PIERRE -- The deadly wind and cold make South Dakota a mean place to live at times. But on minimum wage, South Dakota suddenly doesn't look so mean. Voters raised the minimum wage to $8.50 from $7.25. The increase took effect on Jan. 1. For an eight-hour workday, that's $10 more. For a 40-hour week, that's $50 more: The difference between $290 at $7.25, and $340 at $8.50. How did people live on $290, or now $340? It's understandable some employers wouldn't want to pay $1.25 more per hour to their lowest-wage workers, unless forced. A majority of South Dakota's voters on Nov.
When does it start? At noon on Tuesday. How long does it run? The session is 39 working days, with many weeks lasting four days (Monday or Friday off). The end of the main run is March 13. Legislators return March 30, to consider any remaining vetoes or other unfinished business on day 39. Who's in charge? Rep. Dean Wink, R-Howes, will be speaker of the House of Representatives. The House majority leader will be Rep. Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City. The House minority leader will Rep. Spencer Hawley, D-Brookings.
PIERRE -- Eighteen years is a long time to serve in elected posts in state government. On Saturday, in a formal ceremony televised from the Capitol rotunda, with his wife, Linda, beside him, Gov. Dennis Daugaard will take the oath of office for a second term and four more years. He is 61, and in many ways the Republican has already signaled that South Dakota should expect more of the same frugality and cautious investment of the public's tax money shown in his first term. Since the Nov.
PIERRE — South Dakota's unemployment insurance fund completed a historic turnaround in 2014 and returned to full strength somewhat faster than expected, state officials said Wednesday. "That's a positive," said Shawn Lyons, executive director for the South Dakota Retailers Association. He is a member of the state Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council. The fund finished 2014 with a balance of approximately $84.6 million.
PIERRE — We said goodbye to some major South Dakota newsmakers and said hello to their successors in 2014. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson retired, after 28 years in Congress and eight years as a legislator. He turned 68 on Dec. 28. His successor is Republican U.S. Mike Rounds, who served eight years as governor and 10 years as a state senator. He turned 60 on Oct. 24. South Dakota's new secretary of state, Shantel Krebs, took her oath Friday. Krebs, 41, served 10 years as a legislator from Minnehaha County.
PIERRE — The state Public Utilities Commission faces a decision Tuesday whether to dismiss the application by TransCanada to certify its existing permit to construct the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline through South Dakota. The Yankton Sioux Tribe seeks the dismissal in an attempt to stop the pipeline.
PIERRE -- When the legislative session opens Jan.
PIERRE — South Dakota's top political story for 2014 from my perspective was the election of former Gov. Mike Rounds to the U.S. Senate. Specifically, that Rounds received a true majority of 50.37 percent on Nov. 4. He broke 50 against three solid candidates in Democrat Rick Weiland with 29.51 percent, independent and former Republican U.S. Sen.
PIERRE — Two businesses received approval Tuesday for state loans from the South Dakota Development Corp. The board gave its OK to a $80,050 micro-loan to Parkston Electric and a $70,000 loan to the Auto Shop at Faulkton. The loans carry a 3 percent rate of interest and are part of a program designed specifically by the Governor's Office of Economic Development for small businesses located in South Dakota and owned by South Dakota residents.
PIERRE — The state Aeronautics Commission gave its approval Tuesday for Groton to operate its airport for general public use. "I think it's nice Groton wants to get back in the aviation business," chairman Skip VanDerhule, of Yankton, said. Improvements need to be finished such as fixing a washout on part of the runway and various federal and state conditions must be met before the permit will be granted. "I know they're going to fix it," Jason Engbrecht, who works in the state Office of Air, Rail and Transit, told commissioners. They also gave $2,500 to Groton to purchase runway mar