PIERRE — The Legislature's rules review committee gave final clearance Wednesday to the state Agriculture Department offering voluntary mediation services for disputes over federal land and over effects from oil and gas development. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association supports the expansions and accepts the rules as proposed, even though the group hoped some would go farther in helping landowners, executive director Silvia Christen told the legislators. "I think it is going to be a real benefit to the producers who have access to it," Christen testified. She said there could be
PIERRE — State Attorney General Marty Jackley said he didn't speak with Joop Bollen, who oversaw South Dakota's EB-5 immigrant investor program, when Jackley's office investigated Richard Benda last year. A subpoena from a federal grand jury in March 2013 sought information on various topics from Daugaard's administration, including information about Benda's travel. That led Daugaard to request Jackley look into the matter. Bollen and Benda worked closely together for more than seven years after then-Gov.
PIERRE — The new student achievement assessments known as Smarter Balanced are more difficult than the Dakota STEP tests they replace and probably will generate weaker scores by students, at least initially, a state official said Monday. The nationally designed Smarter Balanced covers listening and writing in addition to reading and math, and therefore students' performances shouldn't be compared to the state-written Dakota STEP, Jan Martin told South Dakota Board of Education members. "That's a really critical piece to keep in mind," Martin said.
PIERRE -- Mitchell Technical Institute received approval from the state Board of Education for $300,000 of equipment requests from a new state fund Monday. The Legislature approved a pool of $1.5 million for equipment needs at the four public technical institutes earlier this year and gave the state board the authority to oversee the spending. MTI president Greg Von Wald said Rep.
PIERRE — The state Board of Education adopted rules Monday for South Dakota school districts to use in evaluating their school principals and assistant principals starting in the 2016-2017 academic year. The next and potentially last step for the proposed regulations is consideration by the Legislature's rule review committee. A state law requires teacher and principal evaluations.
PIERRE — A business group that lost the campaign against raising South Dakota's minimum wage in last week's statewide elections isn't planning to battle it a second time at the Legislature this winter, according to the group's leader. The South Dakota Retailers Association hasn't determined its legislative package for the 2015 session that opens Jan. 13, executive director Shawn Lyons said Tuesday. He said his board of directors doesn't meet again until Jan. 12. "At this time we have no intention to seek a repeal during the 2015 session.
PIERRE — Proposed changes in state rules would significantly expand the roles of South Dakota's mediation program for agriculture borrowers and creditors. The program would be allowed to cover disputes involving federal land and oil and gas properties. The Legislature's rules review committee will consider the proposal Wednesday. Legislators adopted changes in state law in the 2013 session on votes of 70-0 in the House of Representatives and 33-0 in the Senate. The state Department of Agriculture is bringing the rules to implement the changes 20 months later.
PIERRE — Twenty-nine communities, water systems and sanitary districts received spots on South Dakota's state water plan Thursday for projects to be considered for financial assistance in 2015 and 2016. Placement on the plan is necessary for projects to be considered for state help such as grants and low-interest loans. The state Board of Water and Natural Resources oversees the plan and considers the funding applications. The board also endorsed asking the Legislature for money for two special appropriations. One request would be $7.7 million to help get drinking water to the city o
PIERRE — Republicans won more seats for their super-majority in the state House of Representatives in South Dakota's elections Tuesday. There will be at least 58 Republicans and no more than 12 Democrats. There is the possibility of one recount, after Rep. Paula Hawks, D-Hartford, edged former Rep. Bob Deelstra, R-Hartford, by seven votes. The House numbers for the 2013-2014 term have been 53 Republicans and 17 Democrats. Six new leaders in the House — four Republicans and two Democrats — will be chosen for the 2015 legislative session that opens Jan. 13. Rep.
PIERRE — Only a handful of state Senate seats changed parties in South Dakota’s elections Tuesday, and even fewer switched in the House of Representatives, as Republicans remained in total...