FORT PIERRE — An argument about equal rights took place a few days ago during the meeting of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission. Equal rights, that is, for the opportunity to enjoy the natural resources of South Dakota. And more specifically, equal rights in the opportunity to take fish, whether by spear, arrow or hook. Or, as commissioner Paul Dennert, of Columbia, put it, spears and arrows have been around much longer than motor boats and electronic depth-finders. It's an interesting fundamental question. The argument was whether to allow a general expansion of spearfishing
PIERRE — South Dakota state government employees might receive higher reimbursements for meals and mileage while on official travel next year. The state Board of Finance discussed possible increases Tuesday. Jason Dilges, state commissioner of finance and management, said he would bring a formal proposal to the board's meeting in mid-January. Dilges said the most responsible move would be to make the increases effective July 1. That would allow for increases to be considered as part of the Legislature's budgeting process and provide time for the Legislature's rules review committee t
PIERRE — South Dakota generally doesn't have training and equipment that emergency crews would need for an incident involving crude oil, an official said Monday. Lynn DeYoung, Minnehaha County emergency management director, asked the State Emergency Response Commission to consider whether additional steps should be taken. Emergency managers don't have authority in South Dakota over the locations and duration of trains that are on sidings, and don't routinely receive daily information about what is moving through their counties, DeYoung said. Minnesota is working on training, funding a
FORT PIERRE — Two state fishery officials said Friday there hasn't been any further evidence of quagga mussels and zebra mussels in South Dakota waters since two initial incidents in recent months at Angostura reservoir and Lewis and Clark reservoir. The state Wildlife Division's fisheries staff, however, is considering possible modifications to its invasive-species management plan, according to fisheries chief John Lott. He told members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission there are good rules already in place that address plants, fish and crayfish. But mussels involve transp
PIERRE — Twenty winters ago, Gov.-elect Bill Janklow pushed forward on his campaign promise to roll back property taxes by 30 percent from their 1994 levels. Janklow and the Legislature delivered the first $80 million percent during his first year in office. They needed the better part of his next seven years in office to find here and there the final $40 million. Those numbers come to mind because of the debates now over low teacher salaries in our public schools and rising student tuition at our public universities and technical institutes. Here is the challenge. Could we find ove
PIERRE -- A ruling by the state Labor Department declares that some bonuses can be counted when calculating employees' average weekly earnings for worker compensation cases. Nondiscretionary bonuses such as longevity pay, seniority pay and meeting individual performance goals can be included. Bonuses provided in lieu of compensation also can be included as earnings. But discretionary bonuses cannot, such as one-time payments to all employees regardless of performance, Christmas turkeys and signing-hiring bonuses. State Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman issued the ruling recently, after a hear
PIERRE -- A project received approval for a large refund of state taxes on equipment purchases as one of the decisions Tuesday by the state Board of Economic Development. The board found that "PEG Project 1" is eligible for tax refunds up to $356,420 under South Dakota's reinvestment payment program. PEG is the name for a holding company opening a fine-metals manufacturing plant at Beresford. The board approved two low-interest loans. *One loan was $441,900 to Cattail Company of New Hope, Minn., for its project at Woodland Cabinetry at Sisseton. * The other loan was $360,000 to Pierre Eco
FORT PIERRE -- Open spearfishing for game species definitely won't be allowed statewide, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission decided Thursday. But dogs might be allowed for hunting mountain lions outside the Black Hills. Both proposals began as citizen petitions to the commission. The special process, rarely used, allows a citizen to ask the commission for a specific rule. The public hearing took 70 minutes on the spearfishing expansion.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Lottery Commission voted unanimously Thursday against proceeding with a study of financial and social effects from legal gambling. The three consulting proposals ranged in price from $518,500 to $600,000. No other gambling organization offered to help pay. "I had doubts about the study from the start," commissioner Bob Hartford, of Pierre, said. Because of the expense and the lack of support, Hartford suggested the study be scrapped. Commissioner Jim Putnam, of Armour, agreed.
PIERRE — South Dakota is the prospective site for as many as five agricultural processing projects that would total $1 billion in value and employ 3,000 people, according to a state official. Odds are "very good" four of them eventually will open in South Dakota, according to Pat Costello, commissioner for the Governor's Office of Economic Development. "They take years to develop because they are large projects," Costello said. He declined to name the types of products or provide other information that might lead to speculation about the businesses. However he confirmed none of the p