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.
PIERRE — There's no formal retirement announcement yet. But something seemed afoot in recent months. Doug Hofer no longer attended meetings of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission. For 30 years he had been a constant presence—until November and December came along this year. The official story is Hofer, the long-time director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation, is simply taking an extended break to use paid leave he's accumulated. Both he and new GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler said Hofer would return for the 2016 session of the Legislature that opens Jan. 12.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission agreed Friday to add 10 highway projects totaling $42 million to South Dakota's 2016 work plan. Seven of those projects originally were scheduled for 2017 or 2018. The accelerated pace is possible because the South Dakota Department of Transportation is receiving additional money. An estimated $15 million more is coming next year from the federal government, state Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said. President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into federal law Dec.
PIERRE — The state Public Utilities Commission will decide Tuesday whether to dismiss the permit for TransCanada to build its Keystone XL oil pipeline through South Dakota. TransCanada currently is...
PIERRE – The latest segment of reconstruction along the Mitchell-Rapid City railroad line saw solid progress this year before main contractor RailWorks had to shut down for winter, a South...
PIERRE — It doesn't take much pawing to unearth this truth in South Dakota. Many Republican elected officials don't like President Barack Obama. Overcoming that hate is the challenge facing Gov. Dennis Daugaard this winter. The Republican has looked during his five years in office for ways to better use state government's revenue. One situation he hasn't been able to correct deals with the federal Indian Health Service. The federal agency is supposed to provide health care for American Indian people.
PIERRE—The state panel overseeing South Dakota's conversion to a new system for receiving emergency calls discussed Thursday the first draft of a report analyzing whether a temporary surcharge on phone lines should be permanent. The Legislature decided in 2012 to increase the surcharge from 75 cents to $1.25 per month to help fund the project. As part of the same legislation, lawmakers decided the surcharge would be reduced to $1 per month on July 1, 2018. The distribution formula also would change under the law in mid-2018 so that none of the surcharge went to the state 911 coordinat