PIERRE — The state Board of Internal Control made a little more progress Wednesday on creating standard financial forms for state government departments and offices to use. The Legislature established the board one year ago, at the suggestion of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, in response to state Department of Legislative Audit findings. The six members who attended the hour-long meeting Wednesday at the Capitol focused much of their time on exemptions for two agencies: the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services.
PIERRE — The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued the latest version of its general water pollution control permit for concentrated animal feeding operations throughout South Dakota last week. DENR Secretary Steve Pirner approved the revised permit March 10. That set a 30-day clock running for interveners to challenge the revised permit's conditions in state circuit court. However, no one appealed during the window of time.
PIERRE — South Dakota's auditor general, Marty Guindon, has been on the GEAR UP trail now for four years. He met Tuesday with state lawmakers who form the executive committee of the Legislature's Executive Board. "We have one interview left," he told them. For the benefit of new members, he presents the timeline Tuesday to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. "I will not be discussing the reports or the findings contained in those reports at Tuesday's meeting as they are not yet ready for release," he said Friday.
PIERRE — U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem came out strongly again Friday against Planned Parenthood and called for government-wide application of the Hyde Amendment banning Medicaid coverage for abortions. "I believe every life, including an unborn baby's life, has dignity and value," she wrote in her weekly column. Noem is running for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018, as is state Attorney General Marty Jackley.
PIERRE — Leaders at the nonpartisan agency that is the hub of operations for the Legislature want to improve communications with lawmakers, especially during the nine months of the year outside the regular legislative session. Legislative Research Council officials outlined their plans to the Executive Board on Tuesday. They intend to better spread the word about what various legislative panels are doing, using techniques such as blast emails. Legislators are asking for more information, according to Sue Cichos, who is the LRC deputy director.
PIERRE — A deadly motorcycle accident during the Sturgis rally in 2012 didn't cause a second crash more than 90 minutes later at the same general spot, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The justices found in favor of the estate of Raymond Bennett, who died in the original crash. They agreed with the estate's argument the Highway Patrol was at fault. The patrol stationed a trooper on a curve east of the scene to warn westbound traffic on SD 44. But the patrol didn't post a trooper west of the scene to warn eastbound traffic.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously has denied an appeal by Paul Dean Jensen that his revised 200-year sentences for first-degree murder and kidnapping were still too harsh for killing a taxi driver in Stanley County. Jensen was age 14 at the time of the 1996 shooting of taxi driver Michael Hare that Jensen committed with 16-year-old Shawn Springer. Jensen and Springer got into Hare's cab at a Pierre hotel and directed him to a gravel road outside Fort Pierre where Jensen shot Hare three times.
PIERRE — The state Board of Minerals and Environment held a teleconference Thursday about a federal agency's meeting schedule regarding Powertech's applications for in situ mining of uranium in Custer and Fall River counties. The board at the previous meeting in March requested an update. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold meetings in the coming days at four communities (see At A Glance). The board's chairman, Rex Hagg, of Rapid City, cautioned others on the call Thursday about the boundaries of the topic.
PIERRE — The State Railroad Board approved two loans Wednesday. The board made a $3.55 million loan to the Sully County rail authority for Ringneck Energy, the ethanol project planned at Onida. The board also increased its loan to the Sioux Valley railroad authority by $1,735,000. The D&I Railroad will use the money. Each loan carries a 15-year amortization, with a seven-year balloon payment, at 2 percent interest.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Marvin Bingham must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for sexual contact with a child. The opinion written by Justice Glen Severson found it was Bingham's first offense and occurred with a victim younger than age 13. Bingham wanted probation. "In this case, the minimum sentence provided for in the statute clearly means a term of imprisonment. This court has previously understood a minimum sentence to refer to a term of imprisonment," Severson wrote.