PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration will permanently close two interstate highway rest areas Monday. One area is in Tilford on Interstate 90 between Rapid City and Sturgis, and the other is in Hidewood on Interstate 29 between Brookings and Watertown. State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist told the South Dakota Transportation Commission about the decision Thursday morning. Bergquist said the changes are part of a statewide revitalization plan for interstate rest areas.
PIERRE — Nursing homes in South Dakota would be able to buy and sell bed space within their healthcare sector under a recommendation made by a panel of state legislators Thursday. That proposal now needs to clear the Legislature's Executive Board. If the board agrees, the idea could be offered to the full Legislature for consideration in the 2017 session that opens in January.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has been asked to resolve another pricing dispute between a wind-power company and an investor-owned utility. Juhl Energy Inc. is using a 1978 federal law to force NorthWestern Energy to purchase electricity from Juhl Energy's wind farms. The projects are near Kimball, White Lake and Letcher, and all are within NorthWestern Energy's service territory. The commission gave its staff authority Wednesday to pay up to $38,000 to an outside consultant to help on the pricing analysis.
PIERRE — Only the deadline stopped the Republican surge in voter registration this year in South Dakota. Absolute numbers won't be available until later this week, because some requests might be in the mail that were postmarked by the 5 p.m. Monday cut-off and possibly were still on the way to county courthouses. But the statewide totals posted as of 5 p.m. CT Tuesday by the Secretary of State office showed Republicans in the most dominant position of most current South Dakotans' lifetimes.
PIERRE — The governor's council of economic advisers received bleak news Tuesday. Three months into state government's 2017 fiscal year, South Dakota's economy isn't close to generating enough tax revenues to cover the 2017 budget set by the Legislature. Taxable sales for July through September ran 1.8 percent behind the similar quarter one year ago. Making the arithmetic more complicated was the decision by Gov. Dennis Daugaard and majorities in both chambers of the Legislature to increase the state sales tax rate to 4.5 percent from 4 percent.
PIERRE — The Legislature's interim committee that spent four meetings studying payment methodologies for providers of Medicaid services wrapped up work Tuesday without offering specific legislation. The panel's members instead agreed its staff should draft a report that they can approve in the next three weeks and provide to the Legislature's Executive Board. If the Executive Board gives the green light, the report goes next to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations to consider in the 2017 session that starts in January.
PIERRE — When Donald Trump called for term limits on Congress the other day, the Republican presidential nominee got in step with South Dakota voters. South Dakotans supported term limits 24 years ago. There were 205,074 yes votes and 117,702 no votes to amend South Dakota's constitution in the 1992 election. The yes side won in all 66 counties. But the piece of the constitutional amendment limiting South Dakota's members of Congress didn't take effect. That's because South Dakota voters couldn't put such a restriction on a federal elected office.
PIERRE — Public airports at Rapid City, Pierre and Belle Fourche are in line to receive a combination of federal and state funding for key improvement projects. The state Aeronautics...
PIERRE — Republicans head into South Dakota's general election with a record number of registered voters while Democrats likely will be at its smallest in at least 40 years. The gap between the two major political parties now is approximately 80,000 voters in South Dakota. Forty years ago, the difference typically was a few thousands. The 2016 registration numbers compiled at the secretary of state's office through mid-Thursday showed Republicans at 250,190; Democrats at 170,006; and independents and registered voters with no-party affiliation at 118,836.
PIERRE — Starting in 2018, South Dakota employers could see small reductions in unemployment insurance rates if the Legislature agrees to a proposal from the state Department of Labor and Regulation. The plan calls for contribution rates to be cut when the balance in the unemployment trust fund is at least 1.6 times what was spent on benefits in the last three recessions or the past 20 years.