PIERRE — The state Board of Minerals and Environment held a teleconference Thursday about a federal agency's meeting schedule regarding Powertech's applications for in situ mining of uranium in Custer and Fall River counties. The board at the previous meeting in March requested an update. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold meetings in the coming days at four communities (see At A Glance). The board's chairman, Rex Hagg, of Rapid City, cautioned others on the call Thursday about the boundaries of the topic.
PIERRE — The State Railroad Board approved two loans Wednesday. The board made a $3.55 million loan to the Sully County rail authority for Ringneck Energy, the ethanol project planned at Onida. The board also increased its loan to the Sioux Valley railroad authority by $1,735,000. The D&I Railroad will use the money. Each loan carries a 15-year amortization, with a seven-year balloon payment, at 2 percent interest.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Marvin Bingham must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for sexual contact with a child. The opinion written by Justice Glen Severson found it was Bingham's first offense and occurred with a victim younger than age 13. Bingham wanted probation. "In this case, the minimum sentence provided for in the statute clearly means a term of imprisonment. This court has previously understood a minimum sentence to refer to a term of imprisonment," Severson wrote.
PIERRE -- Kathryn Johnson of Hill City recently completed 12 years on the South Dakota Board of Regents, but that hasn’t stopped her from talking about college application week. Johnson, who retired on April 2 and was replaced by Joan Wink of Howes, said Monday the regents started application week in 2014 with eight rural high schools. They were up to 40 in fall 2016.
PIERRE — The state Animal Industry Board moved forward Monday with its role in paying for construction of the expansion and renovations for the animal research and diagnostic laboratory at South Dakota State University. The animal industry board approved paperwork calling for the South Dakota Building Authority to sell bonds, according to Dustin Oedekoven, the state veterinarian. He said the board in turn formally agreed to pay the building authority.
PIERRE—When South Dakotans sent their federal taxes during 2016, they paid less than the U.S. average, according to the National Priorities Project. The average amount paid last year by South Dakotans was $11,842. That was $2,208 less than the U.S. average of $14,051. The highest-paying jurisdiction was Connecticut at $22,785, followed by the District of Columbia at $20,563 and New York at $19,782. The lowest-paying jurisdiction was West Virginia at $8,607. Just above was Maine at $8,630 and Mississippi at $8,747.
PIERRE — The Legislature created a new state board in the 2017 session that will focus on technical education. Sen. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, led the way. Waiting on the other side of the Capitol was Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls. Mickelson, the speaker of the House, had his arguments ready. He favored the measure, SB 65, and was its House sponsor. Earlier this week, state Department of Education official Tiffany Sanderson explained the pending law (it takes effect July 1) to the South Dakota workforce development council.
PIERRE — South Dakota Lottery officials predict $416,200 in net revenue from the first year of sales of the Lucky for Life lotto game that received initial approval last month. The estimate is based on $2 million of sales and $1,583,800 of expenses, including $1.2 million in prizes. The Legislature's six-member rules review committee has final approval. Those lawmakers meet May 1.
A building committee for the state Board of Regents meets by telephone Monday to discuss several projects sought for South Dakota State University in Brookings. SDSU officials want to: • Reuse and upgrade Harding Hall for academic purposes; • Build an addition to the student wellness center; and • Construct a steam tunnel and piping between the Ethel Austin Martin building and the animal science complex. The teleconference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Harding Hall is a 1952-era building that will cost approximately $8.3 million to renovate.
The U.S. attorney’s office for the district of South Dakota made the following announcements of federal sentences Thursday. Stephan George Jones, 45, of White River, was sentenced to 120 months in custody for conspiring with others to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Lavern David Luxon Jr., 25, of Rosebud, was sentenced to 96 months in prison for sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl during the night at her home in Parmalee.