PIERRE — State senators gave the final OK Tuesday for state government to go ahead on selling land and buildings at six locations across South Dakota. The most controversial property remains STAR Academy, the state's juvenile corrections facility near Custer that is now closed. Senators voted 20-15 to let Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration proceed in that attempt. Many senators said the Custer site could be used for people with drug problems. "I'm afraid this is a short-sighted endeavor we're engaging in," Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, said.
PIERRE — One year after increasing the state sales tax to provide raises to teachers and reduce property taxes for business and agriculture, state legislators said Tuesday they don't have money to provide more aid to K-12 schools for the coming year. Frustration and at times anger washed through the House of Representatives as lawmakers learned Tuesday afternoon that a zero increase is planned for general education funding from state government.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate rejected a resolution Tuesday that praised President Donald Trump for keeping the nation safe from "radical Islamic terrorism." Senators voted 20-15 to kill the resolution, SCR 15. It came from Sen. Neal Tapio, R-Watertown, who was Trump's campaign chairman for South Dakota last year. Tapio emphasized freedom in his prepared speech. The press packet he provided to reporters featured a quote he said must be printed in whole or not at all.
PIERRE — South Dakota business people who collect sales tax for state government could lose at least $1 million and possibly five times that much under a proposal that suddenly appeared Monday in the Legislature. State law currently allows retailers to keep 1.5 percent of the state sales taxes they collect. The allowance is worth nearly $6 million annually, according to Shawn Lyons, executive director for the South Dakota Retailers Association.
PIERRE — South Dakota's primary elections for governor are 15 months away but the tug of war for the Republican nomination is clearly underway between U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and state Attorney General Marty Jackley. Jackley scored several times in recent days. He went to Washington, D.C., and met with the new U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Then he met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the day after the president's speech to Congress.
PIERRE — For nearly four hours last week the state Railroad Board heard and discussed millions of dollars of proposals for improving tracks throughout South Dakota. The board is gathering information from rail companies, developers and agriculture interests for its next round of financial assistance through lower-interest loans and grants if possible.
PIERRE — While the land exchange that was necessary for a Spearfish Canyon state park now is dead, state officials continue to proceed on stewardship and management planning for the highly used and much treasured piece of the Black Hills. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission received a report Friday from state parks director Katie Ceroll about what happens next, after the governor pulled his funding request to the Legislature that would have paid for the 1,480-acre exchange.
PIERRE — The draft version of South Dakota's new management plan for deer will be out soon for public review, a state Game, Fish and Parks Department official said Friday. Tom Kirschenmann, the department's chief for terrestrial resources, said it would be released shortly. He said there would be a public comment period as part of the state Game, Fish & Parks Commission's next meeting April 6-7 in Watertown. The deadline for other public comments would be April 17.
PIERRE — The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission received information Friday about two new pieces of land to be purchased for public hunting. They are proposed as game production areas and will come before the commission in April for approval. One is 320 acres in Beadle County that outdoorsman and former state legislator Bob Roe of Brookings developed about 18 miles southeast of Huron. "The amount of hunting opportunity will be tremendous," Paul Coughlin said, adding that the habitat is "in great condition." The acquisition cost is $1.1 million.
PIERRE— Another attempt to further toughen South Dakota's vehicular homicide law fell short Thursday in the state Senate. The vote was 15 yes and 17 no on whether to allow vehicular homicide to be charged as first degree manslaughter punishable by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine. Vehicular homicide is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The House of Representatives had approved the change 49-18 a week ago. The push for the change came in the wake of a 2013 tragedy at Pickstown.