PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The high school that graduated South Dakota’s current governor is getting the first money from a new state program that pays for career and technical education equipment.

The state Department of Education announced Thursday that Hamlin School District will receive $1.2 million. The Legislature approved the $5 million fund during the 2023 session.

Hamlin is building a new CTE facility and partners with Estelline and Arlington school districts on the program.

Governor Kristi Noem is a 1990 graduate of Hamlin High School.

Seventeen of South Dakota’s school districts received grants for CTE equipment last year that were funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and another federal program known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

NEW MEMBER: The Legislature’s Executive Board has appointed Brad ‘Murdoc’ Jurgensen of Rapid City to the state’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee.

He’s president at The HomeSlice Group, a marketing agency that owns radio stations and offers talent management services. He serves on the South Dakota Broadcasting Association board of directors.

He fills the patient advocate slot on the 11-member committee and replaces Brian Doherty of Fort Pierre.

Jurgensen said in his application, “While I am a medical cannabis user, I feel I can temper some of the passion inside of the industry to help both the state, help the stakeholders of the industry, and the legislative bodies trying to organize the rules and regulations surrounding it.”

Others who applied for the vacancy were Paeyton Saul of Sioux Falls, Rebecca Letsche of Madison, Joy Jones of Sioux Falls and Ali Horsted of Sioux Falls.

“We only have one patient on there and that voice is very important,” Republican Sen. Erin Tobin told the board’s other members Tuesday. She chairs the medical-marijuana panel. “This person has to be very very specific to the patient itself and not have an interest of an organization or industry.”

ADDING STAFF: The Legislature had budgeted for two new “fellows” who were to serve on the fiscal staff of the Legislative Research Council. The goal was to train them so they could become fiscal analysts. That plan has now been set aside.

Instead, the Legislature’s Executive Board this week okayed converting those to full analysts — one for fiscal and one for research — to allow for more specialization by LRC staff.

CUTTING PAY: Another change that the LRC’s interim director, John McCullough, outlined to the Executive Board was to eliminate a proposed increase for legislative salaries.

They currently are $14,778.60 apiece. They were slated to rise to $15,419 for 2024. But because they are tied by law to one-fifth of South Dakota’s average household income, the increase won’t be necessary. Instead, pay will drop to about $13,400.

FACES AND PLACES: The State Historical Society trustees are getting a new member. The governor appointed William Pearson of Deadwood. He succeeds Marshall Damgaard.

The state Wheat Commission also will have a new member. The governor appointed Jamie Johnson of Frankfort, who succeeds Julian Roseth. Reappointed to another term is Bryan Jorgensen of Ideal.

The newest member of the Independent Living Council is Joseph Vetch of Summerset. He succeeds Benedict Wolf Necklace.

Other reappointments include:

Marilyn Grossenburg of Winner to the Commission on Human Rights.

Julie Ashworth of Sioux Falls to the Educational Telecommunications Board.

Roberta “Bobbie” Bohlen of Wilmot to the Humanities 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.