PIERRE — A Minnesota utility won approval Tuesday for one of the largest economic incentives ever made by a South Dakota state government agency. The South Dakota Board of Economic Development awarded a reinvestment payment up to $8,187,266 to Northern States Power Company, also known as Xcel Energy. The money comes from Building South Dakota. The Legislature created it in 2013. The payment is for wind-farm development in Grant and Codington counties in the northeastern region.
PIERRE — Come Thursday and Friday, 26 of South Dakota's public school districts will send officials to state government's School Finance Accountability Board. The local representatives want to explain why their districts didn't meet thresholds the Legislature set for teacher compensation as part of a new formula intended to boost pay. In that same 2016 legislative session, lawmakers increased the rate of South Dakota's sales and use tax to 4.5 percent, from the 4 percent it had been since 1969.
PIERRE — Republican and Democratic lawmakers agreed Monday several of their members should deliver a bipartisan message to the full Legislature in January about mutual goals for the 2018 session. Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, rolled out the idea during a meeting of the Legislature's Executive Board that he chairs this year. After some discussion, he said there would be four people and the Democratic minority would be represented.
PIERRE — The Legislature's Executive Board decided Monday to ask voters to raise salaries for themselves and their successors. They currently receive $6,000. The pay would instead become an amount equal to 20 percent of state household income. That would be more than $10,000 if it currently was in effect, Jason Hancock told the lawmakers. He is executive director for the Legislative Research Council. To accomplish the change, voters must amend the South Dakota Constitution.
PIERRE — The Health Care Solutions Coalition that Gov. Dennis Daugaard brought together three autumns ago still trudges along. The members now concentrate on ways state government can shift a greater share of financial responsibility for tribal health care back to the federal government. But interest from tribal participants seems to be fading even for some of those possibilities. Minutes from the Oct. 7, 2015 meeting summarized the coalition's original purpose.
PIERRE — A bull owned by one rancher and another bull owned by another rancher in western South Dakota somehow wound up with the opposite owners. Then the story turned stranger yet. The bull belonging to Tom Costello, a rancher from the Buffalo area, was among cattle owned by Matt Sandal, a rancher from the Quinn area. Sandal had a third man take the cattle, including Costello's bull, to St. Onge Livestock for sale. State government's brand inspector saw the bull didn't belong to Sandal and directed St. Onge Livestock to put a hold on the proceeds.
PIERRE — Legislators assigned to a workforce housing study for South Dakota agreed Thursday they would offer six measures for the 2018 session. The panel chaired by Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, delayed the start of the meeting for a few minutes because seven lawmakers were needed for a quorum. An eighth legislator joined the discussion in time for the final bill under consideration. Here's a look at pieces in the package: Draft one would reconfigure the distribution of money in the Building South Dakota program the Legislature created in 2013.
PIERRE — State government's Board of Water and Natural Resources put 27 projects for 24 communities and systems on South Dakota's state water-facilities plan Thursday. Nine of the projects already are on the state list, according to Andy Bruels, an official for state government's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. But Bruels said the nine would fall off at the end of 2017 if the board didn't renew them. (They are marked with asterisks.) Board member Paul Gnirk of New Underwood asked for the total amount of the estimated costs.
PIERRE — State government's Real Estate Commission has revoked the license for Trish Martinell. She represented Innovative Property Management of Sioux Falls. In the consent agreement, Martinell said she wouldn't seek any license from the commission for five years and would pay penalties totaling $5,000 for complaints filed in 2016 and 2017. The Martinell revocation was part of official minutes from the Sept. 7 meeting that the commission approved Wednesday. Those minutes showed the commission levied administrative fines against:
PIERRE — As they left the room together, a group representing Scout Clean Energy received advice Tuesday from Gary Hanson. "Don't be playing in the dirt," Hanson cautioned them, "until you get a permit." Those words carried the weight of 15 years that Hanson been elected to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Scout Clean Energy is a Boulder, Colorado-based developer of projects that use turbines to turn wind into electricity.