PIERRE—State government's Internet and technology network suffered a full outage last weekend. The system went down for about 20 hours. The first trouble came about 9 a.m. Saturday with reports of intermittent problems such as slowness and unavailability. Within the hour, people using the Internet to visit state government websites arrived at blank page views. Businesses couldn't record motor vehicle sales for the state Revenue Department.
PIERRE—Legislation cleared its first hearing Wednesday to require public reporting of business conflicts by members of many state government boards, commissions and authorities, and by local education board members and officials across South Dakota. The proposal from Rep. G. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, comes in the wake of the Mid-Central Education Cooperative audits and killings that occurred last year and the EB-5 immigrant investor scandal and suicide that happened in 2013 and 2014.
PIERRE—State lawmakers from both major political parties united Wednesday and rejected a resolution urging return of some lands in the Black Hills to Indian tribes who were forced onto reservations in the late 1800s. The House State Affairs Committee voted 13-0 against the request from Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, D-Mission, who said he serves on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's treaty council. As he began to testify, Bordeaux said he didn't have a copy of his resolution.
PIERRE—South Dakotans could learn Wednesday whether Gov. Dennis Daugaard has the support necessary in the state House of Representatives to pass his proposal to increase the state sales and use tax by one-half of 1 percent. The measure requires a two-thirds majority of 47 ayes from the 70-member chamber. That means House Republican leader Brian Gosch, of Rapid City, needs at least 24 nays to block its passage.
PIERRE—A panel of state senators decided Tuesday the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission should be able to continue to grant permits for international projects, such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline, before the projects have federal approval from the U.S. president. Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, told the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee that the PUC still certified the South Dakota permit for Keystone XL, even after President Barack Obama refused to allow TransCanada's pipeline to pierce the U.S. border. The committee killed SB 134 on a party-line vote of 5-2.
PIERRE — State senators gave final approval Tuesday to require state government, school boards, counties, cities and other local governments to interview armed forces veterans who meet the minimum qualifications for job openings. The 32-1 vote sent the measure to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his review. Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, sponsored HB 1056. During the debate Tuesday, Sen. Bill Van Gerpen, R-Tyndall, said servicemen and servicewomen aren't looking for preference.
PIERRE—Legislation intended to overturn a policy allowing transgender students to participate in athletic competition at the high school level in South Dakota won approval Tuesday in the state House of Representatives. House members amended HB 1112 and then passed it 45-23. The measure now goes to the Senate. The point of the bill is to block the policy adopted two years ago by the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors.
PIERRE—The Legislature is one step away from approving major changes in how workers' compensation benefits are calculated for employees in South Dakota. State senators are scheduled to vote on final approval as early as this afternoon on changing the income determination. Under the new approach, known as aggregation, all of the current jobs the worker couldn't perform because of the injury would become the basis for compensation. The South Dakota Supreme Court decided last spring that aggregation would be the correct approach.
PIERRE — Legislation that would require cemetery officials to file annual financial reports cleared its first test by a Senate panel Monday. The prime sponsor of SB 70 is Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, but she arranged for Rep. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, to present the bill to the Senate Local Government Committee. Last year Novstrup hit a dead end in the House Commerce and Energy Committee with legislation that attempted to put more regulations on cemetery finances.
PIERRE—Sales of wine and beer would be allowed at events on state university campuses under a measure supported Monday by the South Dakota Senate without any ayes to spare. Senators approved the change 18-13. The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives. Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, is prime sponsor of SB 102. He said wine and beer already are given away with the university president's approval. Private vendors, rather than the universities, would hold the licenses for wine and beer sales, according to Tidemann.