PIERRE—The Legislature's joint committee on retirement laws should continue to make the final decision about pay for the administrator for the South Dakota Retirement System, a legislative panel has decided. Rep. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, wanted to give the final responsibility to the Legislature's Executive Board instead. But the House State Affairs Committee, whose members include some Executive Board members, killed his bill 12-1 Wednesday.
PIERRE—The South Dakota Supreme Court decided last year that an injured employee with more than one job should receive workers' compensation payments for the other jobs the person can't work while hurt. The Legislature now is moving forward on state laws to reflect the major change, known as aggregation, made by the court's May 5, 2015, decision regarding Patricia Wheeler, of Sioux Falls. Her injury at one job left her unable to perform her two other jobs.
PIERRE—State senators voted 23-10 Wednesday to add meningitis to the list of immunizations students need to attend school in South Dakota. The state Health Department seeks the change. The legislation, SB 28, goes to the House of Representatives next. Sen. Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls, said the vaccination issue represents a collision between public-health policy and family decisions. "It's one way or the other," Curd, a doctor, said. Sen. Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, attempted to add a philosophical-opposition waiver.
PIERRE—A coalition of Democratic and Republican members in the state House of Representatives blocked an attempt at more government secrecy Monday. Thirty-six representatives voted for the amendment from Rep. Julie Bartling, D-Gregory. Her change stopped the state Division of Banking from publishing public notices for new trust applicants only on the division's Internet site. The notices had been published in local newspapers. That practice now could continue. The division could still publish them on its website, too, if desired.
PIERRE—South Dakota's standards for ambulance crews would soften because of shortages of emergency responders in many rural areas, under a plan supported Tuesday by the state Senate. Crews would be allowed to operate with an EMT and a trained driver, rather than two EMTs as now required. Senators voted 34-0 in favor. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives. Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, said volunteer ambulance services struggle to find enough people to fill the slots.
PIERRE—There might have been one other aye, but the only one heard for sure Monday afternoon, on a voice vote in the state House of Representatives, came from Rep. Isaac Latterell. The Sioux Falls-area Republican tried to amend legislation dealing with the state Board on Massage Therapy. He wanted to change "shall" to "may" so that the governor wouldn't be forced to fill vacancies for the board's four professional seats. He said it could help encourage the board to act in the public interest. Rep. Scott Munsterman disagreed.
PIERRE—Veterans of the armed services would be allowed to check a box alerting potential employers when they apply for state, county, municipal and school jobs in South Dakota under a proposal that cleared its first committee Monday in the Legislature. The plan also would require those units of government to conduct interviews with any veteran who possesses the minimum qualifications for the job. Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-Florence, proposed the changes. He has dozens of House and Senate members as co-sponsors.
PIERRE—Two former employees of the South Dakota Development Center at Redfield took their complaints about management and staff vacancies to a committee of the Legislature Monday. Paul Register and Gerri Gallup said workers have been getting hurt by patients and the high number of staff vacancies results from a bad reputation. Register led two petition drives last year calling for changes. He presented them to officials at the state Department of Human Services in Pierre.
PIERRE --Secretary of State Shantel Krebs needs some big help fast from the Legislature to have South Dakota's election laws ready for the June primaries. The House Local Government Committee endorsed five bills Thursday from Krebs and the state Board of Elections. No one testified against any of them. The committee voted 13-0 for each one. Many of the changes are necessary to correct a problem caused by partisan exuberance in the 2015 session. Republican legislators last year rolled an assortment of additions into Krebs' SB 69.
PIERRE—Licensed massage therapists in South Dakota would be allowed to use their feet to deliver treatment in addition to their hands under a proposal supported by a legislative panel Thursday. The state House Health and Human Services Committee voted 12-0 to endorse a package of proposed treatment and licensing changes sought by the Daugaard administration and the state Board of Massage Therapy. The full House of Representatives could consider HB 1027 Monday afternoon. The legislation would add several requirements.