PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has selected a new member for the State Library Board and a new member for the South Dakota Veterans Commission. He chose Brooks T. Schild, a science teacher at Yankton Middle School, to succeed Michael Birnbaum of Rapid City on the veterans panel. Then-Gov. Mike Rounds originally appointed Birnbaum in 2006. Daugaard reappointed him in 2011. For the library board, Daugaard selected Tom Nelson of Spearfish to succeed Diane Olson of Mitchell.
PIERRE — Five pieces of legislation received recommendations this week from a state government panel looking at possible changes to South Dakota's campaign finance laws. The Legislature established the Government Accountability Task Force during the 2017 session. The group's recommended bills will be introduced in the 2018 session. There are four Democratic legislators, four Republican legislators and three people representing Republicans elected as governor, secretary of state and attorney general.
The third-quarter financial reports are online for candidates seeking South Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 election. Democratic candidate Tim Bjorkman of Canistota reported contributions of $72,459.20 in the third quarter — and the first for his campaign — and net spending of $26,705.04. Bjorkman also reported that he loaned the campaign $50,000. His campaign balance as of Sept. 30, 2017, was $95,754.16.
PIERRE — In an opinion issued Sept. 20, 2017, the South Dakota Supreme Court handed citizens a significant victory. The justices, in a 4-1 decision, ruled the presumption of openness should prevail on public records. The Legislature, back in 2009, purposely placed the presumption of openness at the top of South Dakota's laws regarding public records. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader achieved this victory for the public. Its lawyer, Jon Arneson, deserves credit.
PIERRE — President Donald Trump's declaration that he's cutting off federal subsidies to health insurance providers participating in the Affordable Care Act program — aka Obamacare — means companies get a brief chance to re-file their rates for 2018. That's according to Larry Dieter. He is director for the South Dakota Division of Insurance. President Trump, a Republican, signed an executive order late Thursday eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance providers.
PIERRE — State government's Transportation Commission said no Thursday to all four bids received for replacing a box culvert on Cheyenne Creek in rural Potter County. Sharpe Enterprises Inc., of Fort Pierre, submitted the lowest one of $591,695.25. The state Department of Transportation's estimate was $458,854.50. The project seven miles northwest of Gettysburg would be offered again later this fall or winter, according to Mike Behm, the department's director of planning and engineering. "We feel we can make some changes," Behm said after the meeting.
PIERRE — Otter Tail Power Co. wants permission from South Dakota regulators to construct an electricity production plant in Deuel County. The 250-megawatt facility, known as Astoria Station, would be in Scandinavia Township on the north side of State Highway 28. The site is about 1.5 miles northwest of Astoria and about four miles east of Toronto. Natural gas from the Northern Border pipeline that runs through the company's recently acquired property would be used to generate the electricity.
PIERRE — State Rep. Mark Mickelson said Wednesday he is considering whether to ask the Legislature to repeal the Marsy's Law amendment that voters approved in 2016. They voted 215,565 to 146,084 to put victim rights in the South Dakota Constitution. Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, is speaker for the South Dakota House of Representatives. He said the constitutional amendment duplicated state laws in a variety of instances. "What we really need to do is fix Marsy's Law," he said Wednesday afternoon. He added: "This idea was brought to me. I didn't dream it up."
PIERRE — State government's Board of Nursing Facility Administrators received separate presentations Wednesday from two companies competing to run a licensing system on the Internet. They were ThoughtSpan Technology from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Albertson Consulting from Minot, North Dakota. Chairman Bob Stahl, of Pierre, told each presenter the board might want more information later. The system would allow online registrations and renewals. The office currently uses paper forms.
Leaders for state government's Board of Regents want an analysis of the increasing demand for funding of maintenance and repairs at South Dakota's public universities. The directive from board president Bob Sutton and vice president Kevin Schieffer came last week at the meeting at Dakota State University. During the gathering in Madison, regents approved moving ahead on new facilities or for purchasing or making renovations at existing ones.