PIERRE — Thousands of South Dakotans have chosen an alternate version of license plates for their vehicles rather than the new standard plate this year. The alternate doesn't display the county designator number and has a simpler background with a much smaller depiction of Mount Rushmore. The design is intended to provide space for organization decals that motorists can place on the left side of the plates.
PIERRE—Trustees for the South Dakota Retirement System might adopt a new system for the board's elections. Under consideration are rules changes that would allow a third party to conduct the elections and switch to an electronic format. The system's administrative staff currently has responsibility for running the elections each year. Paper ballots are mailed to the members who mark them and mail them back. Participation frequently is low. The rate was 14 percent this spring for election of a trustee representing state government employees.
PIERRE — South Dakota's election ballots for seats in the Legislature are filling back up. Nearly all of the Republican and Democratic candidates who withdrew have been replaced by their local party organizations. District 5, representing Watertown and Codington County, might see two Democratic slots stay vacant, however. Alanna Silvis of Watertown withdrew from the House contest, and David Johnson of Watertown departed the Senate race.
PIERRE—South Dakota has seen solid growth this year in sales of fishing licenses and in visitors to state parks and recreation areas. That's according to state Game, Fish and Parks Department reports through July. Visitation overall reached 4,170,802, an increase of about 200,000 or 5 percent, from the similar point one year ago. That includes a 13 percent jump at Custer State Park, which reached 1,183,275. All other spots combined for an increase as well, with some up and some down.
PIERRE—The Daugaard administration is trying to overturn the federal decision to strip South Dakota state government of its status as an EB-5 immigrant investor center. A law firm representing Gov. Dennis Daugaard filed the state's response Monday to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The thrust of the state's response is it shouldn't be penalized for the previous management. The EB-5 program began a decade ago under South Dakota's previous governor, now-U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds.
PIERRE—Physicians in South Dakota who prescribe controlled substances such as opioids for treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain would face detailed reporting guidelines for patients' medical records, under rules proposed by the state's licensing board. The goal is creating standards for medical record documentation when prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Among the practices would be obtaining patient consent to allow information to be shared with other treatment providers.
PIERRE—Members of the South Dakota Lottery Commission want their staff to step back from a security study for video lottery establishments. The objections raised Thursday by chairman Chuck Turbiville, of Deadwood, and member Bob Hartford, of Pierre, focused most on the possible financial impacts on businesses that have just a few machines. The South Dakota Lottery's executive director, Norm Lingle, suggested that his staff take the coming weeks and return with a revised recommendation at the commission's next meeting Sept. 15.
PIERRE — Soon we will have one more path to financial and family ruin, with the legalization of fantasy sports betting now upon us. The New York Times headline during the past week told the story: "Win for DraftKings and FanDuel Opens Door for Sports Betting in New York." The state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law the legislation placing fantasy sports betting under the state government's regulation. It seems inevitable such legislation shall follow in South Dakota during the 2017 session come January.
PIERRE — South Dakota saw more video lottery terminals in operation during July and the amount of money that players lost went up as well. That was one piece of the summary delivered Thursday to the South Dakota Lottery Commission. The other parts showed sales of instant-win tickets lagging while lotto sales were up. Clark Hepper, the deputy administrator for the South Dakota Lottery, told commissioners the expectation is lotto sales eventually will drop behind the pace of a year ago.
PIERRE — The new land acquisition policy approved Thursday by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission will apply to the Parks and Recreation Division as well as the Wildlife Division and calls for earlier word to the commission about possible purchases. An example of that change in approach was on display at the commission's meeting. In addition to one pending purchase that eventually would need the commission's approval, there are 10 potential acquisitions in the works.