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Bison on way to becoming official South Dakota mascot

PIERRE (AP) -- South Dakota has a state bread, state soil, state sport and even state grass. Soon, it could also have a state mascot in the bison.

Republican Sen. Tom Nelson of Lead is sponsoring a bill that aims to elevate the bison's status. The bill does not strip coyotes of their state animal title.

Nelson says that bison play a big role in the state. He cites South Dakota's annual Buffalo Roundup each fall, when at least 1,000 bison get brought into corrals in Custer, and the animal's significance to Native Americans.

At a hearing Wednesday, a Senate committee passed the bill 9-0. The full Senate will decide the bill's future during a floor vote Monday.