PIERRE — With days running out, Republican legislators look hard-pressed to make good on their promises to pass campaign and ethics laws that would replace parts of Initiated Measure 22. The Legislature's super-majorities of Republicans repealed IM 22 three weeks ago, after voters had approved it in the Nov. 8 election. Legislators passed the repeal with an emergency clause, meaning it would go into effect upon the governor's signature. On Feb. 2, Gov. Dennis Daugaard made it a done deal.
PIERRE — No one testified as an opponent at a legislative hearing Thursday on whether to build a new laboratory for animal disease work at South Dakota State University. But no one stepped forward guaranteeing money to pay for it, either. The legislation has the support of Gov. Dennis Daugaard. His plan calls for $46.2 million of bonds to be gradually repaid from additional fees on the animal industry. The fees aren't going over well. So SB 172 is idling in the Joint Committee on Appropriations.
PIERRE — As home delivery spreads nationally, South Dakota might be ending its ban against alcohol deliveries to retail customers. Stores licensed to sell alcohol would be allowed to make deliveries on orders of $150 or more within their communities under a measure passed Thursday by the South Dakota Senate. The purchases would need to be made by the buyers in person in stores. The stores would need a new off-sale transfer license.
PIERRE — Families who want midwives to deliver their babies in their homes, rather than going to hospitals with doctors, might soon get their way in South Dakota. The state Senate approved a midwives-licensing act Wednesday. The 29-6 tally surprised the prime sponsor, Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark. The victory came one year after a licensing bill failed in the Senate on a 16-19 vote, after it had passed in the House of Representatives 54-13.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives blocked a new form of lodging tax Wednesday. South Dakota already allows $2 to be charged per night by hotels and motels in business improvement districts. HB 1085 would have allowed them to charge 3 percent on the room if the establishments in the district decided to choose that route. "It's an error to say this is a tax increase," Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, said during the House debate. He was the bill's prime sponsor. Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings, supported the alternate approach.
PIERRE — Dozens of people who work for community service providers, or whose children and relatives depend on their care, went to the Capitol and saw a legislative panel reject a tax increase Wednesday that was intended to help them. The Senate Taxation Committee voted 4-2 to kill Sen. Al Novstrup's plan. He wanted to raise property taxes by 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value and use the estimated $14 million to raise wages by $5 per hour at community service agencies and nursing facilities.
PIERRE — The Legislature's budget panel turned down the governor Wednesday on his plan for a state park in Spearfish Canyon. The Joint Committee on Appropriations tabled his request for $2.5 million. The park proposal riled many people in the Black Hills. The final straw was state tax revenues haven't met expectations. Within a span of about 20 minutes, several other bills also failed or were delayed by the budget committee. "We don't have a blank check to work with," Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said. He is a co-chairman of the committee.
PIERRE — Two volunteer lobbyists put make-believe "gold" watches containing candy on legislators' desks Monday. They mentioned it to a news reporter who later took a photograph showing four legislators wearing the watches. The reporter posted the photo on an Internet blog Monday night. The series of events sparked a backlash Tuesday from supporters of Initiated Measure 22 who said the picture was offensive.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives gave final approval Tuesday to a new state board that will govern South Dakota's public technical institutes. The vote was 65-2 in favor. SB 65 next goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his decision whether to sign it into law. Rep. Mark Mickelson described it as "a follow-on" to constitutional amendment R that voters approved in November.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives decided Tuesday that public officials, including legislators, should face restrictions on the gifts they receive from lobbyists and their employers. House members voted 66-0 for the legislation. Several representatives applauded when they saw the unanimous bipartisan vote. HB 1073 now moves to the Senate. The annual cap would be a total value of $100 per legislator from a lobbyist or employer. Gifts received by immediate family members would apply to the $100 limit.