PIERRE — A state Senate panel took testimony Thursday about a proposal to divide South Dakota into nine river-basin units for dealing with water-level problems. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee didn't take action. Its chairman, Sen. Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, deferred the matter until Tuesday. Cammack suggested the bill's prime sponsor, Sen.
PIERRE — State senators voted Wednesday for a smorgasbord of increases in fuel taxes, registration fees and property taxes to provide more funding for state, county and township roads and bridges. The vote was 26-8 to send the legislation, Senate Bill 1, to the House of Representatives. The House hasn't taken a vote yet on its version, House Bill 1131, which was introduced for the governor. The key similarity in the two bills at this point is acceptance of the concept of annual 2-cent tax increases per gallon for gasoline and alcohol. The Senate version caps those after eight years.
PIERRE -- The South Dakota Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to new consumer protections sought by state Attorney General Marty Jackley regarding the operation of charitable raffles, lotteries and bingo. Senators agreed with amendments made by the House of Representatives that had Jackley's support. The measure, Senate Bill 18, next goes to Gov.
PIERRE -- State senators agreed Thursday that a task force should be selected to study elderly abuse in South Dakota. Sen. David Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, said Chief Justice David Gilbertson was asked and agreed to fund the work from the state Unified Judicial System budget. The chief justice also will receive authority to make the most appointments to the task force, Novstrup said. The chief justice would receive five slots to fill, the governor three, the Senate president pro tem three and the House speaker three. "All three branches have a stake in it," Novstrup said.
PIERRE — South Dakota could soon have a freedom of breastfeeding law. The measure won final legislative approval Wednesday from the state House of Representatives. It allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location where they are allowed to be. It also prohibits municipalities from banning breastfeeding in public places. Sen. Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, is prime sponsor of SB 77. The lead House sponsor is Rep. Lynne DiSanto, R-Rapid City.
The state House of Representatives voted 68-0 Wednesday to require school districts to provide the public with monthly information about the amounts of money held in reserve in four accounts. The legislation calls for the balances at the end of each month to be recorded for the general fund, capital outlay fund, pension fund and special education fund. The information would be presented in the annual report that already is required from each district in August each year. "I highly support this bill and it's unfortunate it's taken this long to get it," Rep. Dick Werner, R-Huron, said. Rep.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives rejected an attempt Wednesday to repeal the 3 percent limit on the annual growth of property tax revenue for county, city and township governments. The vote on HB 1218 was 23 yes and 45 no. The measure's prime sponsor, Rep. Dennis Feickert, D-Aberdeen, said counties have been on a downward spiral since the limit was approved by the Legislature in 1995. "Maybe, just maybe, it's time to do something," Feickert said. The limit was passed as part of what became a 30 percent reduction in local property taxes from their 1994 levels. Rep.
PIERRE -- The recent attempt by some Republican legislators to increase the number of signatures needed on petitions for referrals and initiatives would have changed South Dakota's original law from 1899. The Legislature expressly had authority, from the 1898 state constitutional amendment creating the referendum and initiative, to define the signatures needed. The constitutional amendment set the threshold at no less than 5 percent of qualified electors but didn't define qualified electors. Instead, the amendment's final sentence -- still found in the Article III, Section 1 of the constitu
PIERRE — Republicans decisively won legislative elections last November. Now comes their political reward. They are decisively exerting their will, offering changes in South Dakota's election laws, to further hamper Democrats. On Wednesday afternoon, Republican senators unanimously added rigid restrictions to SB 69 that will make candidate withdrawals from ballots more difficult. Democrats have frequently used placeholder candidates for legislative seats. The common practice has been that the placeholders drop out. Sometimes there are replacements.
PIERRE — South Dakota members of the National Guard and Reserve would become classified as veterans in state law under a proposal that cleared its first legislative test Friday. The House State Affairs Committee voted 6-3 to recommend House Bill 1179 pass. It could face debate in the full House of Representatives as early as Monday afternoon. Approximately 75,000 South Dakotans already have veteran status because they served in active deployment. The legislation would open the way for about 25,000 guardsmen and reserve members who don't currently qualify. Two members of Gov.