PIERRE—At least 16 of the state Senate's 35 seats will have new people in them for the 2017 legislative session. The chamber's Republican leadership could be in line for big changes, too. The relationship might be tested more often between many of the Republican senators and Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard during his final two years in the office.
PIERRE—Newcomer Neal Tapio and former Rep. Stace Nelson took the first steps in their quest to set a more conservative tone in the Legislature when they won Republican Senate nominations in South Dakota's primary elections Tuesday. Tapio defeated Rep. Roger Solum for the Republican nomination to the Watertown-area Senate seat. Solum's defeat means Codington County will have three new legislators come January after the retirements by Sen. Ried Holien and Rep. Lee Schoenbeck.
PIERRE—South Dakota customers of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. have been paying higher prices for natural gas and electricity since January of this year, while the company waited for state regulators to finish considering rate increases submitted last June. Now, customers will see refunds as credits on their bills in the next few months, as the results of the deals. The state Public Utilities Commission approved settlements Tuesday that let the company charge more but not as much as the company requested. PUC staff negotiated with the company on the compromises.
PIERRE—Video lottery terminals can be placed inside the vented smoke shacks that some bar owners have built onto their establishments, according to several Daugaard administration officials. An administrative policy now being followed by the South Dakota Lottery allows smoking at a video lottery establishment if it occurs in a non-enclosed area. South Dakota voters ratified a state law in 2010 that banned smoking in public places, including bars, restaurants and gambling establishments. But the lottery's policy rests in the law's definition of a public place.
PIERRE — A candidate seeking a Republican nomination to a legislative seat in the June 7 primary elections wrote a complaint to me a few days ago. He didn't like his treatment by South Dakota Right to Life. There was obvious reason for the treatment. He didn't answer the organization's questionnaire. Consequently he got a negative rating. More so, the organization spent money through its political action committee to pay for a mailing sent into his district. The mailing opposed him and supported his two Republican opponents.
PIERRE — His name isn't on the ballot. But Gov. Dennis Daugaard has his political posterior on the line Tuesday in South Dakota's Republican primary elections. The Republican governor spent money from his campaign committee to help at least nine candidates who are in primaries seeking Republican nominations for Senate seats. How those nine contests come out will significantly shape the direction of the Senate Republican caucus for Daugaard's final two years as governor. Republicans are likely to still hold majorities in both the Senate and the House.
PIERRE — Unable again this year to get approval from the Legislature on expanding video lottery, the South Dakota Lottery Commission decided by consensus Friday to focus on finding innovations for its other products. The commissioners want more emphasis on instant tickets and lotto jackpot games and they want to focus more on marketing lottery games and services through mobile phones, Internet devices and other technology.
PIERRE—The longest-serving trustee for the South Dakota Retirement System and a brand-new member have won election without opposition, while another trustee was re-elected by one vote. Eric Stroeder, of Mobridge, received 552 votes; and Rachel Hearn, of Pierre, received 551 votes. Their election was for a trustee seat representing state government employees. Stroeder, an engineering supervisor for the state Department of Transportation, has served 12 years as a trustee. Hearn, a certified public accountant, is audit director for the state Revenue Department.
PIERRE—The South Dakota Lottery Commission agreed Thursday to offer a new hybrid game offering an instant-winner ticket as an add-on to jackpot lotto games. The plan calls for EZ Match to be an option available through Dakota Cash lotto purchases. EZ Match will cost $1 per play. A person must purchase a Dakota Cash ticket in order to be able to buy an EZ Match play. An EZ Match play will have five numbers. If one or more EZ Match numbers matches any numbers on the Dakota Cash ticket, the EZ Match ticket is an instant winner.
PIERRE — The labor organization for teachers and the business organization that represents many South Dakota retail merchants and restaurants, contributed large amounts to many of the same legislative candidates who are seeking nominations in South Dakota's June 7 primary elections. The political action committee for the South Dakota Education Association reported contributions to candidates totaling $13,500 and the political action committee for the South Dakota Retailers Association reported donations to candidates of $14,500.