PIERRE — Patrick Kane was his name, a Democrat from Sioux Falls, who in the 1990 legislative session was in year four of the six he would serve in the South Dakota House of Representatives. That winter he was prime sponsor of HB 1121. He wanted a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. For a while, Democrats appeared to have outfoxed Republicans; Democrats brought to the Capitol a half-black and half-Indian rodeo-man named Lynn Hart. Republicans controlled the Legislature, as they had throughout most of the century of statehood.
PIERRE — Despite some lawmakers leaving early, 59 representatives happened to still be in the House on Friday afternoon when Rep. Nancy York stood to talk. She explained what's behind changes sought for parts of South Dakota's election laws. York, R-Watertown, said election officials in different states are backing away from direct electronic recording of votes. South Dakota law allows it but it hasn't been used. Security of a person's ballot is the main reason. HB 1013 would repeal references to direct electronic recording from state law, she said.
PIERRE — South Dakota's licensing law for historic vehicles applies only to historical cars. You can look it up. Sen. Al Novstrup found that out one day the very way he often learns about flaws in state laws. He answered the phone. The caller, after moving down from North Dakota, discovered the South Dakota Department of Revenue wouldn't issue historic-vehicle license plates. Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, read the law. Then he worked up a solution.
PIERRE — Overweight and over-width permits could be carried electronically in South Dakota under legislation the state Senate Transportation Committee unanimously endorsed Friday. The lawmakers put SB 69 on the Senate's consent calendar for action Monday. That means a senator can ask questions but it won't be debated unless a senator requests. Sen. Bob Ewing, R-Spearfish, is prime sponsor. He noted the bill doesn't require electronic documents. "They're still allowed to use paper if they so choose," Ewing said.
PIERRE — The disclosure forms for filing claims against a person's earnings in South Dakota would change under a measure that a panel of state lawmakers endorsed Friday. The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-0 to move HB 1084 forward. Representatives sent it to the House for action, possibly as soon as Monday afternoon. The legislation appears to remove child support from possible exemptions to wage claims, but it's added in another part, Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, told the panel. "It doesn't actually change laws in regard to child support," he said.
PIERRE—The Legislature has held the annual memorial service for legislators who died during 2017 or had previously passed on without a formal recognition. Lawmakers said a last official goodbye Thursday to these eleven: William "Bill" Clayton, R-Sioux Falls, House 1967-1969, age 93. Richard "Dick" Gregerson, R-Sioux Falls, Senate 1979-1982, age 84. Oscar Huber, R-Bowdle, House 1961-1972, age 100. Homer Kandaras, D-Rapid City, Senate 1971-1976, age 88. Howard Kennedy, R-Beresford, House 1981-1992, age 89.
PIERRE — The "big three" of governor candidates appeared together on stage for the first time of South Dakota's 2018 election cycle Thursday. Two of the Republicans, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley, and state Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton took turns answering an hour of questions from audience members at South Dakota's annual tourism conference. They're competing to succeed Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, who's in the last year of his second and final term.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard named Don Kirkegaard as state education secretary last year to replace Melody Schopp but still needed the state Senate to approve him. The first step came Thursday afternoon. The Senate Education Committee voted 6-1 to recommend Kirkegaard's confirmation. The final step could come Friday afternoon or Monday afternoon when the 35 members of the Senate vote on it. Tony Venhuizen, the governor's chief of staff, sat at the side of the former school superintendent as the roll call proceeded at 4:30 p.m.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate could decide Friday afternoon whether Aberdeen public schools superintendent Becky Guffin and former legislator Jacqueline Sly of Rapid City join the state Board of Education Standards. The Senate Education Committee held hearings Thursday on their appointments. Senators voted 6-1 to recommend Guffin. They voted for Sly 5-2. Guffin and Sly received strong support from education organizations at the hearings. No witnesses spoke against Guffin. Sly faced opposition from a critic of the Common Core education framework.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate unanimously agreed Wednesday the state Public Utilities Commission should be able to keep closer watch on most grain buyers. Senators voted 35-0 to require quarterly reports from Class A grain buyers and to restrict Class B grain buyers to no more than $5 million of transactions annually. The measure moves to the House of Representatives, where a committee hearing will be scheduled. The commission has responsibility for grain buyers licensed in South Dakota. Currently grain buyers submit two documents to the commission.