PIERRE — State regulators are considering a plan to construct a 110-megawatt solar generating facility in northwest Oglala Lakota County on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The project, called Lookout Solar Park 1, would have 18 single-line transmission cables covering 11 miles in Custer County. The state Public Utilities Commission decided Jan. 17 the facility required a state permit. A staff attorney for the commission had recommended the facility didn't need state approval.
PIERRE — State courts shall use one standard when reviewing conditional use permits in South Dakota, the state Senate decided Thursday. Senators voted 22-13 for courts to use a writ of certiorari standard, regardless of the body that approved the permit. The House of Representatives approved the change 44-20 Feb. 20. Next stop for HB 1292 is the desk of Gov. Dennis Daugaard for review and a decision whether it becomes law. Sen. Art Rusch, R-Vermillion, said a certiorari review looks at whether the approving body correctly followed the process.
PIERRE — Some farm wineries throughout South Dakota compromised with Firehouse Wine Cellars on legislation Thursday that could allow the Rapid City-based company to stay in business. The House Local Government Committee broke for 10 minutes while the sides worked out the deal. "It seems we have reached an armistice," Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, said afterward. She presided as chairwoman for the hearing on SB 187.
PIERRE — South Dakota's state prisons won't get to set a policy for allowing older inmates back into society before they normally are eligible, even if the person is dying or seriously ill. A panel of state lawmakers reached the decision Thursday. Opponents sounded most troubled about early releases for inmates convicted of violent acts against other people. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 against the compassionate-care approach the state Department of Corrections brought.
PIERRE — A proposed amendment that would narrow victim rights in the South Dakota Constitution, by making family notifications less extensive and less expensive for counties and law enforcement, might go to a statewide vote June 5 rather than November. The state Senate decided 22 to 13 Wednesday to change the timing of HJR 1004 so the statewide vote coincides with June primary elections. Senators then decided 27 to eight to send the amended resolution to the House of Representatives for further action.
PIERRE — The Legislature is halfway to establishing a Sioux Falls cemetery for veterans of the nation's armed forces, their spouses and their minor children. South Dakota currently has the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, more than 350 miles from the state's largest city. The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday for the financial framework for the Sioux Falls site. "Twenty years," Sen. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, said as he began his remarks. That's how long military veterans have been trying to get another cemetery, Stalzer said.
PIERRE — South Dakota's laws on non-meandered public waters over private lands should run until lawmakers decide to change them, the state Senate decided Wednesday. The Legislature had passed the laws June 12 at a special session. Lawmakers decided that day the laws should end this June 30 unless they took further action. Senators resolved the matter Wednesday. They voted 20 to 15 to simply remove the date. That marked final legislative action. The House of Representatives had voted 51-12 for it Jan. 25.
PIERRE — State senators killed another attempt Wednesday to restrict money flowing from outside South Dakota paying for ballot-measure campaigns in South Dakota. Two House and Senate panels handled 12 election and campaign bills. Many of the measures face final legislative approval today (Thursday) or Monday. The outside-donors restriction, HB 1216, came from Rep. Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, and Sen. Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre. They watched as the Senate State Affairs Committee rejected it 5-4.
PIERRE — Makers and wholesalers of alcohol and their agents could engage again in sponsorships and advertising agreements with organizations and public facilities in South Dakota, under a measure that won final approval Tuesday from the Legislature. The state Senate voted 34-0 for HB 1157. "This is permissive legislation," Sen. Kris Langer, R-Dell Rapids, said. "No one is forced to do or not do anything." Senators also approved the 61 pages of HB 1070 that Sen. Jack Kolbeck said were mostly form and style changes and repeals of obsolete statutes.
PIERRE — A state lawmaker took another step Tuesday on creating a South Dakota advisory committee for services to deaf children up to age five. HB 1155 would establish a panel of nine to 15 adults including parents, experts and people from the state Department of Education and the state School for the Deaf. At least four of the members would be deaf or hard of hearing under the plan from Rep. Dan Ahlers, D-Dell Rapids.