Friday, December 11, 2015
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016

Wade Pogany, executive director for the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, said Monday morning his organization will stay neutral on Rep. Fred Deutsch’s legislation that would limit bathrooms and locker rooms to students of the same biological sex. The House State Affairs Committee re…

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This afternoon (Tuesday) the state Pubic Utilities Commission meets at 12:30 p.m. CT and among the items on the agenda is the request for a ruling on whether telephone directories must be printed on paper. Qwest aka CenturyLink and its directory provider Dex Media want the go-ahead to stop b…

Monday, January 18, 2016
Monday, December 28, 2015

We returned home Saturday night after a difficult trip over difficult winter roads from Denver to a great surprise. Someone with a snowblower had cleared our driveway and our sidewalk. We didn’t have to park on the street and didn’t have to carve a path through the wall of plowed snow across…

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently reappointed Wanda Blair of Vale and Lyla Hutchison of Wounded Knee to new terms on the state Brand Board. They’ll continue until Jan. 5, 2019. Meanwhile the board’s executive director, Debbie Trapp, said the board won’t be seeking authority from the Legislature …

Monday, December 21, 2015

Back during the administration of Gov. Mike Rounds there was an emphasis on line of succession throughout state government departments and bureaus. That meant Cabinet members needed to have deputies. During the economic woes of 2009 through 2011, cuts needed to be made, and new Gov. Dennis D…

Friday, December 18, 2015

The University of South Dakota defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in double overtime last night in men’s basketball 92-91. This morning, ESPN carried a story at the end of Sports Center about the game’s finish. The game clocked stopped with 1.7 seconds showing in the first overti…

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

We’re seeing a technique resurface in the long run-up to the 2018 election for governor, as two of the unofficial candidates for the Republican nomination are already raising funds for their campaigns.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Seldom does the South Dakota Lottery Commission hold a meeting anywhere but Pierre. The commission takes to the road come Dec. 10, however, to sit down in Sioux Falls with the lottery’s marketing contractor, Lawrence and Schiller.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The James River water development district levies a tax and uses the revenue for environmental projects on the length of one of South Dakota’s richest agricultural valleys. The latest round of funding approved last week by the district’s board spread $306,378 among a variety of work intended…

Thursday, November 19, 2015

There was enthusiasm to some degree when Rep. Don Haggar, R-Sioux Falls, received lawmakers’ support in 2014 to create a state-level task force on tribal economic development. The panel meets for likely the final time Friday at 10 a.m. CT at the Capitol and the agenda, at this point, lacks s…

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I never could understand how the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe planned to legally operate a marijuana lounge inside its gambling casino. The tribe has a federally recognized agreement, known as a gambling compact, with the state of South Dakota. The compact requires in section 4.1 that the tr…

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The recovery of South Dakota’s original state flag that was taken two years ago from the Secretary of State’s office by departing employee Garrett DeVries brings an important historical relic back to its place of public ownership. We don’t know all of the details yet of how the state Divisio…

Monday, November 02, 2015

What a day. The governor’s office released its response to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, asking that South Dakota be allowed to stay in the EB-5 immigrant investor program. The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee learned that state Auditor General Marty G…

The agenda isn’t posted yet, but the board of directors for the South Dakota High School Activities Association meets Wednesday in Pierre. The agenda should show up at this link in the coming 24 hours, and the meeting audio should be available on a live stream via the Internet at a link on t…

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has issued an executive order that administratively closes state government offices under his control on Friday, Nov. 27, and at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24. For those who don’t have a calendar within reach, those dates are the Friday after Thanksgiving and the afternoon o…

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

These photos show the current status of Hilger’s Gulch, a Pierre community landmark, as the Daugaard administration prepares to convert much of the Kentucky bluegrass to a mix of native species such as blue grama, buffalo grass and wildflowers, along with prairie shrubs and various small tre…

Monday, October 26, 2015

For critics of the final version of SB 69, one package of the election-law changes passed in the 2015 legislative session, the baby went with the bath water. Opponents successfully circulated a referral petition to suspend it from taking effect until voters can decide its fate in the 2016 ge…

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The state Department of Tourism is taking applications through Nov. 13 for director of the South Dakota Arts Council. The post will open in the months ahead as Michael Pangburn retires in February of 2016. He has been director for seven years and joined the council’s staff in 1998. The counc…

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Here is the Family Heritage Alliance’s scorecard for how South Dakota legislators voted on the alliance’s agenda during the 2015 session. Scorecards from other groups will be posted if you send links to bobmercer2014@gmail.com.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The past two years haven’t been fun regarding the EB-5 matter. Generally, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s administration has been somewhat open regarding documents. News reporters have been able to get most questions addressed by the governor’s top staff. There is some railing currently on another bl…

This is worth reading, again, and thinking about, again, as South Dakota faces a long list of potential ballot measures for the 2016 statewide elections. It’s only an opinion from then-Attorney General Roger Tellinghuisen, written in 1989, but the standard that he draws would seem important …

Friday, October 16, 2015

Two years ago the Legislature established the South Dakota Athletic Commission to oversee boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. The commission plans a public hearing next month regarding some proposed changes in rules for the conduct of matches. (The changes are underlined.) Most appear…

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Last month a woman from the New York City borough of Queens who proved very important to South Dakota died. Breast cancer took the life of Dr. Deborah Asnis on Sept. 12 at age 59. She was director of infectious disease at Flushing Hospital Medical Center. There, in the summer of 1999, severa…

Among the topics on which South Dakota is seeing significant shifts under Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is satellite voting. This summer Krebs established a panel known as the HAVA — for Help America Vote Act — grant board. She did it with approval from the state Board of Elections. The p…

Monday, October 12, 2015

On this 26th annual Native Americans’ Day (the Legislature established the state holiday in 1990), there is a book worth noting. The South Dakota State Historical Society Press published Red Cloud: Oglala Legend this year. Steve Lee of the Pierre Capital Journal wrote a solid piece about the…

The reality is that the task force appointed by the governor to study teachers and students in South Dakota’s K-12 public schools won’t be able to propose a final solution on teacher pay when the panel meets for the final time Oct. 29 at View 34 on Pierre’s east side. That decision will be r…