PIERRE — Legislation officially in the hopper before the 2018 session continued to climb during the weekend. House committee faced 71 bills as of Sunday evening. Senate panels had 65. The session starts noon Tuesday, with a 1 p.m. State of the State address from Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Rift deepens Tribal politics wedged into the 2018 legislative session days before it even opens. It's another spat among lawmakers on the State-Tribal Relations Committee.
PIERRE — The Legislature opens the 2018 regular session at noon Tuesday. There are 38 working days this year. Number 37 comes Friday, March 9. Number 38 is Monday, March 26, after a two-week break. During the past nine months, South Dakota lawmakers seemed at least as busy as previous interims. By mid-Wednesday, House committees already faced 43 proposed laws, while 34 awaited Senate panels. These pre-filed bills are changes state government agencies seek or came from the Legislature's special committees that met during the off-season.
PIERRE — The Associated School Boards of South Dakota can file a brief supporting state government's Water Management Board against a complaint brought by George Ferebee, the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission unanimously decided Friday. Chairman Kevin Krull directed the commission's lawyer to distribute the brief to the five commissioners. Krull is Meade County state's attorney.
PIERRE — How does Dennis Daugaard feel about his eighth, and final, State of the State address he'll deliver Tuesday afternoon as the governor of South Dakota? "It is something a person thinks about in this job," he said. The speech will be a mix, according to Daugaard. He wants to look back at what's happened in the seven years he's been governor. And review current conditions. And outline what he still hopes South Dakota can accomplish before next January when this second, and final, term as governor ends for him and his wife, Linda.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard plans to talk most about workforce development in his last State of the State speech opening the Legislature's annual session next week. In a telephone interview Thursday, the Republican governor said he wants to show lawmakers in his remarks Tuesday what's happened to the South Dakota students in the high school class of 2010. The statistics start in 2006 when they were in ninth grade. Twenty-three percent didn't receive high school diplomas, according to Daugaard.
PIERRE — The state attorney general said Tuesday requiring longer prison times for distributing methamphetamine in South Dakota could lead to fewer men and women in state prisons. Marty Jackley said that's one reason he intends to ask the Legislature for tougher sentences for meth distribution. He predicted word would spread within the illegal-drug culture that distributing meth in South Dakota would mean longer stays behind bars for those convicted.
PIERRE — Ten years after he was elected statewide leader for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Rev. David Zellmer returns to his former church and South Dakota's Capital next week for Interfaith Day at the Legislature. The event in Pierre is Jan. 10, the second day of the 2018 legislative session. Zellmer, who now lives in Sioux Falls, previously was senior pastor at Lutheran Memorial Church in Pierre. He was chosen as bishop in 2007.
PIERRE — Seldom does this happen. But, earlier this month, it did. The credit committee for the South Dakota Board of Economic Development recommended a loan be made to a company. Eight days later, the full board refused it. The money would have come from state government's Revolving Economic Development Initiative Fund. South Dakotans paid an extra penny of sales tax, temporarily, to create the REDI loan program in 1987. Gov. George S. Mickelson proposed it during his first legislative session as South Dakota's chief executive.
PIERRE — Investor-owned companies selling electricity or natural gas to customers in South Dakota should share the savings from federal tax reductions coming in 2018 so that consumers benefit, state Public Utilities Commission members decided Friday. The three commissioners voted unanimously for a Feb. 1 deadline when companies must provide general information about estimated effects of Congress cutting the federal corporate-income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.
PIERRE — State courts can suspend execution of sentences on the condition that defendants practice good behavior longer than the maximum times they would have been behind bars, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in a decision released Thursday. "We conclude that sentencing courts have such power because it has been delegated to them by the (South Dakota) Constitution and the Legislature has not restricted it," Justice Steven Zinter wrote.