SIOUX FALLS – Last year, because summer rainfall was so sparse in so many parts of the Black Hills, and therefore the grazing was too, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission showed some pity. They granted 50 additional licenses for antlerless elk. Some 3,200 people applied. When the commission visited the issue again Friday, weather conditions had changed.
SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota's seasons for hunting mountain lions shouldn't change, members of state government's Game, Fish & Parks Commission decided Friday. They chose to leave everything the same for the coming Black Hills season, which opens Dec. 26, and the prairie season that runs year-round. That includes the hound hunts and on-foot hunts in Custer State Park too. The commissioners received a briefing Thursday afternoon and returned to the topic Friday morning.
SIOUX FALLS — The head of state government's Wildlife Division said Friday he won't need to request fee increases from outdoors people who hunt, fish or trap in South Dakota during 2018. Director Tony Leif said his wing should get through the coming year, even it means tapping some of the $15 million-plus that's accumulated on his side of the books. As for the Parks and Recreation Division, officials are looking for $580,000 in revenue increases for 2018, according to deputy director Bob Schneider. He said "the bulk" wouldn't involve higher fees, however.
SIOUX FALLS — After a bit of fine-tuning the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission approved a special rule Friday that lets its members decide who can use several dozen lakes. The rule allows any landowner along 27 lakes to ask that public water over private property be restricted from the public's recreational use. The Legislature identified the lakes by name and location in the law passed in the June 12 special session.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is the first of four in a series highlighting candidates for the 2018 governor election. Billie Sutton is Democratic leader in South Dakota's state Senate and is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. Here are some impressions: Why he's running: Sutton officially declared his candidacy for governor May 31, 2017, at his family's ranch near Burke along the Missouri River. His announcement settled two questions.
PIERRE — A new policy took effect last Monday for the 105 members of the Legislature. They now are allowed to claim travel expenses for trips to meetings of legislative committees, even though they aren't members of the committees. The idea came from Rep. Elizabeth May, R-Kyle. She wrote the request a week ago Friday to Rep. Mark Mickelson and Sen. Brock Greenfield. Mickelson and Greenfield run the Legislature's Executive Board. More importantly, as the House speaker and the Senate president pro tem, they control paying legislators' expenses.
Shantel Krebs is South Dakota's secretary of state and is a candidate for the Republican nomination for South Dakota's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Why she's running: "When President Trump was elected, I was all in," Krebs said. She said South Dakota voters tell her they are frustrated and want "the mess cleaned up" in Washington, D.C. "It's not working," Krebs said. "I want to help him deliver results." She added: "That's what my logo is: Get it done."
Johnson is a past member of South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission and is a candidate for the Republican nomination for South Dakota's one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Why he's running: "This is a job interview, right? It's fun," Johnson said. He recalled growing up in a working-class family of seven from Pierre and Fort Pierre. "Even at a young age I figured out good jobs can make a difference for a family," he said. "The reality is what most people want is the opportunity to earn a living."
Statehouse reporter Bob Mercer spent some time talking with Tim Bjorkman and watching him greet people at the State Fair. The retired state judge from Canistota is the Democratic candidate for South Dakota's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Here are some impressions. Why he's running: Tim Bjorkman talked at length about statistical trends in South Dakota's criminal justice system. Eighty percent of felons in state prisons are serving sentences for nonviolent crimes, he said. That is too many, and too often, for Bjorkman to accept.
HURON — South Dakota Republicans launched a straw poll Friday at the State Fair. It proved an instant hit among many in the State Fair's early crowd. "Voting" continues through 6 p.m. Monday. Dan Lederman said the ballots he brought might not last that long. "It's a great way to reach people and let them know about all of the candidates," he said. Lederman won election last winter as the new chairman for the South Dakota Republican Party. He is a former state legislator from Dakota Dunes.