PIERRE — State government's Lottery Commission adopted new rules Thursday affecting two of its lotto games. One set of changes covers Mega Millions. The price for a Mega Millions ticket would double to $2 and the jackpot would start at $40 million, rather than the present $15 million. Most of the Mega Millions prizes including the jackpot would be more difficult to win, too.
PIERRE — State government’s secretary of education said she “was not aware of any fraud, misappropriation or criminal activity” prior to taking the GEAR UP grant away from an educational cooperative in September 2015 and the audits that followed. State Education Secretary Melody Schopp provided written answers this week to questions sent by the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee.
PIERRE – An email from seven years ago shows Melody Schopp knew about financial improprieties in South Dakota’s GEAR UP program for American Indian students before she became state government’s secretary of education. LuAnn Werdel wrote the email Jan. 10, 2011. Werdel was state government’s director of Indian education.
PIERRE — Several members of state government's Aeronautics Commission said Tuesday they want more financial information on its federal and state funding balances. Commissioner Arne Hauge, of Canistota, made the original request. Hauge said he "ran a tape" of agenda items that showed state commitments on public airport projects of more than $800,000. Joel Jundt, the deputy secretary of transportation, said the commission would have the information at the next meeting. Another commissioner, Skip VanDerhule, of Yankton, supported Hauge.
PIERRE — In a case about public roads that three township boards of supervisors closed in Day County during 2014, state government's Supreme Court stopped zigzagging. South Dakota's high court set two standards in the official opinion released last week: • One: The justices' power under the state constitution covers only quasi-judicial proceedings. • Two: That power extends to judging whether administrative decisions made by public boards were arbitrary. The court said arbitrary means "not governed by any fixed rules or standard."
PIERRE — The 105 members of the Legislature and the governor might want to take a fresh look in the 2018 session at South Dakota's laws on public records. South Dakota has some of the strongest laws in the nation protecting public officials at the expense of the citizens. Here are some examples. There is an exemption for correspondence, memoranda, calendars or logs of appointments, working papers, and records of telephone calls of public officials or employees. This has multiple problems.
PIERRE — Horse and dog racing might get a little more freedom in South Dakota. State government's Commission on Gaming is considering a variety of rule changes. One would lift a restriction on what are known as multi-jurisdictional totalizer hubs. The hubs currently must deposit all money from account holders in a state-chartered or federal-chartered bank that must be in South Dakota. The commission might remove the "in South Dakota" part. That would allow hubs to put the money in any institution that has a state or federal bank charter.
PIERRE — State government's Brand Board agreed Wednesday to recommend a $2.3 million budget that could end in a deficit for fiscal 2019. The hole is estimated at about $106,000. It results primarily from South Dakota's five-year renewal cycle for registering livestock brands. That's why some board members are talking to friends and neighbors in West River cattle country this summer about asking the Legislature to raise brand fees in 2018 or 2019.
PIERRE — NorthWestern Energy received additional time Tuesday to re-run its avoided-cost model and suggest what it might pay for electricity from wind farms Consolidated Edison Development might build in Brule, Aurora and possibly Davison counties. NorthWestern Energy attorney Al Brogan told members of state government's Public Utilities Commission his company could complete the work within two weeks. Con Ed lawyer William Taylor asked whether the commission wanted a firm deadline and whether his client would be allowed to challenge NorthWestern's number.
PIERRE — State government's Board of Regents wants central office staff and officials from South Dakota's two largest universities to bring a plan for closing the jointly operated Capital University Center in Pierre. Without taking a vote, the regents last week directed the plan should be ready for their next board meeting Oct. 3-5 at Dakota State University in Madison. The matter came to a head Thursday, during a long discussion about the university centers at Pierre, Sioux Falls and Rapid City, on the final afternoon of a three-day planning meeting in Pierre.