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SD lawmakers say no to buffalo mascot bill

PIERRE -- The buffalo bill was shot down Friday morning at the Legislature.

No one testified against it, but the House of Representatives committee on state affairs, nonetheless, set aside legislation that would have designated the American bison as South Dakota's state mascot.

Leading the 7-5 vote to kill Senate Bill 114 was Rep. Chuck Turbiville, R-Deadwood. The prime sponsor of the legislation, Senate Bill 114, was Sen. Tom Nelson, R-Lead.

South Dakota already has the coyote as the state animal. "It's best to not confuse the issue. We will still be able to use the bison for marketing throughout the state," Turbiville said.

The Senate previously approved the legislation.

"The buffalo is a noble, majestic and marketable symbol," Nelson said. He acknowledged it is "a piece of feel-good legislation."

House Republican Leader David Lust, of Rapid City, said he was struggling to discern the distinction between a state animal and a state mascot.

Nelson replied that a mascot is "a little more warm and fuzzy."

Rep. Charles Hoffman, R-Eureka, defended the idea. "What hurt, what negative aspects can come?"

Rep Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City, applauded Nelson's presentation and said it was so good he almost changed his vote to support it.