Monthly Archives: March 2018

Thune chaired hearing on infrastructure

Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune, as the Senate Commerce Committee chairman, presided at a congressional hearing last week that was a rarity because five federal Cabinet members testified. The topic was developing twenty-first century infrastructure, a goal that Thune said he shares with Republican President Donald Trump.

Thune noted in his latest weekly column: “While the underlying principle of keeping our nation more interconnected remains the same, the way we do it is always changing. It’s no longer just roads, bridges, and railroads that primarily define our nation’s infrastructure. For example, in rural states like ours, lack of access to reliable high-speed internet can make all the difference in the world for a family or small business.”

He added: “The president’s proposal also dedicates funding to rural community needs since toll roads and other revenue-dependent strategies for building new infrastructure in urban areas wouldn’t work in states like South Dakota.

“The Senate Finance Committee, of which I’m also a member, will be responsible for examining ways to pay for these proposals, but it will be up to other committees, like the one I chair, to first develop them, and I hope this is an area where bipartisanship is achievable.

“For example, both sides want to invest in and modernize our infrastructure. Both sides want that investment to address an array of infrastructure needs – not only roads and bridges, but also needs like broadband and waterways. Both sides want to break down barriers for innovative technologies. And both sides want to make our existing programs work better for South Dakotans and the rest of the American people. Together we can make it happen.”

Seven weight-restrictions added

An additional seven stretches of South Dakota highways become subject to seasonal weight restrictions of seven tons per axle at 3 p.m. CT Thursday, March 15, the state Department of Transportation announced Wednesday. They are:

US 16A, from Custer State Park east gate to SD 44, covering 29.6 miles;

SD 36, from US 16A to SD 79, covering nine miles;

SD 40, from Hayward to the Cheyenne River, covering 30.7 miles;

SD87, from Wind Cave National Park to US 16/385, covering 30.8 miles;

SD 71, from Nebraska state line to two miles south of the Cheyenne River, covering 21 miles;

SD 89, from US 16A to SD 87, covering six miles; and

SD 471, from Provo to US 18, covering 4.4 miles.

The restrictions remain in place until further notice.

Five weight restrictions added

The state Department of Transportation announced Wednesday morning four additional South Dakota highways will be under seasonal load restrictions. The limits take effect at 10 a.m. CT Thursday, March 15. They are:

SD 42, from US 281 east to the Davison County line, covering 5.9 miles;

SD 1804, from SD 44 to Platte Creek, covering eight miles;

SD 1806, from US 18 north to Whetstone, covering 10 miles;

SD 1806, from SD 44 to Lucas Corner, covering 5.9 miles; and

SD 251, from Nebraska state line to US 18, covering 15.8 miles.

All of those stretches will be limited to six tons per axle. The restrictions remain in effect until further notice.

Weight restrictions added for two highways

Two more stretches of South Dakota highways became subject to seasonal load limits at noon Monday, the state Department of Transportation announced.

One affects 22.7 miles of SD 26, from the intersection at SD 47 to the intersection at SD 45.

The other affects eight miles of SD 28, from the intersection at US 281 to the intersection at US 394.

Both temporary limits are six tons per axle. They remain in effect until further notice.

Withdrawals climbed a little higher in 2018 session

Members of the South Dakota Legislature withdrew 13 House bills and nine Senate bills during the 2018 session, according to statistics the Legislative Research Council compiled. The 22 were a record high.

The House bills were 1091 Ahlers; 1108 Pischke; 1144 Johns; 1182 Wismer; 1208 Pischke; 1212 Pischke; 1218 Hawley; 1247 Frye-Mueller; 1272 Brunner; 1288 Rasmussen; 1298 Gosch; 1299 Gosch; and 1310 May.

The Senate bills were 107 Jensen; 127 Wiik; 135 Nesiba; 152 Solano; 184 Kolbeck; 201 Jensen; 203 Greenfield; 206 Curd; and 208 Langer.

In the 2017 session, lawmakers withdrew 14 House bills and six Senate bills.

The Legislature started withdrawals in the 2014 session. Lawmakers withdrew two House bills and eight Senate bills in 2014.

The 2015 session saw withdrawals of eight House and 11 Senate. In 2016 withdrawals were four House and five Senate.

Rebuilding the circle

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels accepted hugs from Democratic senators Troy Heinert and Kevin Killer after receiving star quilt Friday honoring Michels for his service as a House member and as lieutenant governor.

A last roundup

House Speaker Mark Mickelson read a tribute to Rep. Jim Schaefer, R-Kennebec, Friday morning written by Schaefer’s family. Replied Schaefer, who is terms-limited in the House and is retiring: “We always say, If you’re not a bother, you’re not worth having around.” Schaefer attended what today is Northern State University in Aberdeen where he was campus president for the college Republicans.

Load restriction on SD 19

Starting today, the state Department of Transportation has placed a seasonal load restriction on SD 19, from the city of Parker to the intersection with SD 38.

The temporary weight limit is seven tons per axle on the 19.5 mile stretch.

Watch this blog for news regarding removal of the restriction.

Pardon the interruptions

This blog has gone through several changes in recent months as part of converting to a current platform.

That’s meant some of the content disappeared.

I’ll do my best to restore it in the days ahead.