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.
PIERRE — In a move that might benefit local taxpayers and people who fish and hunt, township boards would get more authority over townships roads under two proposals that moved forward Thursday in the Legislature. The boards would be allowed to set speed limits — that power currently rests with county commissions — and to designate roads as no-maintenance rather than vacate them. The House Local Government Committee recommended both measures pass and sent them to the full House of Representatives. The speed-limit legislation, House Bill 1122, was put on the House consent c
PIERRE — A Democratic proposal to restore the South Dakota Ethics Commission died on a vote along party lines Wednesday in the South Dakota House of Representatives. House members killed the resolution 53-16. Democrats wanted the Legislature's Executive Board to work with the executive and judicial branches of state government in developing a plan to revive the commission. The resolution called for a proposal to be brought before the Legislature for consideration in the 2016 session. Only Democrats signed as cosponsors of the ethics resolution brought by Rep.
The State Ethics Commission was created by the Legislature in 1975. The legislation's number, Senate Bill 1, signaled its political significance that year. The prime sponsor was Sen.
PIERRE -- A state legislator who is a retired economics and business professor wants the Legislature to realign South Dakota's sales tax grid. Rep. Ray Ring, D-Vermillion, proposes taking the sales tax off food and increasing the sales tax on other goods and services to 4.35 percent from the current 4 percent. House Bill 1193 has only Democratic co-sponsors. It is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the House Taxation Committee that is chaired by Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown.
PIERRE — The state Senate's Appropriations Committee will consider a $151,000 request to study potential tax shifts for agriculture property. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee conducted a hearing Tuesday on the money requested and then voted to refer Senate Bill 4 to the appropriations panel. The South Dakota State University economics department would conduct the study.
PIERRE — Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, wants to increase the signatures of registered voters necessary for an initiated measure or a referendum. Brown introduced Senate Bill 166. It would straighten out some current confusion. The individual specific laws for a petition and for a referral require 5 percent of the qualified electors. Those would remain in place under Brown's proposal. He wants to change another law from the same chapter.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Friday he hasn't decided whether to attempt to revive his legislation that sought increases in licensing fees for lodging businesses, eateries and campgrounds. His remarks came one day after the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted 4-2 to kill the measure, Senate Bill 60. Daugaard said the package would have raised about $90,000.