PIERRE — The heads of Northern State University and Black Hills State University told lawmakers Tuesday they are working to improve perceptions. But several members of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations didn't hide the desire to see spending reduced through steps such as closing residence halls. Rep. Taffy Howard said enrollment fell nine of the past 12 years at Northern. "Most of the time in the private sector, you stop the bleeding," Howard, R-Rapid City, said. "There needs to be some serious dealing with this."
PIERRE — Here are some highlights from the year-end campaign-finance reports for the three major candidates running for governor of South Dakota this year. Amounts spent by the three campaigns in 2017 were: • Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem $566,192.56; • Republican state Attorney General Marty Jackley $367,994.85; and • State Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton $165,284.94. Amounts on hand entering 2018 were: Noem $2,141,694.81; Jackley $1,552,944.42; and Sutton $664,230.53.
PIERRE — The fight for the Republican nomination for governor couldn't be much tighter between state Attorney General Marty Jackley and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem. The secretary of state office posted year-end finance reports for their campaigns Monday. Jackley raised $920,016.99 in 2017. His total put him slightly ahead for the year. Noem raised $900,751.97. But Noem remained ahead overall in the dollars race. She had $2,141,694.81 entering 2018. Jackley had $1,552,944.42.
PIERRE — As state lawmakers began returning Monday to the Capitol, a bipartisan group of them wants to convince the Legislature there should be more enforcement of South Dakota's requirement that a driver and any front-seat passengers use seat belts. They also want law officers to actively enforce South Dakota's ban that applies in most instances against texting while driving a motor vehicle.
PIERRE — Retired circuit judge Tim Bjorkman, a Democratic candidate for South Dakota's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, recently submitted a 55-page article to South Dakota Law Review. In it he laid out his explanation and recommendations for the state prison system and SB 70, known as the Public Safety Improvement Act. The Legislature enacted SB 70 in 2013 as recommended by Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Chief Justice David Gilbertson. It's impossible to condense his article into 500 words of this column. Highlights are possible.
PIERRE — There definitely is anticipation and perhaps some hesitation over what the campaign finance reports could reveal Monday about the competition between U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley. The two Republicans are battling for favor by their party's voters in the June primary election. The winner would be the Republican nominee in the November general election that decides the next governor of South Dakota.
PIERRE — A former state lawmaker said Saturday he has given back the lobbyist badge he received to represent Sanford Health at the 2018 South Dakota legislative session. Corey Brown said he returned the credential to the Secretary of State Office, amid a concern he might be breaking a state law. "I voluntarily turned my badge in Monday morning (Jan. 22)," Brown said. The Legislature decided last year many former state government officials including legislators must wait two years before starting work as private lobbyists in South Dakota.
Six educators from the area testified Friday morning at a public hearing in Rapid City on possible changes to statewide standards for teaching English language arts and math in South Dakota public schools. The women testified individually. Generally they praised the recommendations. Several had worked with the state Department of Education during the past two years in helping develop the proposals. Meanwhile, there weren't any comments Friday on nine other sets of proposed changes to standards that are also under consideration.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives is scheduled to talk next week about a different approach on forests that is taking root for the Black Hills. A resolution that calls for a "resilient forest strategy" is on the House calendar for Tuesday afternoon. Rep. David Johnson, R-Rapid City, is prime sponsor of HCR 1003. Johnson, who's 57, said he's worked about 40 years as an arborist in western South Dakota. He helped put together an information session for state lawmakers Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol.
PIERRE — The data breach piece of the state attorney general's legislative package cleared the South Dakota Senate Thursday. The vote was 30-2. SB 62 now goes to the House of Representatives for action. The proposal from Attorney General Marty Jackley is intended to address situations that have been in the news with increasing frequency. Jackley and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem are competing for the Republican nomination for governor that will be decided in the June primary. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, can't seek a third consecutive term.