PIERRE — The state Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a special meeting later this week to consider suspending the grain-buyer license covering four locations in southeastern South Dakota. The commission gathers at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Capitol to review the situation of Utica Grain Inc. Ralph Marquardt of Yankton incorporated the company in 1999. It does business as Upper Midwest Grain Elevator. Midwest Grain has locations in Irene, Meckling, Tabor and Utica.
PIERRE — The state Railroad Board met Gov. Dennis Daugaard in the middle Tuesday on seeking federal aid for improving a state-owned line in southeastern South Dakota. The state board voted 5-1 to accept the governor's deal. One of the changes calls for operator D and I Railroad to apply for a federal grant of $4,050,000. The rest of the funding for the $8.1 million project calls for a $1 million state grant, a $2,550,000 state loan at two percent for 15 years, and $500,000 from the railroad and shippers.
PIERRE — The Legislature's leaders gather Thursday at the Capitol to talk with Gov. Dennis Daugaard about the Sept. 12 special session he has called. Daugaard said Tuesday he would ask lawmakers to look over two proposals he plans to present on collecting sales and use taxes from remote sellers. His measures come in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision June 21. The justices voted 5-4 to uphold a law South Dakota legislators passed in 2016.
PIERRE — South Dakota lawmakers gave the green light Monday to changes for graduating from high school and for some farmers to directly borrow from state government. The Legislature's Rules Review Committee split 4-2 on a new system that high schools must use by fall 2020. It calls for a basic diploma and three advanced endorsements.
PIERRE — Circuit Judge Patricia DeVaney faced a big decision and didn't have much time to make it last week. She had to quickly sort through what she called a flurry of arguments about whether state Sen. Lance Russell could be the Republican nominee for re-election in legislative district 30 that covers the counties of Fall River and Custer and part of Pennington. The question was whether Russell qualified as a "new nominee."
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 — 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.