PIERRE — Reforms of South Dakota campaign-finance laws for ballot-measure groups cleared the first hurdle Wednesday from a legislative panel. But a proposal for a commission to hold hearings and issue objective statements about ballot measures instead wound up in the wastebasket. The House State Affairs Committee dealt those verdicts. Committee members voted unanimously to recommend the full House of Representatives approve the campaign-finance changes. But the same lawmakers voted almost unanimously to kill the commission.
PIERRE — Some legislators want more changes in South Dakota's laws on non-meandered waters than Gov. Dennis Daugaard seeks, Sen. Jeff Partridge said Tuesday. Non-meandered waters belong to the public but are over private land. Non-meandered refers to water bodies that weren't reliably present when government surveyors worked through Dakota Territory before 1889 statehood. Hundreds of trapped waters developed across South Dakota from heavy rains and snows during recent decades.
PIERRE — Some small but important changes to South Dakota election laws won approval Tuesday from the state House of Representatives. The three bills head next to the Senate for consideration. Rep. Julie Bartling, D-Gregory, said HB 1003 "simply corrects an oversight" in a rewrite of campaign-finance requirements passed during the 2017 session. The word "entity" was left out last year from the list of organizations that must report political contributions.
PIERRE — A panel of state lawmakers Tuesday recommended South Dakota grain buyers file financial reports quarterly so regulators can keep a closer eye on them. But members of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee want SB 24 discussed when it reaches the full Senate, possibly as soon as Wednesday afternoon. "I think we should talk about it," Sen. Jason Frerich, D-Wilmot, said.
PIERRE — Jason Hancock, director for the Legislative Research Council, told lawmakers the other day he doesn't hire the Legislature's code counsel. Instead Doug Decker answers to the Legislature's Executive Board and works for the Legislature's Code Commission. Decker succeeded Tom Vickerman as code counsel in 1999, as Vickerman retired. The commission has five members. They meet noon Wednesday. One of the items scheduled for discussion is the current legal-publishing contract.
PIERRE — Their specialist for human dimensions showed the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission last week the public-assessment tool used for evaluating projects. Cindy Longmire said the tool ties into the goal, set in the strategic plan, that the public has confidence in what the agency is trying to accomplish, whether the idea comes from state Wildlife Division or the state Parks and Recreation Division. "It's not the full tool box. It's not the full planning process," Longmire said. "Public involvement is not like a one-size-fits-all process."
PIERRE— There's a different approach under way for promoting South Dakota as a destination for visitors, the head of state government's Department of Tourism told members of the Legislature last week. Secretary Jim Hagen said the new advertising would be displayed Thursday evening during the dinner and awards ceremony hosted by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The messages will be on television, billboards and magazine pages. They're designed to catch the attention of families, outdoors enthusiasts and people Hagen described as "bucket-listers" ready for trips of a lifetime.
PIERRE — As Nathan Sanderson, director of policy and operations for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, finished his budget presentation Wednesday morning, a frank question arose. Sen. Jeff Partridge, a Republican from Rapid City, wanted to know whether governors associations were worthwhile. The query came from halfway down the long double table of 18 lawmakers. These 15 Republicans and three Democrats comprise the Legislature's appropriations committee.
PIERRE — A "white paper" prepared by the state Department of Revenue recommends steps South Dakota should take to be ready if the U.S. Supreme Court allows sports betting to be legal beyond Nevada. The nation's highest court heard New Jersey's challenge to the federal law Dec. 4. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard supported New Jersey's position, according to state Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach. One of the agencies the revenue department oversees is the Commission on Gaming. The commission regulates betting on horse and dog races and Deadwood gambling houses.
PIERRE — The governor and some lawmakers want to rewrite many South Dakota laws on making, distributing and selling liquor, beer, wine and other alcohol and expand some, too. The best part: They want it done before the legislative session ends March 26. It's going to be a big fight that comes as Gov. Dennis Daugaard enters his final year. Daugaard set things brewing months ago not long after the 2017 session ended.