PIERRE — South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers saw more motorists using seat belts more often during each of the past five years, a state official told lawmakers Tuesday. The rate for calendar 2017 was 74.8 percent, according to State Public Safety Secretary Trevor Jones. Numbers presented to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee showed use gradually but consistently climbing. The 2013 figure was 68.7 percent.
PIERRE — As South Dakota voters prepare to decide whether to raise tobacco tax rates in November, state government has already started to reduce spending through a new digital stamping program for collecting tobacco taxes, according to a South Dakota official. The contract should be more efficient for distributors and the government, state Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach said Monday. The agreement calls for Meyercord Revenue to provide direct-to-distributor service when possible.
Directors for the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority agreed Monday to purchase another $25 million of insurance coverage. It would protect the state-created authority specifically on the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility and the related Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Neutrinos are tiny particles that weigh about one-millionth of the mass of an electron. Neutrinos are difficult to track. Scientists at Sanford Underground Research Facility in the former Homestake gold mine at Lead are trying to detect them.
PIERRE — Among true achievements during the time of Gov. Dennis Daugaard was improving state government credit to AAA. South Dakota received the rating again this year from three major groups. This is important to every person in our state. The AAA rating has saved state government millions of dollars in interest on debt issued for construction projects. This was achieved through frugality.
PIERRE — The state panel overseeing South Dakota public universities didn't follow the open-meeting law that agendas must be posted on the web page for state boards and commissions. The violation occurred Wednesday and Thursday as the Board of Regents met in Sioux Falls and privately interviewed candidates for executive director. Board President Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls said Thursday morning he would proceed with more interviews while he researched the matter.
PIERRE — The lease for the resort at Roy Lake State Park is back on the market with a lower asking price. The state Game, Fish and Parks Department didn't receive any proposals when the resort lease was first offered for $975,000 on Nov. 9 and offered again on March 5 at the same price. Jan Pitzl has operated the convenience store, lodge, cabins, fuel and boat rentals since 1993. She recently agreed to seek $795,000. The complex is five miles south of Lake City and 25 miles north of Webster. Local roads connect from SD 10 and SD 25.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a rare appearance before a state board Monday. He asked the South Dakota Board of Education Standards to provide more flexibility for students to earn high school diplomas. More than two hours later the board unanimously agreed. The board added a requirement that the new rules be reviewed after Jan. 1, 2026. All of the diplomas would continue to require 22 credits. But the basic diploma would become more flexible in some subjects. Three new endorsements also would be added. They are advanced, advanced career and advanced honors.
PIERRE — Protecting livestock owners was one reason South Dakota put laws about branding on the books long ago. Protecting landowners against people being on property without permission was one reason our Legislature passed laws against trespassing. Yet you still hear about livestock gone missing and about people being where they shouldn't be. Many of us who live in towns and cities shrug it off. But these things matter to thousands of men and women who make their livings off the lands that start at the edges of our cities and towns.
PIERRE — The July 31 summit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department plans for operators of private shooting preserves is part of a series, a spokeswoman said Friday. The department held a gathering April 21 for leaders of sportsmen groups. Later this year come separate summits for recreational users and agricultural producers. The finale is a general event planned for a date still to be set for early 2019, according to Emily Kiel. She is the agency's director of strategic engagement and public relations.
PIERRE – The owner of Wild Oak Golf Club at Mitchell got a mulligan Thursday from the state Water Management Board. Board members gave Dave Backlund permission to put a temporary barrier across Firesteel Creek during low-flow periods. The purpose is to pool water that can be diverted to holding ponds. The water then can be used to irrigate parts of the course.