South Dakota News

Thousands of SD residents could lose insurance subsidies
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Thousands of South Dakota residents are among those who obtained financial assistance to pay for health insurance through the nation's health overhaul and could be affected by the latest legal challenge to the law. The U.S. Supreme Court met Wednesday to determine whether residents of South Dakota and about three dozen other states are eligible for tax subsidies to cut the cost of insurance premiums. More than 21,000 South Dakota consumers signed up for coverage through the federal online marketplace during the latest enrollment period, and the court's decision could affect 88 percent them. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that more than 18,000 South Dakota residents qualified for a federal subsidy that on average covers about $234 of their monthly premiums.

2 taken to hospital after fire at Sioux Falls apartments
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two people have been taken to a hospital after a fire at a Sioux Falls apartment building. The blaze at the three-story Taylors Place Apartments was reported about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. Firefighters evacuated the building and quickly brought the fire under control. Battalion Chief Mark Bukovich tells the Argus Leader that the two people taken to the hospital are believed to have injuries that are not life-threatening. Residents from four apartments have been displaced. They're getting help from the Red Cross. There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.

Rapid City police identify body of man found in city park
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Police in Rapid City have identified the man whose body was found in a city park. Officers found the body of 55-year-old Webster Allen Twohawk, of Rapid City, on Tuesday. An autopsy has been conducted but no clear preliminary cause of death has been identified. The Rapid City Police Department says a joint investigation it conducted with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office turned up no signs of foul play. Authorities are awaiting further test results to determine how Twohawk died.

Child abuse law changes approved, continued study defeated
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A state House committee has approved a measure aimed at making child sexual abuse reporting clearer but has defeated a plan to authorize more time to study how to address the issue in South Dakota. The House State Affairs Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a plan that would require a mandatory reporter who first hears a child's account of abuse to be available when it's reported. But the panel voted 10-2 against a proposal to allow the Jolene's Law Task Force to continue working this year. The panel is named after Jolene Loetscher, of Sioux Falls, who was a victim of sexual abuse as a teenager and has talked publicly about her story. Loetscher says the vote is heartbreaking because there's "so much more we need to do."

Panel approves plan for autism therapy insurance coverage
Panel approves plan for autism therapy insurance coverage PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Parents of children with autism have successfully broadened a bill that would help ensure insurance coverage for a key type of Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment. The House State Affairs Committee unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve the measure, which only applies to certain insurance plans. But lawmakers warned the broader provisions that the committee voted into the bill could endanger its final passage. The changes increase the payments available for younger children by thousands of dollars and expand coverage to include more therapists. Representatives from insurance companies have supported the original bill, but have pushed back against the expanded version. Crystal Reuter's 6-year-old daughter has received the treatment for several years. Reuter, of Sioux Falls, says she's glad the changes passed because the bill "needed a little bit more."

Committee approves repeal of state's so-called 'Daschle law'
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A legislative panel has approved a measure to change the state's so-called "Daschle law" that bars a presidential candidate from seeking another office on the same South Dakota ballot. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 6-2 Wednesday for a proposal to strip away the prohibition. The original Republican-backed measure that passed in 2002 faced criticism from Democrats for targeting then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who was considered a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2004. State Senate Majority Leader Tim Rave says the 2002 law "was probably not the right policy choice." Rave says the plan isn't aimed at South Dakota's current congressional delegation. Democratic Sen. Bernie Hunhoff opposes the measure because he says Republicans are pushing it simply because they have the "raw power" to do so.

Panel approves measure to make Oglala Lakota County official
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A legislative panel has passed a resolution to change the name of Shannon County to Oglala (OHG'-lah-luh) Lakota County after voters overwhelmingly approved the new name in the November election. The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to send the resolution to the chamber's floor. Democratic Representative Kevin Killer of Pine Ridge says his measure is part of the process to make official the name change, which roughly 80 percent of the county's voters approved. Democratic Senator Jim Bradford of Pine Ridge says the new name is more fitting. A measure to make it less cumbersome to enact a county name change once voters have approved it is moving through the Legislature. The new process wouldn't require lawmakers to pass a resolution to make the change official.

Sioux Falls Police find 2.5 pounds of drugs after argument
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls police say a public argument over a drug debt that ended with gunshots led officers to find nearly 2.5 pounds of drugs. Authorities say they found they found almost two pounds of suspected synthetic marijuana, about half a pound of marijuana and $4,000 in cash in 19-year-old Vernon Hofer's apartment. Police spokesman Sam Clemens says a detective searched Hofer's apartment after receiving reports that he and 18-year-old Deonte Thornton were fighting over a drug debt in the middle of a street on Tuesday. Thornton also took out a gun and fired it twice into the air. Hofer is facing six drug-related charges. Thornton was charged with two counts, including possession of a stolen firearm. Police also found 19-year-old Shelby Toderan in Hofer's apartment. She's facing five drug-related charges.

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Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

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