PIERRE—The Legislature has held the annual memorial service for legislators who died during 2017 or had previously passed on without a formal recognition. Lawmakers said a last official goodbye Thursday to these eleven: William "Bill" Clayton, R-Sioux Falls, House 1967-1969, age 93. Richard "Dick" Gregerson, R-Sioux Falls, Senate 1979-1982, age 84. Oscar Huber, R-Bowdle, House 1961-1972, age 100. Homer Kandaras, D-Rapid City, Senate 1971-1976, age 88. Howard Kennedy, R-Beresford, House 1981-1992, age 89.
PIERRE — The "big three" of governor candidates appeared together on stage for the first time of South Dakota's 2018 election cycle Thursday. Two of the Republicans, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley, and state Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton took turns answering an hour of questions from audience members at South Dakota's annual tourism conference. They're competing to succeed Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, who's in the last year of his second and final term.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard named Don Kirkegaard as state education secretary last year to replace Melody Schopp but still needed the state Senate to approve him. The first step came Thursday afternoon. The Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 to recommend Kirkegaard's confirmation. The final step could come Friday afternoon or Monday afternoon when the 35 members of the Senate vote on it. Tony Venhuizen, the governor's chief of staff, sat at the side of the former school superintendent as the roll call proceeded at 4:30 p.m.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate could decide Friday afternoon whether Aberdeen public schools superintendent Becky Guffin and former legislator Jacqueline Sly of Rapid City join the state Board of Education Standards. The Senate Education Committee held hearings Thursday on their appointments. Senators voted 6-1 to recommend Guffin. They voted for Sly 5-2. Guffin and Sly received strong support from education organizations at the hearings. No witnesses spoke against Guffin. Sly faced opposition from a critic of the Common Core education framework.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate unanimously agreed Wednesday the state Public Utilities Commission should be able to keep closer watch on most grain buyers. Senators voted 35-0 to require quarterly reports from Class A grain buyers and to restrict Class B grain buyers to no more than $5 million of transactions annually. The measure moves to the House of Representatives, where a committee hearing will be scheduled. The commission has responsibility for grain buyers licensed in South Dakota. Currently grain buyers submit two documents to the commission.
PIERRE — The Senate argued for a half-hour Wednesday afternoon before adopting its rules for this legislative session. Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, called for senators to reject the proposal and send it back for more work. In turn Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said the 2017 session marked the first time he saw a dissenting report sent back to a legislator for emendation. "I didn't know the word emendation even existed," Greenfield said. He has served continuously since 2001 in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
PIERRE — A political love fest between several lawyers for South Dakota's permanent task force on financial trusts and nine of the legislators on the House Judiciary Committee went suddenly off the rails Wednesday. The crash came when the tenth, Rep. Susan Wismer, D-Britton, intensely criticized the favorable conditions the Legislature has offered trusts to locate in South Dakota. Ninety-four private trusts made their home in the state as of Dec. 31 with $234 billion in assets and more than 500 people employed.
PIERRE — Reforms of South Dakota campaign-finance laws for ballot-measure groups cleared the first hurdle Wednesday from a legislative panel. But a proposal for a commission to hold hearings and issue objective statements about ballot measures instead wound up in the wastebasket. The House State Affairs Committee dealt those verdicts. Committee members voted unanimously to recommend the full House of Representatives approve the campaign-finance changes. But the same lawmakers voted almost unanimously to kill the commission.
PIERRE — Some legislators want more changes in South Dakota's laws on non-meandered waters than Gov. Dennis Daugaard seeks, Sen. Jeff Partridge said Tuesday. Non-meandered waters belong to the public but are over private land. Non-meandered refers to water bodies that weren't reliably present when government surveyors worked through Dakota Territory before 1889 statehood. Hundreds of trapped waters developed across South Dakota from heavy rains and snows during recent decades.
PIERRE — Some small but important changes to South Dakota election laws won approval Tuesday from the state House of Representatives. The three bills head next to the Senate for consideration. Rep. Julie Bartling, D-Gregory, said HB 1003 "simply corrects an oversight" in a rewrite of campaign-finance requirements passed during the 2017 session. The word "entity" was left out last year from the list of organizations that must report political contributions.