PIERRE—A state legislator known for seeking middle ground from parties in his courtroom when he was a circuit judge is taking the same path regarding South Dakota's eminent domain laws. Eminent domain allows a party to take an easement through another party's property, such as for a utility line or a pipeline. One of the complaints from landowners through the years is a party can start taking the easement before it has a permit for the project planned.
PIERRE — Most state senators agreed Friday that South Dakota needs a performance management review system for state government. The Senate voted 28-5 to assign the responsibility to the Legislative Planning Committee that is jointly operated by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The committee would be required to set a schedule so that every state government department, office or agency would be reviewed at least once every three years.
PIERRE—Fighting to a brief tie with TransCanada ultimately wound up a permanent defeat Friday for Rep. Jason Frerichs and his attempt at a spill fee for oil pipelines that cross through South Dakota. Frerichs, D-Wilmot, originally wanted to charge 2 cents per barrel. That proposal wound up deadlocked 3-3 Friday morning in the Senate Transportation Committee. The panel's chairman, Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, brought the seven members back together for a noon meeting.
PIERRE — The Legislature's plan to pursue sales tax collections from companies that sell items and services outside South Dakota and deliver them into the South Dakota moved forward Friday. The state Senate voted 33-0 for the legislation, which lawmakers say is intended to put South Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court over taxing remote sellers. SB 106 would authorize the state Department of Revenue to pursue a legal judgment in state circuit court against companies believed to owe sales-tax revenues to South Dakota.
PIERRE—One piece of legislation aimed at transgender people died Friday in the state House of Representatives. The one-page legislation said: "Any public body of the state or its political subdivisions that accepts any information on a South Dakota birth certificate as official and valid shall accept all information on a South Dakota birth certificate as official and valid in carrying out the public body's legal and official duties.
PIERRE—Amish families have moved into the Tripp area and a state legislator wants to better ensure safety when their horse-drawn vehicles are on highways in the dark. Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, is proposing that a flashing amber light be on the front of the vehicle and a flashing red light be on the rear. The lights would need to be visible from at least 200 feet, and would need to be used from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, and "any other time when there is not sufficient light" for the vehicle to be clearly seen.
PIERRE --Township governments would get more money for their roads and bridges under a plan that passed its first test Thursday in the Legislature. The House Transportation Committee voted 8-4 for shifting $1,450,000 from city governments and giving $1,020,000 to townships and $430,000 to counties. The legislation, HB 1137, seeks to change the distribution formula within counties for vehicle registration revenue. The full House of Representatives could consider the bill as early as Monday afternoon.
PIERRE—Meningitis vaccinations should be required for students in South Dakota, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. The vote was 42-25 in favor. The legislation, SB 28, now goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his signature to become law. The state Department of Health requested the requirement and had the governor's support. The department will set rules. The vaccination likely would be required for students age 11 and 12. The vaccine doesn't work well for younger children.
PIERRE—With the governor on their side, the Legislature's leaders from both major political parties intend to pursue collections of state sales taxes on purchases shipped from outside South Dakota to residents in the state. Businesses that don't comply would face action in South Dakota courts. The ultimate goal for lawmakers is to get the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court, in hope of a ruling favorable to state governments that rely on sales-tax revenue such as South Dakota.
PIERRE—The South Dakota Retirement System should be allowed to proceed in offering a new benefits plan next year for employees hired after June 30, 2017, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. "It will only impact future employees," Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, said. Retirement ages would increase to 67 for most employees and 57 for law enforcement. The penalty for early retirement will increase to 5 percent annually from the current 3 percent annually.