PIERRE — The labor organization for teachers and the business organization that represents many South Dakota retail merchants and restaurants, contributed large amounts to many of the same legislative candidates who are seeking nominations in South Dakota's June 7 primary elections. The political action committee for the South Dakota Education Association reported contributions to candidates totaling $13,500 and the political action committee for the South Dakota Retailers Association reported donations to candidates of $14,500.
PIERRE — CenturyLink faces a $2,000 penalty for an incident in Fort Pierre last winter, when the telecommunications company failed to respond to an emergency locate request. South Dakota requires a response within four hours. CenturyLink's contractor USIC didn't respond within that time. The request came at 4:55 p.m. A city crew began digging at 9 p.m. to deal with a water valve broken in the closed position at the intersection of Casey Tibbs Street and E. Cedar Avenue.
PIERRE — Many from our group in high school joined "the service" upon our graduations in 1976. Our nation was out of Vietnam. The draft was over. The economy was sliding. I considered enlisting but wound up in college. There aren't many days when I don't think again about that decision. Often I think too about the decisions by John and Tim and Jeff and Jane and Anita. They went off to basic. Then they went off to stranger places. They made admirable decisions. More than a few men I know are in the South Dakota National Guard.
PIERRE — A new law requiring disclosure of financial conflicts could have a direct effect on lawyers serving on one of the 22 state boards, commissions or authorities, the South Dakota Transportation Commission was told at its Thursday meeting in Pierre. During the conflicts law discussion, commission member Tim Dougherty, of Sioux Falls, a lawyer and lobbyist, said a lawyer serving on one of the 22 panels covered by the new law could have a client who has a contract with the agency covered by the state panel.
PIERRE — The state Department of Transportation used a flawed calculation to rank applications for the first round of South Dakota's bridge improvement grants. Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said there was a conversion error that affected all of the scores. Grants approved by the state Transportation Commission last month won't be affected, he said. While the rankings order changed in some cases, none dropped from the approved group, according to Bergquist.
PIERRE — Members of the South Dakota Transportation Commission should see private lawyers before the state's new law takes effect July 1 requiring disclosure of financial conflicts, the panel's state legal counsel said Thursday. Karla Engle told them one option is to resign from the commission before July 1 if they believe the disclosure requirements would create too many problems. People often are appointed to state boards and commissions because they are active in their communities but that can mean they have business ties that pose potential conflicts, she said.
PIERRE — Two major events converge in the coming week in South Dakota. The statewide sales tax increases on June 1 to 4.5 percent from 4 percent, after a knockdown fight within the Legislature last winter over Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to improve pay for last-place schoolteachers, and provide property-tax relief to business owners for the first time, after homeowners and agriculture producers received reductions 20 years ago.
PIERRE — South Dakota is incarcerating fewer juveniles but remains double the national average, according to a draft report. The executive committee for the state Council on Juvenile Services approved the 75-page document Wednesday. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention gets the report. It shows 205 juveniles were committed to the state Department of Corrections during 2015. The number continued a trend of fewer juvenile commitments in South Dakota. There were 240 the previous year, 278 in 2013 and 331 in 2012.
PIERRE—The state Aeronautics Commission talked Tuesday about a very big year ahead for projects at public airports in South Dakota. There "possibly" will be about $43.8 million in work, according to Bruce Lindholm, an administrator for the state Department of Transportation. The estimate is based on pre-applications that have been filed for 2016. Public airports normally use a combination of local, federal and state funding to pay for projects. The list shows 41 communities so far.
PIERRE — Telecommunications providers in South Dakota who seek federal high-cost support can continue to file the same reports to the state Public Utilities Commission as they provide to the Federal Communications System, including information about their deployment of broadband services, the state commission members decided Tuesday. The state commission set the general framework starting in 2013 as a way to avoid duplication of efforts by the companies, and added the requirements regarding data on broadband deployment in May 2015.