PIERRE—When South Dakotans sent their federal taxes during 2016, they paid less than the U.S. average, according to the National Priorities Project. The average amount paid last year by South Dakotans was $11,842. That was $2,208 less than the U.S. average of $14,051. The highest-paying jurisdiction was Connecticut at $22,785, followed by the District of Columbia at $20,563 and New York at $19,782. The lowest-paying jurisdiction was West Virginia at $8,607. Just above was Maine at $8,630 and Mississippi at $8,747.
PIERRE — The Legislature created a new state board in the 2017 session that will focus on technical education. Sen. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, led the way. Waiting on the other side of the Capitol was Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls. Mickelson, the speaker of the House, had his arguments ready. He favored the measure, SB 65, and was its House sponsor. Earlier this week, state Department of Education official Tiffany Sanderson explained the pending law (it takes effect July 1) to the South Dakota workforce development council.
PIERRE — South Dakota Lottery officials predict $416,200 in net revenue from the first year of sales of the Lucky for Life lotto game that received initial approval last month. The estimate is based on $2 million of sales and $1,583,800 of expenses, including $1.2 million in prizes. The Legislature's six-member rules review committee has final approval. Those lawmakers meet May 1.
A building committee for the state Board of Regents meets by telephone Monday to discuss several projects sought for South Dakota State University in Brookings. SDSU officials want to: • Reuse and upgrade Harding Hall for academic purposes; • Build an addition to the student wellness center; and • Construct a steam tunnel and piping between the Ethel Austin Martin building and the animal science complex. The teleconference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Harding Hall is a 1952-era building that will cost approximately $8.3 million to renovate.
The U.S. attorney’s office for the district of South Dakota made the following announcements of federal sentences Thursday. Stephan George Jones, 45, of White River, was sentenced to 120 months in custody for conspiring with others to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Lavern David Luxon Jr., 25, of Rosebud, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl during the night at her home in Parmalee.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission accepted 12 bids totaling more than $8.8 million and rejected one Thursday on South Dakota highway projects. The commission also adjusted its surface transportation improvement plan, adding a small grant. Mike Behm, director of planning and engineering for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, said the $12,000 grant "isn't a lot of money." But it does help pay for improved scheduling of projects, Behm said. Among the accepted bids were the following area projects:
PIERRE — For two months in a row, the revised state revenue estimate that was adopted by the Legislature in February for fiscal 2017 still came up short. The state Bureau of Finance and Management this week issued its April report showing results weaker than expected. General fund collections totaled $92 million for February and $93 million for March. The Legislature in February estimated they would be $102 million collected for February and $97 million for March. The shortfall is approximately $14 million.
PIERRE — NorthWestern Energy submitted six different sets of avoided costs during negotiations on proposed wind projects in three South Dakota counties, the lead lawyer representing Consolidated Edison Development said Tuesday. The comments by Michael Uda came as the state Public Utilities Commission opened its hearing on a proposal from ConEd to sell 60 megawatts to NorthWestern Energy from wind farms in Davison, Aurora and Brule counties.
PIERRE — The state Department of Social Services this week is shifting its division of adult services and aging to the state Department of Human Services. The division of adult services and aging will combine with Human Services' division of elder services. "We know we have quite a growing aging population that is going to have a need for services and support," Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti said Monday. "We're going to say, what service do you need?"
PIERRE — There is something afoot in Fall River County that goes deeper than whether guns can be carried in the Hot Springs courthouse on non-court days. Presiding Circuit Judge Craig Pfeifle met with the county commissioners Tuesday to explain why he and other judges wanted the decision overturned. He convinced all but one of the commissioners it was in their best interest to backtrack. His argument was that a security and safety assessment should be completed before a decision was made.