PIERRE—The South Dakota Retirement System should be allowed to proceed in offering a new benefits plan next year for employees hired after June 30, 2017, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. "It will only impact future employees," Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, said. Retirement ages would increase to 67 for most employees and 57 for law enforcement. The penalty for early retirement will increase to 5 percent annually from the current 3 percent annually.
PIERRE—The state House of Representatives voted 67-2 Wednesday to increase the inspection fee on commercial fertilizer in South Dakota. The bill's prime sponsor is Rep. Lee Qualm, R-Platte. He said nutrient run-off has become the centerpiece of lawsuits in surrounding states. The increase of 50 cents per ton would raise approximately $1 million for research grants, according to Qualm. He said the additional fee would be about 4 cents per acre, depending on the amount of fertilizer applied.
PIERRE—Sometimes at the Legislature, the witness who doesn't testify says the most through silence. Such was the case Wednesday. The state Division of Banking didn't take a public position at a legislative hearing regarding a request from short-term lenders for a new spot in South Dakota's legal code. That means the division, and the Daugaard administration, doesn't oppose the change or its intent. The creation of a new chapter for commercial lines of credit would allow short-term lenders to avoid a proposed 36 percent limit on lenders' interest rates.
PIERRE—Rep. G. Mark Mickelson prevailed over Rep. Lee Schoenbeck in a showdown Tuesday over legislation intended to help counties reach final zoning decisions on large feedlots for livestock. House members set aside amendments proposed by Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, and agreed with amendments from Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, who is the legislation's prime sponsor. Schoenbeck wanted to strip away the final three-plus pages of the bill, HB 1140. But Mickelson said that would eliminate much of the legislation's purpose.
PIERRE -- State senators unanimously supported a change in South Dakota property-tax policy on Tuesday intended to promote cleaner water in creeks, rivers and lakes. It would allow cropland planted...
PIERRE -- A state legislator from Fall River County testified Tuesday morning that a combination of video lottery revenue and budget cuts could make the governor’s proposed sales-tax increase unnecessary...
PIERRE — A year after the Legislature passed a package of tax and fee increases to pay for highway and bridge improvements at the state, county and city levels, legislators continue to spar in the 2016 session about some of the details for distributing the money. One proposal calls for requiring counties to each conduct one random checkpoint of vehicle weights each year, starting in 2017, in order to qualify for a bridge improvement grant.
PIERRE — The Legislature has 80 Republicans and 25 Democrats. Who chooses to put their names on the line by the candidate-filing deadline of 5 p.m. on March 29 will determine what happens in the Capitol during the next two years and beyond. How those candidates fare in the June 7 primary elections and the Nov. 8 general elections, in turn, will largely determine how Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard fares in the final two years of his second and final term.
PIERRE — The state Public Utilities Commission gave its blessing Friday to an agreement for NorthWestern Energy to provide electricity to the pump station planned in rural Spink County for the proposed Dakota Access oil pipeline. The pump station is near Crandon, east of U.S. 281 and southeast of Redfield within the designated rural territory of Bath-based Northern Electric Cooperative. It will be on land sold to the pipeline company by Donald Gene and Rita Mary Massat.
PIERRE — The governor's proposal to increase the state sales and use tax to 4.5 percent carries both a clear truth and an unspoken admission. South Dakotans don't want to raise their property taxes much beyond the bare minimums, if at all. Rather than use the local opt-out that's been in place for 20 years, they widely believe state government should send more help to their public schools. That's the obvious truth. Here's the unspoken admission.