PIERRE — The state Department of Transportation used a flawed calculation to rank applications for the first round of South Dakota's bridge improvement grants. Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said there was a conversion error that affected all of the scores. Grants approved by the state Transportation Commission last month won't be affected, he said. While the rankings order changed in some cases, none dropped from the approved group, according to Bergquist.
PIERRE — Members of the South Dakota Transportation Commission should see private lawyers before the state's new law takes effect July 1 requiring disclosure of financial conflicts, the panel's state legal counsel said Thursday. Karla Engle told them one option is to resign from the commission before July 1 if they believe the disclosure requirements would create too many problems. People often are appointed to state boards and commissions because they are active in their communities but that can mean they have business ties that pose potential conflicts, she said.
PIERRE — Two major events converge in the coming week in South Dakota. The statewide sales tax increases on June 1 to 4.5 percent from 4 percent, after a knockdown fight within the Legislature last winter over Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to improve pay for last-place schoolteachers, and provide property-tax relief to business owners for the first time, after homeowners and agriculture producers received reductions 20 years ago.
PIERRE — South Dakota is incarcerating fewer juveniles but remains double the national average, according to a draft report. The executive committee for the state Council on Juvenile Services approved the 75-page document Wednesday. The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention gets the report. It shows 205 juveniles were committed to the state Department of Corrections during 2015. The number continued a trend of fewer juvenile commitments in South Dakota. There were 240 the previous year, 278 in 2013 and 331 in 2012.
PIERRE—The state Aeronautics Commission talked Tuesday about a very big year ahead for projects at public airports in South Dakota. There "possibly" will be about $43.8 million in work, according to Bruce Lindholm, an administrator for the state Department of Transportation. The estimate is based on pre-applications that have been filed for 2016. Public airports normally use a combination of local, federal and state funding to pay for projects. The list shows 41 communities so far.
PIERRE — Telecommunications providers in South Dakota who seek federal high-cost support can continue to file the same reports to the state Public Utilities Commission as they provide to the Federal Communications System, including information about their deployment of broadband services, the state commission members decided Tuesday. The state commission set the general framework starting in 2013 as a way to avoid duplication of efforts by the companies, and added the requirements regarding data on broadband deployment in May 2015.
PIERRE — The State Board of Elections adopted 45 pages of rules changes Monday striving to keep up with South Dakota's politics. The proposals covered establishing governments for new cities, adopting armed sentinel programs in school districts, filling city and school board vacancies after resignations, conducting random samples of petition signatures for statewide candidates and on statewide ballot measures, and many more.
PIERRE — A massive cap and fill project that could cost an estimated $89 million is planned this year for the Gilt Edge gold mine in Lawrence County, according to an official for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Mike Cepak, a scientist in the state agency's mining and minerals program, said the work would concentrate on the western two-thirds of the abandoned site. The mine, located a few miles south of Lead, is one of two federal Superfund sites in South Dakota.
PIERRE — An attempt three years ago to drill an oil well 9,700 feet deep, through multiple water aquifers and a highly dense layer of pre-Cambrian rock, near Wasta ended very badly. The drill bit broke partway down after going through several aquifers. The bit and a long length of drill pipe are still in the hole. Cement plugs to protect the aquifers from each other can't be installed. The broken bit and pipe block the way. Worse yet, the project's developers ran out of money. Now South Dakota officials don't know what to do next.
PIERRE — Financial interest statements required for candidates for federal and state offices and for many local offices in South Dakota went online Thursday. South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs posted them on her office's website. They are on the "2016 Candidates List" page. The reports appear alphabetically in a single file. Their appearance came one day after Krebs said she had stopped posting them on her office's Internet site. Her no-post policy applied only to the 2016 versions.