were statewide through 1910. However the 1910 census determined the state's population large enough for a third seat. The Legislature drew boundaries for three for the 1912 elections. Voters had re-elected Charles H. Burke, of Pierre, and Eben W. Martin, of Deadwood, both Republicans, in 1910.
PIERRE — Some of state government's boards and agencies got off relatively easy Tuesday when their lawyers and directors took the witness chairs before the Legislature's Rules Review Committee. But just as often, others felt the bite of hard questions from one or more of the six lawmakers. Several times the legislative panel decided to stop a rule outright from taking effect and sent it back for more work — or perhaps simply never to return at all.
PIERRE — A Minnesota utility won approval Tuesday for one of the largest economic incentives ever made by a South Dakota state government agency. The South Dakota Board of Economic Development awarded a reinvestment payment up to $8,187,266 to Northern States Power Company, also known as Xcel Energy. The money comes from Building South Dakota. The Legislature created it in 2013. The payment is for wind-farm development in Grant and Codington counties in the northeastern region.
PIERRE — Come Thursday and Friday, 26 of South Dakota's public school districts will send officials to state government's School Finance Accountability Board. The local representatives want to explain why their districts didn't meet thresholds the Legislature set for teacher compensation as part of a new formula intended to boost pay. In that same 2016 legislative session, lawmakers increased the rate of South Dakota's sales and use tax to 4.5 percent, from the 4 percent it had been since 1969.
PIERRE — Republican and Democratic lawmakers agreed Monday several of their members should deliver a bipartisan message to the full Legislature in January about mutual goals for the 2018 session. Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, rolled out the idea during a meeting of the Legislature's Executive Board that he chairs this year. After some discussion, he said there would be four people and the Democratic minority would be represented.