PIERRE — State senators made tens of millions of dollars in adjustments to state government's 2017 budget Thursday because tax revenue continues at less than planned. The House of Representatives will take up the 2017 budget revisions Friday. Both chambers also intend to debate the 2018 budget Friday. The cuts Thursday set the stage for a lean year ahead that starts July 1. "Revenues haven't quite lived up to our expectations so we've made some changes," Sen. John Wiik, R-Big Stone City, said about revising the 2017 budget.
PIERRE — South Dakota lawmakers decided Thursday the general education tax levy on agricultural property should increase slightly for the next 25 years to pay for building a new animal disease research and diagnostic laboratory at South Dakota State University. The Senate debated hard about the plan before approving it 29-6. The House of Representatives didn't argue at all before giving final approval 60-6. The original plan from Gov. Dennis Daugaard called for raising fees on many agricultural supplies. Livestock and crop organizations resisted that approach.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives declined Wednesday to accept Senate amendments to HB 1157 that would pay for the new animal disease laboratory at South Dakota State University. The Senate on Tuesday kept the funding for the $3 million of annual bond payments but removed funding for the new agriculture future development fund that House Republican leader Lee Qualm of Platte wants. Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel, made the Senate motion. House members agreed with Qualm's motion Wednesday to send the bill to a House-Senate conference committee.
PIERRE — Incidents involving a lawmaker and several interns led the Legislature's procedure committee to recommend Wednesday a rule prohibiting sexual relationships. The panel adopted one part of a proposal from Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton. The rule, if adopted by the full Legislature, would be: "No legislator or legislative employee may have sexual contact with any legislative intern or page, and no legislative intern may have sexual contact with a page."
PIERRE — The two newest faces on the South Dakota Board of Regents won confirmation Tuesday from state senators, amid a dust-up about whether there are too many Republican members. The nine-member board governs the state universities and special schools. State law says the board can't have more than six members from the same political party. Senators unexpectedly delayed Monday's scheduled confirmations of Pam Roberts, of Pierre, and student regent Conrad Adam, of Pierre.
PIERRE — State senators gave the final OK Tuesday for state government to go ahead on selling land and buildings at six locations across South Dakota. The most controversial property remains STAR Academy, the state's juvenile corrections facility near Custer that is now closed. Senators voted 20-15 to let Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration proceed in that attempt. Many senators said the Custer site could be used for people with drug problems. "I'm afraid this is a short-sighted endeavor we're engaging in," Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, said.
PIERRE — One year after increasing the state sales tax to provide raises to teachers and reduce property taxes for business and agriculture, state legislators said Tuesday they don't have money to provide more aid to K-12 schools for the coming year. Frustration and at times anger washed through the House of Representatives as lawmakers learned Tuesday afternoon that a zero increase is planned for general education funding from state government.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate rejected a resolution Tuesday that praised President Donald Trump for keeping the nation safe from "radical Islamic terrorism." Senators voted 20-15 to kill the resolution, SCR 15. It came from Sen. Neal Tapio, R-Watertown, who was Trump's campaign chairman for South Dakota last year. Tapio emphasized freedom in his prepared speech. The press packet he provided to reporters featured a quote he said must be printed in whole or not at all.
PIERRE — South Dakota business people who collect sales tax for state government could lose at least $1 million and possibly five times that much under a proposal that suddenly appeared Monday in the Legislature. State law currently allows retailers to keep 1.5 percent of the state sales taxes they collect. The allowance is worth nearly $6 million annually, according to Shawn Lyons, executive director for the South Dakota Retailers Association.
PIERRE — South Dakota's primary elections for governor are 15 months away but the tug of war for the Republican nomination is clearly underway between U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley. Jackley scored several times in recent days. He went to Washington, D.C., and met with the new U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Then he met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the day after the president's speech to Congress.