PIERRE — Why doesn't anyone mention Tom Daschle when they talk about possible Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate election in 2016? Daschle, who turned 67 on Dec. 9, is the only Democrat associated with South Dakota's political scene who has the mustard and connections for a vigorous campaign. He hasn't shown any interest. The South Dakota Democratic Party is a boat adrift. The retirement of the party's last federal office-holder, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, last year left the Democrats without a leader. Neither former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin nor former U.S.
PIERRE — The state Revenue Department found this week some traditions in South Dakota are best left untouched, such as charging current prices for early renewals of license plates by motorists before price increases take effect. The department's Division of Motor Vehicles director sent an email to county treasurers Monday about the many changes contained in the highway and bridge funding package that won approval Friday from the Legislature. One of the changes is a 20 percent increase in license plate prices for most noncommercial vehicles that takes effect April 1. The email sent at
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Thursday he signed 19 more pieces of legislation into law, leaving just eight on which he hasn't publicly disclosed his decisions. Among those eight are two that deal with drainage issues. One would create nine river-basin districts for water management throughout South Dakota. The other establishes the availability of mediation services for drainage disputes. Another pending is the $7.50 youth minimum wage that was approved by the Legislature in the wake of voters increasing the state minimum wage to $8.50 per hour in the Nov.
PIERRE — State lawmakers purposely decided against delaying increases in license plate fees when they approved the highway and bridge funding legislation on the final day of the main run of the 2015 session last week. The House of Representatives engaged in a sharp debate Friday, largely between Rep. Thomas Brunner and Rep. Dick Werner, about whether county treasurers were ready to charge the 20 percent fee increases on vehicle registrations. Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the legislation into law Tuesday.
PIERRE -- No joke: Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the highway and bridge funding legislation into state law Tuesday.
PIERRE -- The state Board of Finance held a public hearing Tuesday on increased reimbursement rates for a variety of meal and mileage expenses that state government employees incur on official duty. The board didn't receive any written comments about the proposal and heard from one person at the hearing. "We think it's been a long time coming," said Eric Ollila, executive director for the South Dakota State Employees Organization. The board, by law, must keep the comment period open for 10 additional days before making a decision. The consensus was that a special meeting could be held in a
PIERRE — Black Hills Power spent more than $5.9 million for tree trimming and removing other excess vegetation along 740 miles of overhead lines in its South Dakota service areas during 2013 and through November 2014, according to a report accepted Tuesday by state regulators. Those efforts represent the first two years of work by contractors for the company under a five-year plan that was established and approved in 2013 by the state Public Utilities Commission. The company intends to spend another $13 million for work along approximately 1,400 additional miles of power lines through
SIOUX FALLS -- Proposed standards for science education in South Dakota's public schools became the latest to receive criticism from some parents whose values are at odds with the direction of the state Department of Education. The state Board of Education held a public hearing Monday that was split between science professionals who strongly support the new standards and opposing parents who disbelieve climate change and evolution. State law requires the board to hold four public hearings on changes in school standards.
SIOUX FALLS — The state Board of Education decided unanimously Monday to raise tuition and fees for students at South Dakota's four public technical institutes. The board voted 7-0 to approve a total price of $145 per credit hour for the coming academic year that starts this fall. It currently is $137 per credit hour. That is a 5.8 percent increase, according to Tiffany Sanderson, director for the state Division of Career and Technical Education. Mike Carney, the president for Lake Area Technical Institute at Watertown, said the additional tuition and fees are about one-half of the a
PIERRE -- A variety of changes to South Dakota's elections law, including stiffer requirements for independent candidates and for any candidate to withdraw from the ballot, won passage Friday from the Legislature. The House of Representatives voted 50-16 and the Senate 26-7 to approve the package. The measure, SB 69, began as proposals from new Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and the state Board of Elections to provide an earlier window for candidates to circulate nominating petitions and to provide more time for court challenges of petition signatures. But the bill gradually gathered furt