PIERRE—Video lottery establishments and city governments throughout South Dakota should be sent an official letter reinforcing the ban against smoking in those businesses, the state Lottery Commission decided Thursday. The commission's 7-0 vote came after a telephone conference with several people from Sioux Falls city government. Sioux Falls city attorney Keith Allenstein detailed several years of attempting to enforce the smoking ban in some of the video lottery casinos there.
BROOKINGS—People could keep trail cameras operating year-round in South Dakota on land owned, leased or controlled by the state Game, Fish and Parks Department under a new rule adopted Thursday. The regulations call for the camera to be attached to a tree, post or structure by no more than one nail, bolt or screw. The camera must have attached the name and address of the owner or the year and current big-game license number. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission voted 6-2. The discussion turned on the concept of fair chase.
PIERRE—Trustees for the South Dakota Retirement System learned Wednesday its investments currently don't cover what its members are owed. This is the fourth time since 2009 that a deficit faced the public pension system. Among its participating units are state government, state universities and many school districts, counties, cities and other units of local government. SDRS is structured to balance on annual average investment gains of 7.25 percent.
PIERRE—South Dakota schools hired less than 38 percent of the first-year teachers graduated from South Dakota's state universities during 2002 through 2014. That's one of the trends identified in a report to the state Board of Regents, whose members govern the state universities. The first-year placements increased substantially the past few years, however, reaching 47.5 percent for 2013 and 48.1 percent for 2014.
PIERRE—Twenty of South Dakota's 35 legislative districts will have contests in the June 7 political primary elections, including six districts with two sets of primaries each. Republicans have 12 primaries for their party's House of Representatives candidates and 10 primaries for their party's Senate candidates. Five of those districts have Republican primaries for House and Senate candidates. Democrats, by contrast, have four districts with primaries, three for House candidates and one for Senate.
PIERRE — The time is nigh to explain some talk and contradictions that came from the 2016 session of the Legislature that ended Tuesday. Sales tax: No, the Republican opponents didn't have a no-tax alternative to the governor's increase from 4 percent to 4.5 percent. School funding: No, the new formula won't dry up small-enrollment school districts. If you're shrinking, you need more babies and more couples to have babies. Video lottery: No, lottery money wasn't meant for education. Twenty years ago, video lottery proceeds were earmarked for property tax relief.
RAPID CITY— The University of South Dakota business school would get $100,000 to assemble two new reports on the effects of the state universities in the economy and the impacts from research and commercialization projects involving the campuses. The state Board of Regents approved the spending Friday. An economic report was last prepared for the regents in 2010. Regent Terry Baloun, of Sioux Falls, said it is important to show the public the significance of the universities. "It's a good time, after that period of time, to refresh the numbers," Baloun said.
RAPID CITY — Resident students attending South Dakota's public universities would pay the same tuition and fees for the coming school year under the freeze approved Friday by the state Board of Regents. The regents also adopted a new policy that allows new students from Iowa to attend four South Dakota universities at resident rates for tuition and fees.
PIERRE — After more than 25 years on the drawing board, the Gregory County pumped-storage project might have finally met its end Thursday, at least from the perspective of state government officials. The state Board of Water and Natural Resources decided to let the project's future-use permit lapse for the Missouri River water that would be necessary to make it work. The concept called for constructing a new reservoir and hydroelectric plant adjacent to Lake Francis Case, one of the river's big existing reservoirs.
RAPID CITY — Presidents at South Dakota's public universities would become eligible for contracts lasting more than one year but less than four years, as would the Division I sports head coaches and athletic directors, under a policy change made Thursday by the state Board of Regents. The standard policy has allowed one-year contracts for non-faculty exempt employees. The issue of a multi-year exception arose during the hiring of the new University of South Dakota football coach Bob Nielson. The regents govern the state universities.