PIERRE—House Republican leader Brian Gosch said Wednesday he doesn't think Medicaid expansion will occur in South Dakota this year. The Rapid City lawmaker's remark came as the state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to require the governor to seek the Legislature's explicit approval. Gosch made clear that members of the Legislature don't doubt Gov. Dennis Daugaard's word that he would come to them before proceeding. But the legislative requirement proposed in HB 1234 would make sure that happens, Gosch said.
PIERRE—The state House of Representatives decided Wednesday that short-term lenders shouldn't be able to sidestep a public vote this fall. House members voted 47-21 to kill legislation that would have created a new chapter of South Dakota banking law covering consumer lines of credit. Had the plan succeeded, short-term lenders could have received new state licenses and wouldn't have been subject to a Nov. 8 ballot measure. The ballot measure, brought by opponents of payday loans, seeks to limit interest rates on short-term loans to 36 percent.
PIERRE—The state House of Representatives agreed Tuesday that township governments should get more money for their roads and bridges and the money should come from city governments. House members voted 49-17 for the legislation, HB 1137. It needed 47 ayes to pass. It now goes to the Senate. The plan, spearheaded Tuesday by Rep. Dick Werner, R-Huron, calls for capturing $1,450,000 that now goes to city governments from vehicle registration fees and giving $1,020,000 to townships and $430,000 to counties.
PIERRE—South Dakota's formula for funding public schools would be restructured and teachers would receive an average salary of $48,500 under a plan endorsed Tuesday by the state Senate. The measure, SB 131, passed 29-6 and goes next to the House of Representatives. All three pieces of the governor's education package now have won approval from either the House or the Senate. Opponents of the legislation Tuesday asked why the average teacher salary increase of approximately $8,000 isn't tied to specific improvements in students' academic performances.
PIERRE—South Dakotans who suffer from intractable epilepsy and can't control the violent seizures through other medications without suffering severe side effects might get some help from the Legislature. The state Senate voted 20-15 to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana oil for patients. The oil couldn't contain more than 3 percent THC. "You can drink a gallon of this stuff and it's not going to get you high," Sen. Angie Buhl O'Donnell, D-Sioux Falls, said.
PIERRE—State senators voted Tuesday to toughen South Dakota's abortion restrictions by four weeks. They decided 21-14 to embrace the fetal-pain standard of 20 weeks. They would prohibit abortions in most instances if the pregnancy is in week 20 or after. Currently, abortions are generally allowed within the first 24 weeks. The prime sponsor is Sen. Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre. He said all of the stories told by senators about difficult births should be considered.
PIERRE -- State Rep. Lee Schoenbeck confirmed Tuesday morning that he plans to resign from the South Dakota Legislature effective tonight. But after his wife called him later on Tuesday,...
PIERRE—The state Senate supported adding a new felony with tougher penalties to South Dakota's criminal code for deadly vehicle crashes. The proposed crime is aggravated vehicular homicide. It could be charged if a death occurred while the driver under the influence of alcohol, drugs or substances operated a motor vehicle in a reckless manner and caused the death of another person.
PIERRE—State senators voted nearly unanimously Monday for legislation encouraging South Dakota school districts to share services, provide mentoring for new teachers and upgrade distance courses offered by Northern State University's e-learning center. The legislation, SB 133, also would ease certification for teachers moving into South Dakota from states where they already are licensed, and reinstate bonuses for teachers who receive national certification. Senators voted 33-1 in favor of the measure, which now goes to the House of Representatives.
PIERRE — Without an aye to spare, the state House of Representatives approved the governor's plan to raise the state sales tax to 4.5 percent from the current 4 percent Monday. Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants to use more than half of the $107 million of estimated revenue for improving the average salary of South Dakota teachers to $48,500. South Dakota ranked last nationally in the most-recent data at just over $40,000.