PIERRE — Two communities in eastern South Dakota received approval for local infrastructure grants Tuesday from the state Board of Economic Development. North Sioux City will get $250,000 of state assistance for expanding Flynn industrial park to host several additional businesses. Aurora, a small city in Brookings County, will see $50,000 of state assistance for a road project serving South Dakota Ag Labs. The plant-testing facility started at South Dakota State University campus in Brookings.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has made several new appointments and re-appointed several people to state government boards and commissions. Three new appointees to the state Teacher Compensation Review Board are Becky Guffin, of Aberdeen; Don Kirkegaard, of Pierre; and Tony Venhuizen, of Pierre. Their appointments took effect March 1. Their terms continue until March 1, 2021. The state Senate recently confirmed Guffin as a governor's appointee to the state Board of Education. She is superintendent for the Aberdeen district's public schools.
PIERRE — A public school district would lose some state aid if its lowest monthly general fund cash balance were larger than South Dakota law allows, state officials said Monday. South Dakota Department of Education officials explained the new requirements to members of state government's School Finance Accountability during a teleconference. The provisions were part of the 2016 teacher compensation package. The purpose of the cash balance provisions is to discourage school districts from stockpiling money that comes from taxpayers.
PIERRE — This year will be season 100 for pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The first, in 1919, lasted one day. Five hundred residents and 500 non-residents bought licenses. They killed 200 birds that Oct. 30. The 1920 season started Nov. 4. It lasted two days. One thousand residents and 1,000 non-residents were licensed. They killed 1,000 birds. The 1921 season went seven days. The Nov. 21 start was the latest on record for South Dakota. That year 10,000 residents and 1,000 non-residents got licenses. They killed 7,000 birds.
PIERRE — Public schools in South Dakota would receive a 1 percent increase in state aid to education under a measure the Legislature adopted Thursday night. House members approved it 50-15. The Senate followed with a 29-3 vote in favor. In December, Gov. Dennis Daugaard recommended state aid stay the same, because state government couldn't afford more. The Legislature since then revised state government's 2019 revenue estimate upward by more than $18 million. State aid relies on a combination of local property taxes and state government funding.
PIERRE — The state Senate gave final approval Thursday to the funding plan for constructing a precision agriculture building at South Dakota State University. "It's part of the funding plan for the precision ag project," Sen. Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, said. The measure passed 30-2. SB 183 appropriates $650,000 of state funds annually to repaying bonded debt that will be issued for about one-third of the $55 million project.
PIERRE — Some dying or seriously ill inmates in state prisons could become eligible for release ahead of normal schedule under legislation headed to Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 March 1 to kill HB 1009 after the lobbyist for the South Dakota county prosecutors said too many inmates would be eligible. Later that day Sen. Deb Peters gave it new life. The Hartford Republican is lead Senate sponsor. Several changes narrowed the scope of the measure the governor will consider:
Senators voted 25-9 Wednesday to approve funding changes for Building South Dakota, an economic development fund established by the Legislature in 2013. Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said the three remaining programs could be realigned next year if needed. Funding would be $4.9 million in 2019. It had received a lump sum of $30 million in 2014 that the governor wanted to last three years. Some of the money remains. ONE YEAR ONLY: Senators decided 32-2 to create a state license for wine manufacturers.
PIERRE — The first pay raise for South Dakota lawmakers since 1999 won final approval Wednesday from the state House of Representatives. Rep. Leslie Heinemann, R-Flandreau, made brief remarks in favor. The tally was 52-15. Lawmakers would be paid an amount equal to one-fifth of the median South Dakota household income each year. Heinemann said the Senate changed the bill slightly so the U.S. Census Bureau's current population survey would be used. The latest estimate from the Legislative Research Council puts the amount at about $11,800 next year.
PIERRE — Every voter in South Dakota now has a reason to cast a ballot June 5. The state House of Representatives decided Wednesday a special election should be held that day on a proposed change to victim's rights in the state constitution. The timing coincides with primary elections setting political party tickets for county, legislative and state offices in the November general election. Other proposed amendments and initiated laws will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. South Dakota held one special election on constitutional amendments in 2001.