PIERRE—The Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee will hear from state Department of Education officials Tuesday regarding a cooperative that handles much of the department's Indian education programming and employs two former department top officials. The legislators want to consider the department's responses to the six pages of findings from a state audit of the department's activities in 2014. One of the findings from the state Department of Legislative Audit involves two former top officials from the state Department of Education who went to work for the cooperati
PIERRE — The state constitution prohibits a governor from serving more than two consecutive terms. That means Gov. Dennis Daugaard can't run again in 2018, and so campaigns for election to the office have already started. There isn't a Democrat running yet, but there appear to be two Republicans for certain, in state Attorney General Marty Jackley and state Rep. Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls. Each ended 2014 with some cash remaining in their campaign accounts. Jackley reported $325,129.18 on hand.
PIERRE—Less than a decade after majorities of South Dakota voters rejected attempts to ban nearly all abortions within the state, some members of the Legislature now plan to take a resolution to the U.S. Supreme Court asking that abortion be illegal nationwide. Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, said he and two other state lawmakers, Rep. Lynne DiSanto, R-Rapid City, and Rep. Kris Langer, R-Dell Rapids, will present the resolution on Sept. 15 to the U.S.
PIERRE—The directors for the South Dakota High School Activities Association changed their process in 2014 for selecting sites of state athletics and arts competitions. They changed the opinions of legislators, too. Members of the Legislature's interim committee looking into the SDHSAA gave a general thumbs-up to the new method Thursday. Three of the directors and five high school officials—no two from the same community—now make the choices.
PIERRE—The battle over setting people's gender in South Dakota probably will carry into the 2016 legislative session. The Legislature's interim committee dealing with the issue Thursday requested a draft of a potential state law. The proposal from Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, would rely on official birth certificates and visual inspections for determining gender rather than people deciding their own. He said gender is determined at conception and the transgender debate is riding the gay marriage wave. "This is South Dakota. We haven't adopted the East Coast culture.
PIERRE—The federal government doesn't want Ellsworth Air Force Base to simply accept the rate hikes that Montana-Dakota Utilities proposes for natural gas in South Dakota. U.S. Department of Defense lawyers are representing the base before the state Public Utilities Commission. The commission voted Thursday to allow the intervention.
PIERRE—Mary Cundy explained to the governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on K-12 education Wednesday how the Statewide Center for E-Learning aids South Dakota schools in filling gaps caused by teacher shortages. But her story also revealed the center at Northern State University isn't always able to give all of the help schools need when it still has teaching vacancies come August, as the school year gets ready to start. Cundy, who teaches calculus while also serving as the administrator, said she and 15 other teachers at the center taught 24 courses during the past school year for 1,233 s
PIERRE — A state panel working to combat sexual abuse of children in South Dakota began consideration Tuesday about whether to ask the Legislature to require training in mandatory reporting for people in professions that often deal with young people. The Jolene's Law task force looked at the online program used in Arkansas as a possible model for South Dakota. Several panel members said there could be small amounts of federal funding available within the budgets of several departments of state government. "It is kind of a big issue," said Casey Murschel, of Sioux Falls.
PIERRE—The justices, judges and staff for South Dakota's Unified Judicial System won't be publicly taking sides on a proposal to enshrine victims' rights in the state Constitution. A petition drive began in recent days to put the victims' rights measure on the 2016 general-election ballot. One of the 19 provisions calls for restitution to be paid first to victims before paying any amount owed to the government. The UJS since before 2000 has followed a hierarchy that puts victims first in line for restitution, according to Greg Sattizahn, state courts administrator. Next come liquidat
PIERRE—The state Brand Board proposed a no-growth budget request for the coming fiscal year Wednesday and voted to consider asking the Legislature for authority to increase fees for various services in the years ahead. State law caps the fees the board charges for brand registrations, renewals and transfers and for livestock ownership inspections at sale barns, ranches and processors. The fees apply for cattle and horses west of the Missouri River.