OUR VIEW: Governor should sign bill to aid rural lawyersThis proposal helps to assure that lawyers — whose services are so vital — are available to small-town South Dakota residents.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Good news comes from the state Legislature. A proposal to subsidize rural lawyers has been revived after an earlier version was rejected.
This week, the state Senate voted 27-6 to revive the idea, and the House also approved it 59-9. The bill was proposed by Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell. The new version combines funding from various sources to provide a subsidy for lawyers who agree to practice for five years in counties with fewer than 10,000 residents.
The payment would be 90 percent of the amount of tuition in fees in effect July 1 at the University of South Dakota law school. The county would pay 35 percent, the State Bar 15 percent and the Unified Judicial System 50 percent.
There also would be a maximum number of young lawyers in the program, at 16.
We like this proposal, since it helps to assure that lawyers — whose services are so vital — are available to small-town South Dakota residents.
Earlier this year, The Daily Republic reported that 65 percent of the state’s lawyers work in Minnehaha, Pennington and Brown counties. That leaves a substantial void for the other 63 counties in the state.
We don’t see the situation improving, either.
Subsidizing lawyers in small, rural counties is a good idea. We hope the governor — where this proposal now heads — will strongly consider signing it.