PIERRE — All registered voters get to decide June 5 whether the South Dakota Constitution should be changed regarding victim rights. The question is whether guarantees now reach too far, after voters adopted the Marsy's Law amendment in the November 2016 general election. The Legislature decided voters should consider the matter again. State lawmakers voted 27-8 in the Senate and 61-6 in the House of Representatives to put another set of changes on the June ballot.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission agreed Thursday to spend more than $600,000 a year for environmental sensor stations along South Dakota highways. The funding starts this year at $612,000 and would gradually rise each year to $662,000 for 2022. There are 87 sites collecting traffic and weather data across the state road system. Another 10 are camera-only sites. The information has covered purposes such as analyzing vehicle counts, showing motorists current road conditions and helping winter crews decide whether to plow.
PIERRE — An outside firm's survey indicates state Attorney General Marty Jackley leads U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem for the Republican nomination for South Dakota governor in the June 5 primary election. Jackley had 39 percent and Noem 38 percent in the May 4-7 survey by Leverage Public Strategies of Birmingham, Alabama. The potential margin of error was 5.2 percentage points. That means either candidate potentially could be substantially ahead of the other.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission accepted low bids for seven highway and bridge projects Thursday. Among them were installation of lighting along US 12 at Aberdeen and work on various roads in the Rapid City area. Ringgenberg Electric Inc. of Aberdeen bid $883,739.23 to put in lights on U.S. 12 for 1.9 miles on Aberdeen's east side, from the Melgaard Road intersection to Brown County 385 Avenue. The engineer estimate was $959,770.15. Two others bid. Three projects were awarded in Pennington and Meade counties.
VERMILLION—Black Hills State University received approval Wednesday to start planning a master of arts in teaching degree for special education. The South Dakota Board of Regents gave the green light during a meeting at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Courses would be offered online and cover two years including one semester of student teaching. The program would start this fall if approved.
The University of South Dakota Foundation passed its $250 million fundraising goal ahead of schedule and aims to reach $300 million by the end of 2018, its president and chief executive officer said Wednesday. Steve Brown presented his six-page report to the state Board of Regents during a meeting on the USD campus in Vermillion. USD staff broadcast the proceedings on the internet. "We're very proud of the growth of our endowment," Brown said.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Real Estate Commission no longer checks credit reports for most people requesting new licenses. The five commissioners voted March 15 to stop. Director Melissa Miller said Wednesday her office spent about $9,000 last year for reports. The commission paid for them, rather than billing applicants. Typically her office handled 350 to 400 new applications per year, she said. The commission didn't require credit checks for approximately 2,000 renewals each year.
Members of the South Dakota Board of Education Standards said Tuesday they support offering three tracks of additional graduation endorsements for high school students. But some members questioned labels the state Department of Education suggested. As proposed: "Advanced" would be for students who intend to enroll at technical institutes and universities; "Advanced career" would be for students preparing to directly join the workforce; and "Advanced honors" would be for students in rigorous courses required for state-funded Opportunity scholarships.
PIERRE — South Dakota might allow all hunting groups to have unlimited numbers and might stop requiring archery education for bowhunters. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposed the changes at the meeting last week in Custer State Park. A public hearing is set for 2 p.m. CT June 7 at the next meeting in Aberdeen. The hunting-party restriction of 20 people carrying weapons has been in place since at least 1984. It covered all groups except those pursuing varmints and predators.
PIERRE — If you don't like South Dakota's current state government, or want to improve it, proposed changes will be on the statewide election ballot this fall. The measure, known as Amendment W, is a proposed amendment to the state constitution. It seeks to limit campaign contributions, prohibit political giving from labor unions and corporations, ban lobbyists from making gifts to senior public officials, create a new ethics board and require statewide votes on changes to the ballot-measure process.