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PIERRE -- Legislators have fought repeatedly over parking lot issues, and it looks like they may again this session. HB 1129 attempts to prohibit businesses and employers from having a policy or rule against employees having firearms or ammunition in their vehicles in the parking lot, so long as the weapon or ammo is out of sight. Rep. Lance Russell, R-Hot springs, and Sen. Ernie Otten, R-Tea, are the main sponsors on this bill. Last year the House passed a similar bill from then-Rep. Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City, but a Senate committee killed it.
PIERRE -- Sen. Shantel Krebs is pushing a proposal for a $5 million grant program for agricultural facilities. Krebs, R-Renner, would make the money available to the state Department of Transportation to use for grants for roads and bridges to new ag facilities. The legislation, SB 155, would cover processing, handling or loading of crops and raising or feeding livestock, including dairy. But the projects can't be inside city boundaries. Her lead sponsor in the House is Rep. Justin Cronin, R-Gettysburg.
PIERRE -- Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked Sioux Falls businessman Craig Lawrence, formerly of Lawrence & Schiller, to seek election as the South Dakota Republican Party's new chairman, according to a news release issued Tuesday. Lawrence has agreed to serve if approved by vote of the Republican Central Committee in February. Daugaard outlined his reasons for choosing Lawrence in the news release, which was sent by Lawrence himself.
WAGNER -- A Wagner woman arrested after a 2-year-old girl was found dead last July in a closet in her home has been convicted of three drug charges and failing to report the death of a child. Laurie Cournoyer, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of possession of methamphetamine and one count of keeping a place for the use or sale of controlled substances.
WAGNER -- A Wagner woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug charges and failing to report the death of a child. Laurie Cournoyer, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine, one count of keeping a place for use or sale of controlled substances, and one count of failure to report the death of a child. All three charges are felonies. The possession charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
PIERRE -- Rep. Dan Kaiser, R-Aberdeen, has introduced HB 1100, which would recognize in state law that gold and silver coin issued by the U.S. government is "legal tender for the payment of all debts between the citizens of this state." The bill adds that gold and silver coin can be accepted to satisfy any tax levied by the authority of the state, and that no person can force another person to accept or tender gold or silver coin. A hearing hasn't been set by the House Commerce and Energy Committee, chaired by Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown. The intent of the bill is unclear at this point.
PIERRE -- The latest "working holiday" bill this legislative session is SB 83 from Sen. Ried Holien, R-Watertown, that would designate March 29 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. It's set for a hearing Wednesday in the Senate State Affairs Committee. His bill has bipartisan support among its co-sponsor and the lead House sponsor is Rep. Melissa Magastadt, R-Watertown. A hearing date hasn't been set yet by the House State Affairs Committee, which has been assigned two other similar measures. One is HB 1084 from Rep. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls, which seeks to designate Aug.
PIERRE -- The latest lawmakers to attempt to loosen South Dakota's alcohol-sales system are Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, and Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell. Their measure, SB 100, would establish a wine direct-shipper permit. The permit holder would be allowed to send no more than two cases of wine per month to recipients at least age 21. Reports would be filed with the state Revenue Department. No hearing is set yet.
PIERRE -- Today is Delmont Day at the Capitol in Pierre, according to a news release from former legislator Frank Kloucek. An event at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda will include Delmont kuchen and Dimock cheese, plus entertainment. The event helps promote the annual Delmont Kucken Festival and Twin Rivers Old Iron Harvest Festival.
Mitchell Technical Institute's enrollment for the spring 2013 semester sets an all-time record for the school, MTI announced Monday. Current enrollment is 1,115, surpassing the previous record of 1,108 set in fall 2010. The number is up 18 from the fall 2012 enrollment of 1,097. The school has set several enrollment records during the last five years.