LRC now has full directory for all staff

The South Dakota Legislature has added a feature to its website at sdlegislature.gov. It is a staff directory for the Legislative Research Council. For each staffer there is a photo, an email address and a description of the person’s roles.

To reach the listing, scroll to the bottom of the LRC site’s main page and click on the “LRC Staff” link. That takes you to a page with many options. Choose the “Staff Directory” link that tops the list on the left side.

LRC deputy director Sue Cichos showed the site Monday to the Legislature’s Executive Board.

“This is really good stuff,” Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said. He is chairman for the Executive Board that oversees lawmakers and staff during the months outside the annual legislative session.

There’s also a link for the traditional organizational chart.

Tariffs panel set for Thursday

The South Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity hosts a forum on the effects of tariffs on trade Thursday evening in Sioux Falls.

The 6 p.m. CT panel at Hilton Garden Inn Downtown (201 E. Eighth Street) features South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jason Ball, AFP’s state director Don Haggar and South Dakota State University economic professor Joseph Santos.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. CT.

What Utica Grain plans to fix

Here’s the list of changes that Utica Grain Inc. promised the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on Friday would be made at its sites in Tabor, Meckling, Irene and Utica.

The commission decided Friday at a special meeting to defer a decision until the next regular meeting Sept. 4 whether to suspend the company’s grain-buyer license.

The company doesn’t meet a state law requiring a $100,000 cushion.

Utica Grain has submitted weekly financial-condition reports to the commission’s grain-warehouse division since May 2014.

It is currently the only state license-holder under that requirement.

Three Democrats now top Trump in national survey

The Morning Consult / Politico national survey released this morning took a look at Democratic possible challengers to Republican President Donald Trump. Three Democrats tested in the survey had a stronger showing than Trump in a potential 2020 showdown.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont carried 44 percent to Trump’s 32 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden of Pennsylvania had 43 percent to Trump’s 31 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts showed 34 percent to Trump’s 31 percent.

Other Democrats in the survey trailed Trump. Performing best among that group was Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who had 27 percent to Trump’s 29 percent.

The survey of 1,974 registered voters nationwide was conducted Aug. 16-18, before Tuesday’s news that a jury found Paul Manafort guilty and Michael Cohen agreed to plead guilty on various counts.

Manafort was one of Trump’s 2016 campaign managers. Cohen was a longtime personal lawyer to Trump.

Wheat harvests are nearly done

Winter wheat harvest is complete, while spring wheat harvest was ahead of last year and ahead of the five-year average for the state, according to the South Dakota Wheat Commission’s report today.

The spring wheat harvest was 91 percent complete as of Monday, according to the commission. For a similar point last year, spring wheat harvest was at 87 percent. The five-year average was 70 percent.

How free is South Dakota?

The Cato Institute ranked North Dakota sixth and South Dakota eighth for individual freedom in its Freedom in the 50 States report.

Topping the list was Florida. Others in the front 10 were New Hampshire, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, Tennessee, Arizona and Kansas.

In the bottom 10 were New Mexico, Rhode Island, Delaware, Oregon, Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, California, Hawaii and New York.

Among South Dakota’s neighbors, Montana ranked 16, Nebraska 26, Iowa 27, Minnesota 37 and Wyoming 38.

Another small step for government transparency

The Daugaard administration made another gain in its continued effort for greater transparency by state government’s executive branch.

The latest step is adding to the state boards and commissions site the list of documents received each month by the state Board of Finance.

The board meets today. Its functions include considering whether to allow moving allowances as well as travel expenses that fall outside standard daily reimbursements. The members also set the state per-diem rates for meals and lodging.

The main site is https://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/. The Board of Finance site on it is here.

Noem on the political gender gap

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem appeared Sunday morning as the second guest on CBS television’s Face The Nation program.

She is the Republican nominee in the November election for governor of South Dakota, State Senate leader Billie Sutton is the Democratic nominee.

Noem said women tend to want to know they will be supported as candidates for elected office while men tend to assume they can be elected.

As an example, she mentioned that Republican male members of the U.S. House sent text messages seeking her support after a leadership vacancy emerged.

Noem would be the first woman to be elected governor in South Dakota.

Analyst favors Republican in governor’s race

Here are the latest ratings on governor elections in our region from Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics:

South Dakota — Likely Republican (The Republican nominee is U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem. The Democratic nominee is state Senate minority leader Billie Sutton.)

Wyoming — Safe Republican.

Nebraska — Safe Republican.

Iowa — Tossup.

Minnesota — Leans Democratic.

North Dakota, Montana — No election.

Governor appoints several people to key spots

Gov. Dennis Daugaard continued making a flurry of appointments to state boards and commissions in recent weeks as his administration headed into its final months in office.

Liza Clark of Pierre received two new posts. The state commissioner of finance and management succeeds Lt. Gov. Matt Michels in one of the governor-appointed seats on the South Dakota Retirement System trustees. She also succeeds Patrick Weber, a former aide to the governor, on the School Finance Accountability Board.

Pam Roberts of Pierre, a long-time Cabinet member during the Janklow, Rounds and Daugaard administrations, succeeds Don Kattke of Sioux Falls on the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council. Her resume includes time as state secretary of labor. He oversaw the state Division of Unemployment Insurance prior to his October 2011 appointment to the council. She’s also a member of the Board of Regents that oversees South Dakota’s public universities and special schools.

Carol Lawhun of Rapid City succeeds Matthew Krogman of Brookings on the Real Estate Commission. Krogman had been a member since April 2012.

Kelly Glodt, superintendent for the Pierre school district, succeeds former state Education Secretary Don Kirkegaard on the Teacher Compensation Review Board.

Sherry Johnson of Sisseton succeeds Curt Mortenson of Fort Pierre on the Hagen-Harvey Memorial Scholarship Board. Mortenson had been a board member since July 2013.

Jamie White of Huron succeeds Richard Shelton of Huron on the State Fair Commission. Shelton had served since May 2006.