South Dakota Promotes Online Drilling and Geological Records
South Dakota State Geologist Derric Iles recently announced the state’s expanded effort to attract companies interested in exploring for oil and gas, The Associated Press reported. Iles discussed the state’s work to boost interest in exploration within South Dakota during the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ annual conference in March.
The department recently began putting state drilling and geological records on the Internet. This process will allow companies interested in the exploration of oil and gas to efficiently search scanned images of permits, drilling records and maps of underground rock formations.
Many of South Dakota’s neighboring states, including North Dakota, have seen a large boost in oil and gas production. Iles said while neighboring states have put their own information on the Web, his state’s efforts are a solo undertaking.
“We are trying to be better than the other states because this is a promotion effort. We’re trying to get people to take a second look at South Dakota,” Iles said at the conference.
The development of the website is an ongoing process and includes an interactive map on which people can search particular areas and gather information on wells that have been drilled in the past. According to The Associated Press, information is available on nearly 100,000 holes drilled across the state. That number includes 1,900 oil and gas holes.
Future plans for the website include the addition of production information on every oil and gas well in the state and on the leasing status of School and Public Land sites.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an act in March to ensure access for all children to full-day kindergarten, The Indianapolis Star reported. House Enrolled Act 1376 will provide $80 million so children may attend full-day kindergarten without any additional cost to families. According to Daniels, only 14 percent of the state’s eligible children attended full-day kindergarten in 2006 because of the additional costs associated with the programs.
Bullying Task Force
Minnesota’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying held its inaugural meeting in March. The task force will have four months to examine bullying within the state school systems and come up with new policies to curb the problems, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Minnesota’s current state bullying law leaves policies up to each individual school system and is only 37 words—one of the shortest such laws in the nation.
The Kansas House passed a bill in March to help close the long-term funding gap facing the state’s pension system, The Associated Press reported. Revenue from state-owned casinos would go into the system to lessen the projected $8.3 billion gap between revenues and retirement benefits promised to teachers and state government workers through 2033. The measure also proposes state workers hired after 2013 to choose between two new pension plans.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board received a federal grant in March to aid in the development of an online system to simplify overseas voting. According to The Badger Herald, the $1.9 million grant will be used to create an online system that would allow military and overseas voters to immediately access an online ballot without first having to wait for an election official’s response.
Recent analysis released by Arizona State University in March ranked North Dakota as the top state for job growth. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the number of new jobs for the state increased by 6.3 percent in January 2012 compared to January 2011, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The university’s analysis noted that states atop the list were those rich in natural resources at a time when energy prices are high.