PIERRE — State Auditor General Marty Guindon presented on Monday the initial results from a 2016 law that requires audits on non-profit organizations that receive federal grants that pass through state government. Guindon said he's reviewed 25 of the audits performed so far by certified public accountants. He showed the findings from three of the audits to the state Board of Internal Control that was created by the same new set of laws last year. "None of them are too serious," he said.
PIERRE — As the protest camp emptied Wednesday morning of most of the people battling the Dakota Access pipeline crossing of the Missouri River in North Dakota, legislators in South Dakota began considering a potential state law aimed at punishing protests over another oil pipeline. Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants temporary powers to stop people from assembling in South Dakota, in places that would be designated as public safety zones by the governor.
PIERRE—Rarely has a South Dakota legislator received praise in the way that Rep. Karen Soli did last week. And rarely does a legislator work to get so many viewpoints and so much bipartisan support as Soli, D-Sioux Falls, did for a new state government accountability board. She brought together Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, received support from the governor and state attorney general and came up with a unique approach to have four retired judges or justices be the board's members.
PIERRE — The decision by a state legislator to defend South Dakota's congresswoman against advertising by a national group gets to the heart of the fight underway about money spent by out-of-state organizations to influence South Dakota voters. The ad alleges the border-adjustment tax under consideration in Congress would raise prices by $1,700 for groceries, gas, clothes and medicine. The ad says U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, a Republican, hasn't taken a position on it.
PIERRE — It took two rounds Thursday for the state House of Representatives to agree to let the governor sell the STAR Academy juvenile corrections campus at Custer. The legislation, HB 1209, moves to the Senate for consideration. The House failed to pass it the first time Thursday with 31 ayes and 36 nays. Several hours later the House agreed to reconsider it and voted 46-21 to approve it. Rep. David Anderson, R-Hudson, said the campus has been vacant for the past year and costs more than $500,000 annually to continue to maintain.
PIERRE — South Dakota motorists could obtain their full driving records rather than just the three most-recent years under a change under consideration in the Legislature. The House Transportation Committee gave its unanimous endorsement Thursday to the change. State law has long limited the look-back period to three years. That restriction would remain in place on requests for other people's records. The fee is $5. "We feel this is a customer-friendly bill," Heather Nachtigal, a state Department of Public Safety official, said. There were no opponents to SB 42.
PIERRE — The deadlock broke Wednesday over funding for the new animal disease laboratory sought at South Dakota State University. House Republican Leader Lee Qualm, of Platte, proposed shifting $7 million of agricultural property tax relief into a special projects fund instead. The $7 million was part of the half-cent sales tax increase approved by the Legislature last year. The new laboratory would need about a stream of $3 million-plus annually to cover $50.1 million of bonds for its construction.
PIERRE — Meat sellers in South Dakota must continue to alert buyers to foreign-grown products but shouldn't have to label their U.S. grown products, the state Senate decided Tuesday. Only 13 senators voted for a rewrite of South Dakota's country of origin labeling law while 21 voted against it. Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, was one of the 21. She said federal regulations would override changes to South Dakota's law. "And nothing we do here is going to matter," Peters said.
PIERRE — Two sets of legislators lost Tuesday in their attempts to expand the purposes for some of the $73 million of cash accumulated in South Dakota's business loan fund. Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, wanted $40 million to help pay for the animal disease laboratory at South Dakota State University. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations rejected the Nelson plan. He had 19 Republicans and 11 Democrats as co-sponsors. They offered it as an alternate to the governor's stalled proposal to raise fees on agricultural producers to help pay for the lab.
PIERRE — Search the Legislature's Internet database for the 2017 session regarding economic development and you'll come up empty. Yet state government's tax revenues have been running behind the forecast month after month. The slow pace is predicted to continue for the coming year. You might have your own opinion about whether less money for government is good, bad or otherwise. But there's probably no disagreement about what less tax revenue means. A slower economy isn't good for South Dakota.