PIERRE — The 2016 session of the Legislature opens at noon Tuesday for a run of 38 working days. More than one dozen major topics — much more than teacher...
PIERRE—The Chief did it again the other day. David Gilbertson announced on Tuesday the women and men who comprise his new task force on community justice and mental illness early intervention. Gilbertson is the chief justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court. He is the task force's chairman. Jim Seward, legal counsel for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, is vice chairman. The names of Gilbertson and Seward together signal two things. This topic is important—and there will be results.
PIERRE – South Dakota’s non-farm economy finished 2015 with the most strength since the recession struck seven years ago. The unemployment rate for November declined to 3.0 percent, according to...
PIERRE—Dex Media, the publisher of telephone directories for CenturyLink customers in South Dakota, wants state regulators to answer whether the directories have to be printed copies using a paper format. They don't want to eliminate the pulpy directories, but they would prefer to get away from what they call "saturation delivery" to all customers. Dex Media, instead, would provide paper directories only to people that request them and instead offer Internet guides for people with computer access.
PIERRE—The governor's choice of Russ Olson means there now are three former legislators in the eight seats on the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission. Olson, of Wentworth, is chief executive officer for Heartland Consumers Power District at Madison. "It must have been my lucky day," he said. Along with the appointment to the commission, he filled his archery deer tag Tuesday evening, taking a big buck that carried five points on the right antler and four on the left.
PIERRE — Here are just some of the folks who had noteworthy roles in state government during 2015. Marty Guindon—The state's auditor general and staff at the Department of Legislative Audit conducted the first review of the GEAR UP program and found trouble. Sen. Mike Vehle—Refusing to give up, his work led to the Legislature finally approving and the governor signing the first highway-tax package in two decades.
PIERRE — The state Game, Fish and Parks Department plans to pay a Florida company to study people's spending on outdoor recreation in South Dakota. The contract will be with Southwick Associates and will cost about $40,000, according to Scott Simpson, GF&P's information and education chief. "This is going to be an email survey. We're going to try to minimize our cost and still get accurate information," he told members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission at its Dec. 10 meeting. The target is mid-summer 2016 for results, he said.
PIERRE — Insurance companies that violated South Dakota's laws agreed to pay more than $1.3 million in penalties to state government during 2015. That's according to records from the state Division of Insurance. Penalties paid by insurers have grown substantially since Gov. Dennis Daugaard took office five years ago. "I'm not sure I would consider this a trend," state insurance director Larry Deiter said.
PIERRE — Wouldn't it be refreshing if Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who's generally been a solid steward of our tax money, used the occasion of his budget speech on Tuesday to tell the Legislature how he plans to prevent future scandals in state government? Budgets are about money. The scandals dogging Daugaard are too. Much of that money comes from we the taxpayers.
PIERRE—State government hasn't kept pace with costs incurred by providers of Medicaid services in South Dakota, according to an analysis by the Daugaard administration. The most recent information, in some cases from as long ago as 2010, shows providers of seven types of Medicaid services received state reimbursements at rates less than 90 percent of their costs. Nine other types of services fall in the 90-99 percent range. Five are at 100 percent.