PIERRE — South Dakota senators gave final legislative approval Tuesday to expanding the public notice period to 72 hours for meetings of state boards and commissions. The legislation passed 35-0 on the Senate’s consent calendar without debate. The measure, HB 1006, now goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his decision whether to sign it into law.
PIERRE — State senators voted 27-8 Tuesday to change the effective date to July 1 for initiated measures, referrals and constitutional amendments after South Dakota voters pass them. They currently become effective shortly after the general election in November. Sen. Jim White, R-Huron, sponsored the legislation. He said it would make ballot measures similar to legislation that normally takes effect July 1.
PIERRE – Setting aside partisanship, state senators voted unanimously Monday asking President Donald Trump to visit South Dakota. Sen. Jim Bolin said it’s his belief that the new Republican president hasn’t been to South Dakota. Bolin, R-Canton, suggested Trump should visit the Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse sites. “Or hopefully both,” Bolin said.
PIERRE — We're trying to follow a harsh new rule in our house this Christmas. No purchases over the internet, at least not if the company doesn't collect South Dakota sales taxes. This would seem to violate a rule of nature. No one in my circle goes looking for more taxes to pay. But it's not fair to South Dakota businesses that they're typically at a 4.5 percent disadvantage against internet competitors when state sales tax is added. The disadvantage worsens when municipal sales taxes are added.
PIERRE — The Anti-Corruption Act approved by a majority of South Dakota voters last month is constitutional and doesn't hamper the existing employment arrangements of legislators or their family members, according to the state attorney general's office. A group of more than 12 legislators and some spouses, led by Senate Republican leader Blake Curd of Sioux Falls, want state Circuit Judge Mark Barnett to stop parts or all of Initiated Measure 22 from taking effect.
PIERRE — Trustees for the South Dakota Retirement System endorsed possible changes Wednesday to help keep it solvent. The proposed changes also would close routes for employees can currently use to take unfair advantage and would add a punishment for employers found falsely reporting compensation. Next comes asking the Legislature for approval during the 2017 session that opens Jan. 10. SDRS executive director Rob Wylie said the key point is benefits will be adjusted any year the system wasn't fully funded.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard asked the Legislature for 1 percent increases in state funding for public schools, Medicaid service providers and state government employees as part of the next state budget Tuesday. The Republican governor said the lean recommendations reflect state tax revenues that haven't met expectations this year. He said revenues likely would finish $26 million below the estimate for the current fiscal budget year that runs through June 30, 2017.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission granted a 180-day delay Tuesday on a rate adjustment for South Dakota electricity customers of Northern States Power, which does business under the Xcel Energy name. The commission's staff wants the time to "take a closer look" at the company's proposed increase, PUC lawyer Kristen Edwards said. PUC Chairman Chris Nelson said amount is essentially 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. "I want to commend staff for keeping your radar screens up," Nelson said.
PIERRE — When it comes to occupations, State Sen. Phyllis Heineman is the only member of the South Dakota Legislature who lists "homemaker." Homemaker seems so retro, when modern times place so much emphasis on professional attainment and gender equality and political correctness. So call her rebel. Heineman, R-Sioux Falls, leaves the Legislature as this year ends. The former teacher's first piece of legislation was to appropriate $4 million for a school voucher program. That was back in 2000. It didn't pass.
PIERRE — State Attorney General Marty Jackley wants to quickly address whether crime and emergency records can remain open or must be closed under the Marsy's Law victim's rights amendment that voters added to the South Dakota constitution last month. Charles McGuigan, who is the attorney general's chief deputy, served as moderator of teleconference meeting Friday morning of lawyers, law enforcement officials and others involved in the criminal justice system.