The state Board of Regents, whose members govern South Dakota's public universities, don't want former students to lose their driver licenses over debts owed to the campuses. That's despite a 2015 law that allows the driver license for any South Dakotan to be revoked eventually if debt owed to any part of state government stays unpaid. The regents don't know at this point what they can do. They backed away this past week from a work-around agreement that an official for the universities system had negotiated.
MOBRIDGE — A state parks official said Friday the U.S. Forest Service is the lead agency for the environmental impact statement needed for connecting the George S. Mickelson Trail and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The environmental study could take until 2018 to complete before any construction began, and there could be parts of the proposed route that need to be changed according to Al Nedved, an assistant director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation.
MOBRIDGE — The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission learned Friday that zebra mussels have quickly overtaken Lewis and Clark Reservoir on the Missouri River near Yankton, and the invaders nearly found their way into Belle Fourche Reservoir last month aboard a dredging company's barges. State fishery director John Lott said some GF&P employees have been inspecting and disinfecting boats when they come out of the water at Lewis and Clark Reservoir so the zebra mussels aren't carried to other waters of South Dakota.
Harvey Jewett has served on the state Board of Regents since 1997. That's meant he's personally fought for Northern State University now for 19 years, keeping the Aberdeen campus in the mix as one of South Dakota's remaining six original campuses. He knows his current term that ends in 2017 will be his final one. No other current regent has served as long as the Aberdeen lawyer and businessman. At the October board meeting in recent days, which happened to be at Northern State, some important things came out of his mouth. Those words clearly came from his soul.
MOBRIDGE — The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission rejected a petition from two South Dakota hunting organizations Thursday. The petition sought to overturn two state laws that designate hundreds of nonresident three-day waterfowl hunting permits for two blocs of northern counties. The commission instead passed a resolution opposing the petition and recognizing "the pre-eminent authority" of the Legislature and the governor regarding state laws.
MOBRIDGE — In a rare move, the state Game, Fish and Parks Department backed away Thursday from a proposal to start charging fees and require permits for fishing tournaments in South Dakota. The department also wanted to make it a violation if anglers participated in tournaments that didn't have permits. That won't be happening either. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission started a public hearing Thursday on the plan, but GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler told commissioners they didn't need it. Hepler declared the department was withdrawing the plan.
The state Board of Regents set priorities to forward to the governor Thursday morning, hoping he would ask the Legislature in 2017 for additional student tuition aid for South Dakota's six public universities and for construction of research facilities in four cities. The student affordability plan would cost a total of $9.2 million. It calls for nearly $4.5 million of tuition aid first for South Dakota residents who attend the state universities, followed by nearly $2 million of aid for non-residents and nearly $1.5 million for students who take online courses.
South Dakota's two largest public universities will continue as members in the Student Federation, its executive director said Wednesday. Student governments at South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota in the past year considered withdrawing. Student representatives from the six public universities met for more than two hours Tuesday night and reached agreement on significant changes, according to Robert McLean, the federation's executive director.
Madison, Brookings, Rapid City and Sioux Falls would get new or expanded research facilities under a plan taking shape between the governor and the state Board of Regents whose members oversee South Dakota's public universities. The regents discussed four major projects, as well as the need for a 100-gigabyte information network for the universities system, for more than three hours Tuesday afternoon as part of their meeting at Northern State University in Aberdeen.
PIERRE — South Dakota's new board that will hold public school districts accountable for raising teacher salaries met Monday to discuss the processes for school boards to seek waivers and file appeals. The Legislature created the School Financial Accountability Board and set requirements that school districts must meet to keep receiving additional state aid for teacher salaries.