SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota's new advisory panel on deaf and hard of hearing children began work Friday. The committee is setting milestones parents can use in helping youngsters get ready for kindergarten. Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, whose parents were deaf, signed into law the legislation from Rep. Dan Ahlers, D-Dell Rapids. HB 1155 calls for a resource for parents to monitor and track language development by children from birth to age five.
PIERRE — Circuit Judge Patricia DeVaney ruled Tuesday that state Sen. Lance Russell of Hot Springs can run for re-election as the Republican nominee on South Dakota's November general-election ballot. "There is no definitive language in either SDCL 12-6-55 or 12-6-56 that unequivocally precludes an individual from being re-nominated, so long as it is done in a timely manner," Judge DeVaney wrote in her decision.
PIERRE — On Dec. 11, 2015, the U.S. House voted 256 to 158 to approve the conference report of a trade act. It also repealed state and local taxes on Internet access. One of the ayes came from Rep. Kristi Noem. Then on Feb. 11, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted 75-20 for it. Sen. John Thune was an aye, while Sen. Mike Rounds was a no. The access taxes appear on consumers' cable and cell-phone bills. The repeal was section 922 of the measure President Barack Obama signed into law. Seven states still charge some version of the tax. The repeal takes effect June 30, 2020.
PIERRE — South Dakota candidates are dealing this election cycle with a spending restriction that might be the first of its type in the state's history. Their committees are now limited on how they can spend contributions they receive. State Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton, who is his party's candidate for governor this November against Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, added the restriction in 2017 as an amendment during a conference committee on an already broad measure.
PIERRE — Starting this fall, students at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology can seek a certificate in esports, the state Board of Regents decided Thursday. "It's kind of a unique program," Jay Perry, a regents assistant vice president for academic affairs, said about the new offering at the Rapid City campus. "There are professional ranks. It's on television." Mines President Jim Rankin said it's more than players competing at video games.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Board of Regents approved a four-page document Thursday outlining expectations for the system's new executive director, Paul Beran, about how the regents want the state universities and special schools run. Board President Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls said the draft resulted from a closed-door discussion in an executive session held Wednesday. The report covers the next two to five years and replaces the priorities the regents set in October 2014 for where they wanted the system to be in 2018.
PIERRE — The panel that governs South Dakota's public universities heard a marketing pitch Wednesday about how to get more funding from the Legislature. Staff members from the Epicosity firm presented a $260,650 plan to the state Board of Regents. It included $118,000 for production, including $40,000 to build a website, and $142,650 to buy advertising from January through March during the 2019 legislative session. The current contract with the regents through Dec. 31 is for a maximum of $16,000 to develop a plan.
PIERRE — Two projects in the James River Valley that would convert wind to electricity moved forward Tuesday. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved a public liaison person for Crocker Wind Farm in Clark County. The project received the commission's OK earlier this summer. Meanwhile the commission Tuesday set a schedule in a separate docket on whether Prevailing Wind Park could build in Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties.
PIERRE — State regulators decided Tuesday to seek receivership of a failed grain company and sell it to farmers, who then could make financial claims against a second company for millions of dollars the first company hasn't paid them. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission decided to take that complex route Tuesday. The three commissioners voted unanimously that their agency's lawyers should ask a state judge for permission to take over assets for H and I Grain of Hetland.
PIERRE — A public hearing on the state Department of Agriculture making direct loans to small or beginning farmers didn't draw any testimony Monday, but the agency received two letters from bankers expressing opposite views. The change would be an expansion. Currently the department participates in loans with a lender. Interim Secretary Dustin Oedekoven will decide later this month whether to adopt the rules. The department must receive written comments no later than Aug. 16. The Legislature's Rules Review Committee is scheduled to consider any changes Aug. 20.