PIERRE — The Legislature's Executive Board decided Monday the 2016 interim study topics should be nursing home and assisted living center capacity, Medicaid provider payments and early deterrence of drug abuse. Those three subjects topped the results from the survey sent to all 105 legislators. The legislators cast votes for up to five top picks from the menu of 16 topics. The House Commerce and Energy Committee suggested the nursing-beds and assisted living study. It received 119 points.
PIERRE — Unfortunately Thomas Knock, professor of history at Southern Methodist University, isn't scheduled at the Augustana University history convention next weekend in Sioux Falls. But there is a panel on Saturday morning, starting at 8:30, discussing Knock's new book: "The Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern." The biography is first rate on the life of McGovern through his 1968 re-election as a U.S. senator from South Dakota and his brief candidacy that summer for the Democratic nomination for president.
PIERRE—Almost every day in office a governor makes some major decision. That was never truer for Gov. Dennis Daugaard heading into and during the 2016 legislative session that wrapped up March 29. He sat down Friday to talk about three of the biggest decisions: *His proposal for the sales tax increase that won approval. *His veto of the transgender bathroom restrictions for public schools. *With Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, their creation of the state Board of Internal Control. The sales tax increase
PIERRE — Financial misdeeds in state government that secretly went on for years and continue to be unraveled might have been noticed earlier, or prevented altogether, had South Dakota's new Board of Internal Control previously been in place. The board starts work this month, reviewing all grants made through state government, including those to outside organizations and groups, and holding the parties accountable.
PIERRE—Thirty-two of South Dakota's 66 counties have submitted their second round of geographic information system data so far for the new statewide system for locating and routing help to 911 emergency callers, a consultant told state officials Thursday. Christy Hayes, of St. Cloud, Minnesota-based contractor Geo-Comm, said her hope is all of the county data is ready by the end of June, as she updated the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board in a teleconference. "I can tell you, overall, there's good progress being made here in the state." Hayes said.
PIERRE—One of South Dakota's most effective legislators is the next recipient of the Eagle award for his work on open government. Sen. Corey Brown receives the honor from the South Dakota Newspaper Association at its state convention later this month. Brown, R-Gettysburg, is serving his eighth and final year in the Senate. He is term-limited after winning election to four consecutive terms. He decided against running for election to the state House of Representatives this year.
PIERRE—State government plans to spend up to $100,000 for the design of videos and flyers against methamphetamines, as part of a broadening response to the drugs' fierce dangers, the governor's legal counsel said Wednesday. Jim Seward said there would be conversations with state Attorney General Marty Jackley, and with state's attorneys in many counties during the coming months, to exchange thoughts about combating the spreading threat of methamphetamine abuse.
PIERRE—South Dakota newspapers would be allowed to charge 2 percent more for legal advertising such as public notices and minutes from government meetings, under a rules change approved Tuesday. The Legislature's Rules Review Committee gave the green light to the rate increase. The previous one came in 2007. The increase that year was 3 percent. South Dakota law places the authority with the state Bureau of Administration. The major organizations representing school boards, counties and cities opposed the increase at the public hearing held in January.
PIERRE—An expansion of elk hunting licenses for South Dakota this fall won final approval Tuesday from the Legislature's Rules Review Committee. The 2016 license totals are 443 for any elk and 1,255 for antlerless elk. They cover the Black Hills, prairie, Custer State Park and archery seasons. Those are increases from the 2015 totals of 430 for any elk and 500 for antlerless elk. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission approved the changes Thursday after receiving a lot of public comments by email and letter and in person.
PIERRE—The scandal unfolding in Iowa, where software allowed some results to be rigged in multi-state lotto drawings, has added to concerns among South Dakota Lottery officials. They proceeded Thursday in requesting proposals for a security review of South Dakota Lottery facilities. The review also would cover the statewide video-lottery system and the statewide lotto jackpot system. Each separately connects with hundreds of private businesses. The scratch-ticket system also would be analyzed.