PIERRE — The South Dakota Railroad Board agreed Wednesday to put all of the state-owned railroads truly on the map, via a digital-data system. The board also reduced a $5.25 million loan with the Marshall County Railroad Authority by about $800,000. That savings replaces the approximately $1.6 million reduction the board previously approved for the loan. As for the mapping system, the board will pay $325,500, according to Jack Dokken, administrator for the state railroad office.
PIERRE – State government’s new panel that oversees teacher salaries in South Dakota’s public schools decided Tuesday to revisit one piece of a package of proposed rules. The School Finance Accountability Board met by teleconference, in response to action May 1 by the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee. That day, legislators, on a 3-2 vote, told the board to try again. The committee’s lawyers – Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs; Rep. Steven Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls; and Sen. Craig Kennedy, D-Yankton – want ‘appeal’ better defined.
PIERRE — The 2017 list of topics for legislative issue memorandums doubled, and then some, Monday. The Legislature's Executive Board approved seven. Dave Ortbahn began with a suggestion of three, based on his survey of Legislative Research Council staff. Ortbahn, the council's chief analyst for research and legal services, said they would get the seven done. "The goal would be to have something to you before the November e-board meeting," he told the board. The board approved the three he suggested:
PIERRE — Chris Nelson asked a question about golf the other morning, as NorthWestern Energy officials presented the 2016 reports and 2017 plans on economic development efforts by their electricity and natural gas divisions. Nelson, one of three elected members on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, wondered about the Governor's Office of Economic Development golf tournament. NorthWestern, in a footnote on both reports, still listed it as an event for 2017. Nelson said he thought GOED had shut it down for 2017.
PIERRE — South Dakota’s attorney general and South Dakota’s one member in the U.S. House of Representatives are squaring up for the Republican nomination for South Dakota’s governor that will be decided next year. The attorney general, Marty Jackley, showed up a Thursday-ago in Aberdeen, at the joint convention of the South Dakota and North Dakota newspaper conventions. He played trivia that night on the team of the Rapid City Journal editor, Bart Pfankuch.
Northern State University officials received the go-ahead to change the layout for its football and women's soccer teams at the campus in Aberdeen. Northern State's plans call for: • Converting the current practice field for women's soccer, east of Jerde Hall, to a new practice-field for football; • Moving soccer practices to the women's soccer game-field; • And installing a synthetic turf product for new surfaces that replace natural grass on the women's soccer game-field and the new practice-field for football.
Students at the University of South Dakota law school in Vermillion face an additional $2,400 in fees starting this fall. The fee of $400 per semester would pay for a training program that helps students prepare for the State Bar of South Dakota exam. The $2,400 reflects the total for three years at the law school. Students could receive a refund if they ultimately decide to opt out of the BARBRI training or choose a different approach.
PIERRE — Eight contracts for highway projects received approval Thursday from the South Dakota Transportation Commission. They totaled slightly more than $8.2 million. Of the 33 bids received, 14 were less than Department of Transportation engineers' estimates, while 19 were more. "We've got pretty good balance there," commission chairman Ron Rosenboom, of Sturgis, said. The largest project covers 35 miles on S.D. Highway 1804 north of Mobridge to Pollock in Walworth and Campbell counties.
South Dakota's public universities sent 35 people to Rapid City for five days last month for Title IX training on stopping — literally — sexual abuse and general violence. The Green Dot program suggests people step in, rather than just silently disagree, when they see acts of violence. The program also trains people to take Green Dot's principles to the campuses and teach others, so the program becomes part of daily lives.
Some leaders of the Legislature indicated Wednesday they want to hold a special session this year, possibly as early as June. The special session would consider restoring public access to some, or all, of 25 lakes and sloughs that the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission closed in April. "We will leave no stone unturned. It's a very complex issue. We're searching for simple answers, that can be dealt with quickly," Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said.