Several business and farm leaders agreed Thursday that President Trump's threats of trade tariffs would slow South Dakota's economy and tax revenues in the months ahead. They participated in a forum sponsored by the Americans For Progress—South Dakota organization and shown live on the Internet from Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Ball said pork processing would be hurt, as would businesses that chill meat and businesses such as trucking and railroads.
PIERRE — Federal officials don't have a deadline to decide waivers, such as the one South Dakota seeks, to require some Medicaid recipients to work for benefits, a member of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration indicated Wednesday. "The timelines of the process are not defined," state Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon told members of South Dakota's Healthcare Solutions Coalition.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Retirement System gained 7.94 percent in fiscal 2018, according to State Investment Officer Matt Clark. That was more than the capital markets benchmark return of 7.33 percent but less than the state-funds benchmark of 8.55 percent. Overall SDRS assets rose to more than $12.2 billion by the June 30 end of fiscal 2018. They started last fiscal year at about $11.6 billion, Clark said. The fund earned 13.84 percent after expenses in fiscal 2017.
PIERRE — Nick Wendell tried Tuesday to deliver a 20-page report from the new state Board of Technical Education. But he ran into question after question by members of the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. Finally the chairwoman, Rep. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, said he should come back in November and re-present answers he admittedly didn't have. "I'm not satisfied with this report," Hunhoff told him. She added, "We thank you for your time, but we do have some homework for you to do."
PIERRE — The Legislature's Executive Board received information Monday on the Sept. 12 special session Gov. Dennis Daugaard called. The main purpose is to let state government proceed on taxing goods and services sold to South Dakota customers by many businesses that aren't within the state's borders. The businesses are known as remote sellers. Many would have to begin remitting state sales and use tax starting Nov. 1 under the governor's plan. It builds on a law passed two years ago that Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, sponsored.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Legislature has added a feature to its website at sdlegislature.gov. It is a staff directory for the Legislative Research Council. For each staffer there is a photo, an email address and a description of the person's roles. To reach the listing, scroll to the bottom of the LRC site's main page and click on the "LRC Staff" link. That takes you to a page with many options. Choose the "Staff Directory" link that tops the list on the left side. LRC deputy director Sue Cichos showed the site Monday to the Legislature's Executive Board.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard explained the other day why he chose interim replacements for several top vacancies recently. Daugaard, who plans to head home to Dell Rapids when his second term ends in January, said it's unrealistic to ask "high profile and capable people" to take what could be short-term posts. David Zolnowsky retired in March as the governor's commissioner for the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. He served about six years. Daugaard chose BIT veteran Pat Snow as interim commissioner.
PIERRE — A state regulatory panel agreed Friday to wait until Sept. 4 to decide whether to suspend the grain-buyer license for the company of a prominent Yankton businessman. Ralph Marquardt told the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission he or brother John Marquardt would take responsibility for all decisions going forward at Utica Grain Inc. The company does business as Upper Midwest Grain Elevator with locations at Utica, Irene, Meckling and Tabor.
Democrat Billie Sutton and Republican Kristi Noem laid out dueling proposals Thursday, as their campaigns for South Dakota governor crossed through the Black Hills. Sutton focused on farms and ranches during remarks in Rapid City, while Noem went to Hot Springs to speak about armed-forces veterans. Sutton, who described himself as a fifth-generation farmer and rancher, criticized tariffs President Donald Trump has used or is threatening to disrupt trade with other nations. Noem has increasingly tied her candidacy to Trump this year as the Republicans' new leader.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission endorsed South Dakota's 2019 construction plans for highways, bridges and related work Thursday. The unanimous vote came after the state Department of Transportation held public meetings in Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. DOT staff also conducted a meeting via Internet. The planning documents alone stood about six inches thick. Technically the paperwork covers 2019 through 2022. But projects sometimes have been moved up or pushed back.