PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission accepted 12 bids totaling more than $8.8 million and rejected one Thursday on South Dakota highway projects. The commission also adjusted its surface transportation improvement plan, adding a small grant. Mike Behm, director of planning and engineering for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, said the $12,000 grant "isn't a lot of money." But it does help pay for improved scheduling of projects, Behm said. Among the accepted bids were the following area projects:
PIERRE — For two months in a row, the revised state revenue estimate that was adopted by the Legislature in February for fiscal 2017 still came up short. The state Bureau of Finance and Management this week issued its April report showing results weaker than expected. General fund collections totaled $92 million for February and $93 million for March. The Legislature in February estimated they would be $102 million collected for February and $97 million for March. The shortfall is approximately $14 million.
PIERRE — NorthWestern Energy submitted six different sets of avoided costs during negotiations on proposed wind projects in three South Dakota counties, the lead lawyer representing Consolidated Edison Development said Tuesday. The comments by Michael Uda came as the state Public Utilities Commission opened its hearing on a proposal from ConEd to sell 60 megawatts to NorthWestern Energy from wind farms in Davison, Aurora and Brule counties.
PIERRE — The state Department of Social Services this week is shifting its division of adult services and aging to the state Department of Human Services. The division of adult services and aging will combine with Human Services' division of elder services. "We know we have quite a growing aging population that is going to have a need for services and support," Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti said Monday. "We're going to say, what service do you need?"
PIERRE — There is something afoot in Fall River County that goes deeper than whether guns can be carried in the Hot Springs courthouse on non-court days. Presiding Circuit Judge Craig Pfeifle met with the county commissioners Tuesday to explain why he and other judges wanted the decision overturned. He convinced all but one of the commissioners it was in their best interest to backtrack. His argument was that a security and safety assessment should be completed before a decision was made.
If Senate Democrats won't support U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, U.S. Sen. John Thune said they won't support any nominee from President Donald Trump. Gorsuch calls "balls and strikes," the senior senator from South Dakota said in a call with reporters Wednesday, but "unfortunately" there seems to be nothing that will satisfy many of the Democrats. He said if the Democrats "can't or won't" confirm Gorsuch, they won't confirm any U.S. Supreme Court nominee of Republican President Trump.
PIERRE — Consolidated Edison Development gets four days to make its case next week before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, regarding NorthWestern Energy's position on avoided costs for power that ConEd wants to supply from wind farms in Brule, Aurora and Sanborn counties. NorthWestern Energy's expert holds that his model is correct. ConEd Development's expert conducted an analysis that priced it higher.
PIERRE — Last Saturday morning I celebrated the end of the main run of the 2017 legislative session with breakfast out. On the way home we stopped at the grocery store. I was loading softener salt into our car when they waved from the next row and started walking over. Maybe the governor and the first lady in other states go grocery shopping on Saturday mornings and we just don't know it. They had on what looked like Sunday-best black topcoats. Her beautiful white blouse showed at the neck. His white shirt collar and light purple tie splashed from the open vee of his coat.
PIERRE — I shudder to write about this. Why did Sen. Stace Nelson have to work so hard to ban legislators from sexual relationships with interns and pages? Nelson, R-Fulton, had to try twice this year to get it done. And if his version of the story is accurate, he tried in the past to privately draw attention to the problem. The joint committee on legislative procedure accepted one sentence from Nelson's proposed ban Wednesday.
PIERRE — State government officials fear protesters might try to disrupt traffic in South Dakota in an attempt to block construction supplies for the Keystone XL pipeline. The Legislature responded by giving final approval Friday to new restrictions sought by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. State senators voted 25-10. The measure, SB 176, has an emergency clause to take effect immediately upon the governor signing it into law rather than the standard July 1 date. The House of Representatives voted 55-12 for it Thursday.