PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Corrections plans to operate its own commissary for the state’s prisoners.

The South Dakota Corrections Commission on Monday voted to issue a request for proposals from suppliers.

The department currently has a three-year contract with Summit Food Service to supply and manage the commissary.

“The contract with Summit has a termination clause that allows either party to terminate the contract upon 30 days written notice,” DOC spokesman Michael Winder said.

DOC finance director Brittni Skipper said a new contract could be in place by early 2024.

She said that, under the plan, state management could lead to more control over the products offered and, by bringing the role back inside DOC, the commissary workforce that now employs 10 offenders could be expanded to as many as 25.

DOC currently receives a 2.33% commission on product offerings. Skipper said that could be raised to 5% by converting to DOC management, without increasing costs to offenders.

CALL TO ORDER: The South Dakota Unified Judicial System on Monday released its annual report.

The 65 pages are double the number from previous years. Among the new information are comparisons of workload among the seven circuits and breakdowns of each circuit’s trial data.

South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven Jensen set the tone in his opening message, “While this Annual Report distills 12 months of court activity into pages of tables and graphs, it is not done so without a recognition as to what this report truly represents. Each number signifies a person and how the South Dakota court system directly impacted that person’s life.”

LOOKING AHEAD: The governor’s awards for human services will be presented during an 11 a.m. CT ceremony October 30 in the Capitol rotunda. The 2023 recipients include:

Patty Kuglitsch, Sioux Falls – Outstanding Individual with a Disability;

Carissa Brandt, Pierre – Outstanding Employee with a Disability;

Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack, Sioux Falls – Outstanding Private Employer (Small Employer);

AMCON Distributing Company, Rapid City – Outstanding Private Employer (Large Employer);

City of Rapid City, Rapid City – Outstanding Public Employer;

Ashley Halvorson, Beresford – Outstanding Transition Services; and

Sandy Hook, Disability Rights South Dakota, Pierre – Distinguished Service.

SECOND CAREER: Last week South Dakota 911 Coordination Council members met the state’s new 911 administrator, Jason Husby of Vermillion. Husby, who retired in June 2022 as a major for the South Dakota Highway Patrol, succeeds Maria King, who moved to the private sector.

He said he became familiar with contracting while in his last post overseeing administration and assisting Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller. Husby’s earlier SDHP roles included state radio administrator and Sioux Falls district commander. “It’s a different aspect of public safety,” Husby said about the 911 position. “I recognize that. I have a lot to learn there.”

ANOTHER ROUND: The ACLU of South Dakota is formally suggesting in a new report that the United Nations Human Rights Committee should make five recommendations regarding the Black Hills of South Dakota, including that the U.S. government “should permanently withdraw” the area “from all future mining and recognize its status as an Indigenous sacred site.”

The report states, “There are presently 248,000 acres of active mining claims in the Black Hills, representing a sharp increase from 76,700 acres since April 2022. Because the entire Black Hills are illegally occupied treaty lands, all claims to mining rights anywhere in this region are not and never were legitimate. The withdrawal of the Rapid Creek Watershed and entirety of the Black Hills from all future mining, as requested by the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance1 should be approved to give effect and to enforce the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.”

FACES AND PLACES: The governor has made some new appointments to state boards and commissions.

Michael Williams of Mina to the Workers’ Compensation Council, succeeding Brooke Bohnenkamp.

Teresa Campbell of Pierre to the state Interagency Coordinating Council, succeeding Valerie Kelly.

Forrest Olson of Sioux Falls to the Health and Educational Facilities Authority, succeeding Roberta Ambur.

Erika Tordsen of Sioux Falls to the Educational Telecommunications Board, succeeding Tyler Tordsen.

Mary Fleury of Belle Fourche, Julie Tipton of Rapid City and Jessica Vogel of Aberdeen to the Children With Disabilities Panel, succeeding Donna Johnson, Erin Schons and Kim Wadsworth.

Samuel Greear of Whitewood to the Recreational Trails Program Board, succeeding DeEtte Goss.

Samantha Hynes of Pierre, Tonia Kostal of Tyndall and Melanie Westin of Sioux Falls to the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, succeeding Joan Adam, Erica Gloor and Diane Flahavan Neu.

Kendra Gottsleben of Sioux Falls and Victoria Steffes of Mitchell to the Independent Living Council, succeeding Steven Steward and Roger Bowie.

George Seamon Jr. of Pierre to the Blind and Visually Impaired Service Board, succeeding Kate Kosior.

Recent reappointments include:

Angie Dammer of Sioux Falls, Matthew Glanzer of Sioux Falls, Bryan Harberts of Sioux Falls and Penny Kelley of Pierre to the Behavioral Health Council.

Anthony Franken of Vermillion to the Human Rights Commission.

Cindy Moit of Fort Pierre to the Independent Living Council.

Larry Tidemann of Brookings to Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.

Scott Stern of Sioux Falls to the Workers’ Compensation Council.

Have a news item or story tip about South Dakota state government and politics? You can reach KELOLAND News reporter Bob Mercer in the Pierre bureau at bmercer@keloland.com or by calling 605-280-7580 or through a direct-message on X (formerly Twitter) to @pierremercer.