South Dakota's eligibility rule stayed the same Friday for landowners seeking preference licenses for hunting elk in the Black Hills. A person still needs at least 240 acres and 500 elk-use days. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission unanimously rejected a Hot Springs landowner's petition wanting changes. The proposal called for a minimum of 1,000 acres with 500 elk-use days or any land with 2,000 elk-use days. It also would have required the person live within 60 miles of the land.
PIERRE — The U.S. Supreme Court hears the argument April 17 over whether the state government of South Dakota has authority to collect sales tax on goods and services delivered from remote sellers that don't have a physical presence in South Dakota. At issue is a decision the justices made 25 years ago in a case known as Quill that said sales tax could be levied only on businesses within a state's physical jurisdiction. Asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Quill decision is state Attorney General Marty Jackley.
PIERRE — It's encouraging to see transparency finding the way into more public offices in South Dakota. News reporters and citizens crusaded for decades for South Dakota government to open records and open meetings. We saw progress during the 2018 session of the Legislature. South Dakota now will require public comment periods to be on the agenda of every public meeting. School districts openly opposed the change. Some former county commissioners now in the Legislature fought it too.
Stagnant enrollment at South Dakota's system of state universities, coupled with the continuous demand for new facilities to compete for students, has caused the state Board of Regents to look for a different way to pay for maintenance and repair. The two percent that Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Legislature want for M-and-R sounds small. But the number is huge applied to hundreds of millions of dollars of buildings at the six traditional campuses and the two university centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Transportation Commission awarded $8 million for preserving, rehabilitating or replacing 17 county and city bridges Thursday. The bridge improvement grants require a local match of at least 20 percent, but many applicants offered to contribute more. "They're fighting for the money," Laurie Schultz said. She is administration programs manager for the state Department of Transportation. The department has a multi-part scoring system for ranking the projects. Schultz said preservation is a priority over rehabilitation or replacement.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission accepted low bids on nine repair projects for South Dakota highways Thursday. "Keep 'em coming in low," said Mike Vehle, of Mitchell. He is a commission member. Complete Concrete Inc. of Rapid City was low bidder at $457,978.95 for pavement work on 9.75 miles in Lawrence, Meade and Pennington counties. The department estimate was $630,215.05. Three companies bid.
PIERRE — Ten speed zones should change on stretches of South Dakota highways, the state Transportation Commission decided Thursday. Five shorten the lengths of slower zones so they match where speed signs are posted, Karla Engle said. She is chief legal counsel for the state Department of Transportation. "We want to correct that now," Engle said.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission decides Tuesday how to spread $400,000 among dozens of producers and businesses as partial compensation for larger amounts a de-licensed grain dealer in Kingsbury County owes to them. Last year the commission suspended the state license for H and I Grain, based at Hetland. The task now is distributing the bond. Fifty-three customers are on the final list of claimants Jim Mehlhaff compiled. He is state Grain Warehouse Division director. He received more than $2.75 million of claims.
The price rises again this fall for students to take courses at the public technical institutes in South Dakota. A student will pay an additional $2 per credit hour. That means a standard package of courses would cost $30 more per semester. The state Board of Technical Education made the decision Tuesday during a meeting in Sioux Falls. The vote was 8-0. The increase takes the total price for one credit hour to $157.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard spoke to lawmakers for a few minutes Monday afternoon to close the Legislature's 2018 session. This is the Republican's eighth and final year as governor. He previously was lieutenant governor eight years and a state senator six. He had roles in 22 regular sessions and seven special sessions. Best memory? "It really was the people, and remains that way," Daugaard said.