PIERRE -- The state Transportation Commission opened talks last week about possibly sending several millions of dollars more to counties and communities for local roads and bridges. Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist suggested the commission could add $500,000 to the striping program that already receives $500,000. Bergquist also offered that $1 million more could be considered for the community access grants program that serves cities with populations under 5,000; and $1 million more could flow into the agri-business grants program that assists with rural projects. All of those progr
PIERRE — More than one dozen of South Dakota's smaller communities received financial help Friday to improve their drinking water and sewer systems. The state Board of Water and Natural Resources approved $14.1 million in grants and $69.1 million in low-interest loans for 22 municipal utilities and regional water systems. Wessington Springs received a surprise of $100,000 in grants that weren't recommended by the board's staff. A tornado ripped through parts of the Jerauld County seat on June 18. Mayor Melissa Mebius spoke to the state board Thursday during the presentations from eac
PIERRE — Four members of the state Transportation Commission made clear Thursday they aren't fans of the 80 mph speed limit that takes effect Wednesday on the long rural stretches of I-90 and I-29 in South Dakota. The Legislature adopted the five-mph increase as a late addition to the tax and fee increases lawmakers approved on March 13 for more highway and bridge funding. "I have some strong feelings about that," commissioner Edward Seljeskog, of Rapid City, said. Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said the change put his department "in a scramble position" to achieve by Wednes
PIERRE -- A reader recently asked an interesting question: Can a South Dakota motorist renew his driver license early and avoid the price increases that take effect July 1? The answer is yes -- but only if the license would need to be renewed soon. "He can renew up to 180 days before the expiration date.
PIERRE — Projects to upgrade water utilities for two South Dakota communities received millions of dollars in earmarked funding from the Legislature during the 2015 session. Lawmakers authorized $4 million for the city of Clark. The community must build a wastewater treatment system at a new site to comply with a state pollution-violation order by April 1, 2017. One of the purposes is to protect Antelope Lake and Indian Springs Lake.
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.