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PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers are rushing to act on bills ranging from ditching the permit requirement for concealed pistols to allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Thursday is the final day of the 2017 legislative session to pass bills out of their chamber of origin. The House and Senate may have to work late to get through bills remaining to be decided.
PIERRE (AP) — Same-sex couples and single parents in South Dakota could face obstacles if they want to adopt from religious child placement agencies under a bill that passed the state Senate.
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A bill that aims to restrict the flow of out-of-state money into South Dakota ballot question campaigns has passed through the state House. Members voted 50-18 Wednesday to send the bill to the Senate. It would limit ballot question campaigns to $100,000 in out-of-state contributions per general election cycle. Sponsor Rep. Spencer Gosch, a Republican, says the ballot measure system should work for the people of South Dakota, not out-of-state activists. Gov. Dennis Daugaard's office has testified in favor of the bill.
PIERRE (AP) — A government watchdog board would help investigate statewide officeholders and executive branch employees in South Dakota under a bill endorsed by a legislative panel on Wednesday. The move comes after Republican lawmakers repealed a voter-imposed government ethics overhaul that included an ethics commission. The proposed State Government Accountability Board, which would be attached to the attorney general's office, would review and investigate allegations including bribery and theft of public funds.
PIERRE (AP) — Yankton lawyer Jason Ravnsborg says he plans to seek the Republican nomination for attorney general of South Dakota. Ravnsborg made his announcement at the Hughes County Lincoln Day Dinner on Tuesday night. The graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law is a partner in a Yankton law firm and a deputy state's attorney in Union County. Ravnsborg also is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and assumes command of the 394th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in April.
PIERRE (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard's bill to make it clear that the governor's emergency response powers apply to potentially destructive protests passed its first legislative test Wednesday over the objections of Democratic lawmakers and tribal officials. A Senate panel voted 6-3 to advance the public safety bill, which the administration says is based on lessons North Dakota officials learned from large demonstrations over the Dakota Access pipeline. The bill would create new trespassing penalties and make it a crime to obstruct highways.
HAYWARD (AP) — A wildfire that threatened up to 30 homes in western South Dakota has been contained and evacuation orders have been lifted. Incident Commander Ray Bubb declared the fire 100 percent contained Wednesday morning. Two engines and two crews were left in the area to finish mopping up the fire that started Tuesday and had spread to over 33 acres of mostly private land near Hayward.
PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have allowed science teachers to discuss strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary and climate change theories. The House Education Committee Wednesday defeated a do pass vote and approved sending the bill to the 41st day, effectively killing the proposal. The hearing lasted for over an hour as people against the bill testified it would allow teachers to instruct theories not approved by school boards and not based in science.
REDFIELD (AP) — Authorities say a train derailed in northeastern South Dakota, causing road closures in the area. The train was carrying grain through Redfield when it derailed early Wednesday morning. Officials say they don't know how many railcars derailed. Spink County Sheriff Kevin Schurch says a broken track reportedly caused the derailment. The Aberdeen News reports that most streets that cross over the tracks were still closed midmorning. U.S. Highway 212 and U.S. Highway 281 were temporarily closed but reopened to traffic around 7 a.m.
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — The last people remaining at a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp prayed and set fire to a handful of wooden structures on Wednesday, hours ahead of a deadline set by the Army Corps of Engineers to close the camp. Some of the praying protesters said burning the structures — which appeared to include a yurt and a teepee — was part of the ceremony of leaving. As heavy rain turned to snow, some said they expected no trouble during the eviction, despite a heavy law enforcement presence.