Commentary

Wed
15
Mar

Public notices play role in open government

By Brian J. Hunhoff

 

Something good happened last month in the South Dakota Legislature. House Bill 1167 was killed. HB 1167 would have allowed municipalities with more than 5,000 population to post legal notices on internet websites only, instead of publishing them in local newspapers. The bill was defeated 11-1 in the House Local Government Committee. The lone vote in favor was cast by its sponsor.

This was a “divide and conquer” strategy by the South Dakota Municipal League to pass a bill that mostly affected the state’s largest communities and daily newspapers. Editors at our small rural newspaper and other weeklies fought it alongside the dailies.

This is not just a South Dakota issue. There have been attempts to remove public notices from newspapers in at least 13 states this year. Among them: New Jersey, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Kansas and Connecticut.

 

 

Wed
08
Mar

South Dakota’s seat at the table

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

“Action is not a choice, it is a necessity.” Those were President Trump’s words on Obamacare to Congress. As the President mentioned in that speech, one-third of America’s counties now have only one insurer. A number of insurance companies have left the market. Others have been forced to raise premiums or narrow their networks, leaving South Dakotans and consumers nationwide with fewer options, which for many, are unaffordable.

Prior to Obamacare, as many as 17 separate insurance companies were offering individual health insurance plans in South Dakota. As Obamacare was adopted in 2010, companies began leaving the market. Last fall, one of South Dakota’s largest carriers, Wellmark, announced that it would no longer offer individual health insurance plans in South Dakota. 

Wed
08
Mar

Senior government students share persectives on legislative issues

Dear editor,

I have been studying the legislative session within my government class. Within the session, I have been studying Senate Bill 74. This bill would exempt elected tribal officials from having to register as lobbyists when they go to testify at the legislative sessions.

Mayors, and other elected officials, never had to register as lobbyists at the session, only elected tribal officials had to. Senator Troy Heinert, from District 26, explained the importance of the bill by saying, “…they represent a considerable amount of people, and their interests.” I personally agree with this bill also. It allows the representatives that the tribal members elect, to speak to the state legislators as representatives of our tribes. They do not have to be lobbyists for some group, but tribal officials, speaking on behalf of their tribes.

Wed
01
Mar

Stray Thoughts: Prairie Lawn

By Mark Peacock

With winter nearly at its end, spring is coming round the bend; calving leaves no time to spend with either family or friend.

Is winter through? We cannot say. Warming up most every day; calves are born, calves will play. Spring rebirth is on the way.

Thawing makes the gumbo do what gumbo does to me and you; trapping all that walks into the vice-like grip of prairie stew.

Early spring it seems was sent to make us think that winter went; but winter’s cost is not heaven-sent, and an angry winter won’t repent.

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Wed
01
Mar

Repurposing state-owned properties

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

The word that best sums up the public trust held by elected officials is stewardship. Stewardship – the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care – has been my goal as governor. It is through good stewardship that we balance the budget each year, make improvements to the state pension system and adopt new budget practices.

Stewardship also involves the sound management of tangible state assets. Regular maintenance of state-owned facilities prevents larger problems in the future, but state government also needs to constantly reevaluate its need for the facilities that we have. When I first ran for governor, I talked about the need to scrutinize state-owned land and buildings – and to sell assets that were under utilized. This has been an ongoing process now for six years.

Wed
22
Feb

Survey: Americans appreciate the arts

By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Recently Americans for the Arts conducted a public opinion poll which provides an in-depth look at perceptions and attitudes about the arts in our country.

One of the most significant findings came in the question asking if people agree with the statement “Art institutions add value to our communities.” The survey showed 87% agree the arts are important to the quality of life, and 83% agree they are important to local businesses and the economy. And South Dakota proves those statistics.

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Wed
22
Feb

Considering marijuana

By Richard P. Holm, MD

Just about 4000 years ago, Chinese writings explained the medicinal powers of what is now called marijuana or cannabis, describing its power to help arthritis, gout, malaria, nausea, and psychological stress, along with its intoxicating/recreational properties. The use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes eventually spread to India and then Persia, often used by various cultures during religious ceremonies. From there cannabis spread to Europe about the time of the middle ages.

Wed
15
Feb

Our gun laws are effective, appropriate and minimal

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard 

Gun control measures have been gaining ground in some places around the nation in recent years. In the more urban areas of the country and along the coasts, people are more wary, and perhaps fearful, of guns. That may be why some states pass very restrictive gun laws. For instance, in New Jersey a citizen cannot even own a handgun, rifle or shotgun without a permit or Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. In some states, obtaining a concealed carry permit can take months. In Maryland and California, an individual has to prove a need to be granted a concealed carry permit.

South Dakota is a state that respects the Second Amendment. A great many of our citizens own pistols, rifles and shotguns. Here, guns are as common as saddles and pickups. Many of us grew up hunting or on farms or ranches where we needed to be able to handle a gun. Most importantly, we understand that law-abiding individuals should be able to defend themselves.

Wed
15
Feb

You can overcome the anxiety clutter brings

By Amanda Fanger 

Since I was young, I’ve loved to read. At home I have a six-foot wide, floor-to-ceiling shelf overflowing with books. As an adult, however, reading for pleasure has become one more thing vying for my time and it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

In step audio books.

A few years ago, I discovered Overdrive — the electronic book collection available for free from the state library through the local library. Here, you can check out digital books as well as audio books. If you like ebooks or listening to audio books, definitely check out Overdrive by asking at your local library. I like audio books so well because I can listen while doing chores or traveling.

Wed
08
Feb

Pursuing Constitutional reforms

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Being governor is a serious responsibility, and I’ve never taken it lightly. Sometimes, it means making a difficult decision that is necessary, but unpopular to some.

In my first year in office, our state faced a large budget deficit. There was not an easy or popular solution. As a new governor, I proposed ten percent cuts to eliminate the deficit. Many legislators supported me in making that tough decision. There were also those who criticized aspects of the plan, without proposing a workable alternative. That is the luxury of being in opposition – one can rely on the majority to make the difficult decisions.

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