PIERRE — Dozens of people who work for community service providers, or whose children and relatives depend on their care, went to the Capitol and saw a legislative panel reject a tax increase Wednesday that was intended to help them. The Senate Taxation Committee voted 4-2 to kill Sen. Al Novstrup's plan. He wanted to raise property taxes by 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value and use the estimated $14 million to raise wages by $5 per hour at community service agencies and nursing facilities.
PIERRE — The Legislature's budget panel turned down the governor Wednesday on his plan for a state park in Spearfish Canyon. The Joint Committee on Appropriations tabled his request for $2.5 million. The park proposal riled many people in the Black Hills. The final straw was state tax revenues haven't met expectations. Within a span of about 20 minutes, several other bills also failed or were delayed by the budget committee. "We don't have a blank check to work with," Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said. He is a co-chairman of the committee.
PIERRE — Two volunteer lobbyists put make-believe "gold" watches containing candy on legislators' desks Monday. They mentioned it to a news reporter who later took a photograph showing four legislators wearing the watches. The reporter posted the photo on an Internet blog Monday night. The series of events sparked a backlash Tuesday from supporters of Initiated Measure 22 who said the picture was offensive.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives gave final approval Tuesday to a new state board that will govern South Dakota's public technical institutes. The vote was 65-2 in favor. SB 65 next goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his decision whether to sign it into law. Rep. Mark Mickelson described it as "a follow-on" to constitutional amendment R that voters approved in November.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives decided Tuesday that public officials, including legislators, should face restrictions on the gifts they receive from lobbyists and their employers. House members voted 66-0 for the legislation. Several representatives applauded when they saw the unanimous bipartisan vote. HB 1073 now moves to the Senate. The annual cap would be a total value of $100 per legislator from a lobbyist or employer. Gifts received by immediate family members would apply to the $100 limit.
PIERRE — A legislative panel gave its support Tuesday to an exemption for employees of customer harvesters so they could haul up to 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel without needing a hazardous materials endorsement. The House Transportation Committee voted 10-0 to endorse the legislation from Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-Doland. Machines have increased in size and fuel isn't readily available in some parts of rural South Dakota, Greenfield said. She added that harvesting can finish faster.
PIERRE — A state lawmaker wants motorists to use headlights 30 minutes earlier at night and keep them on 30 minutes later in the morning on South Dakota streets and highways. Rep. Burt Tulson, R-Lake Norden, presented his idea Tuesday to the House Transportation Committee. The panel rejected his bill 8-3. His proposal was headlights must be used starting at sunset and through sunrise. "I want your input, what you think is good on our highways," Tulson said.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives decided Monday against asking Congress to hold a convention of the states for possible amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Representatives defeated the resolution, with 28 ayes and 40 nays. House members failed to approve HJR 1002 on its first try last week, with 31 ayes and 34 nays.
PIERRE — State legislators made a little more progress Monday on political and government ethical reforms. A House committee endorsed revisions to the state's conflict of interest laws sought by Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls. Meanwhile a Senate committee killed a campaign finance regulatory panel that Secretary of State Shantel Krebs wanted. The same committee then began consideration of a massive rewrite of South Dakota's campaign finance laws that Krebs has proposed.
PIERRE — A panel of state senators recommended Monday asking South Dakota voters to amend the state Constitution so future constitutional amendments would be more difficult, while the full Senate decided voters should receive fiscal-impact information about ballot measures. The Senate voted 27-5 Monday to require fiscal analysis notes for initiated measures and constitutional amendments if there is a potential cost. SB 177 now heads to the House for consideration. Debate on the fiscal notes requirement began last week and resumed Monday.