PIERRE -- The 2014 budget year that ends June 30 hasn't been kind to the South Dakota Lottery. Officials said Thursday revenue was down; the estimated total through June 14 from the three sets of games was nearly $105.7 million. At the similar point one year ago it was $107.5 million. State government's 50 percent take from privately owned video lottery machines was almost $91.6 million.
PIERRE -- While the federal funding level remains uncertain, the state Department of Transportation is pushing forward with its public meetings this summer about South Dakota's next highway plan. In a switch, one meeting will be converted to a statewide Internet session. Department officials announced the change Thursday to the state Transportation Commission. "We're hoping we can get more participation on this," Joel Jundt said. He is the department's director of planning and engineering. The schedule in recent years has been five community meetings.
PIERRE -- Dakota Rural Action won a foothold Tuesday in a major utility company's request to charge higher prices for electricity to its western South Dakota customers. Black Hills Power, however, was able to convince the state Public Utilities Commission that Dakota Rural Action should be limited to participating as a commenter, rather than receive full status as an intervener. Black Hills Power applied for a 9.27 percent increase that would generate an estimated $14.6 million more annually in electricity revenue for the Rapid City-based utility. The company said the average residential cu
PIERRE -- Holy cow, we lather up over high school sports in South Dakota. And well we should. So let me offer two observations. First, the South Dakota High School Activities Association took giant steps forward in recent months becoming more open to everyone about its activities. It took a law from the Legislature that Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, got rolling. The gain is huge for all. Second, the association doesn't need to be disbanded or reorganized so that Sioux Falls gets an automatic seat on the board of directors. That's the suggestion coming from Sioux Falls.
PIERRE -- The state Railroad Board remained in a holding pattern Wednesday about restoring service on the Napa-Platte rail line in south-central South Dakota. The board renewed its short-term lease with the Napa-Platte regional railroad authority and the sublease for Dakota Southern to operate the state-owned track. Regular traffic hasn't moved on the line for some 30 years, however. Meanwhile new and old plans continue to swirl and stagnate and clash, without any progress. The latest friction is whether Dakota Southern is benefiting financially from federal tax credits that legally can be
PIERRE -- Its manager said Wednesday that much of the Dakota and Iowa Railroad's track is under water from heavy rains that flooded southeastern South Dakota in recent days. "We are out of service completely from Canton to Elk Point," Jack Parliament told the state Railroad Board.
PIERRE -- Their latest reports show South Dakota's trust funds for government retirees and jobless workers have regained their footing financially. Both the South Dakota Retirement System and the state unemployment insurance program hit rough spots during and after the 2008-2009 recession.
PIERRE -- A new Legislative Research Council director will make more than the governor, officials say. The new director for the South Dakota Legislative Research Council will start Aug. 5 and will be paid an annual salary of $125,000, the chairman of the Legislature's Executive Board said Monday. Jason Hancock currently is the deputy chief of staff for the Idaho Department of Education and previously was a budget and policy analyst for the Idaho Legislative Services Office. There weren't any South Dakota applicants among the finalists considered for the vacancy, according to Sen.
PIERRE -- The Legislature's Planning Committee began the latest look at South Dakota's school funding Monday. The work is scheduled to run for two years. The current formula has been in place since 1997. It was created in response to protests from property taxpayers that peaked during the mid-1990s. The main criticism has been the cap on annual increases.
PIERRE -- There is only one thing to be said if you voted in South Dakota's primary elections: Thank you.