PIERRE — As feuds in the Legislature go, there might be none deeper these days than between Sen. Deb Peters and Sen. Stace Nelson over the GEAR UP scandal. Their dispute reached a strange low last Monday. Peters invoked a legislative joint rule to stop, specifically, SC 28: Nelson's commemoration recognizing investigative work of KELO television reporter Angela Kennecke. Peters, R-Hartford, cited 6H-4:
PIERRE — A fresh deal between opposing sides could mean another proposed constitutional amendment on victim's rights would be on South Dakota's election ballot. The two questions now are whether the Legislature sends a revised version of Marsy's Law back to voters for another decision and when those votes would be cast. The backers of Marsy's Law and Rep. Mark Mickelson, who had wanted to repeal it altogether, seemed to prefer the June primary elections.
PIERRE — Video lottery can't be shut down in South Dakota, a panel of state lawmakers decided Thursday. State government and hundreds of businesses depend on the roughly $200 million gamblers lose each year, witnesses testified. The Legislature emphasizes personal freedom, several members of the House Appropriations Committee said. That holds true for players and establishments, according to Rep. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton. "They make a free decision whether they want to participate in gambling," Hunhoff said.
PIERRE — Experimental legislation to reduce speed limits during adverse conditions on two stretches of South Dakota's interstate highways hit a dead end Wednesday. HB 1008 lost in the state Senate. The vote was nine yes and 25 no. The defeat came after an amendment failed on a 17-17 tie. Senate Republican Leader Blake Curd, of Sioux Falls, had wanted to require a state report on results of the tests. Curd held the gavel as presiding officer at the time. "I already voted," he told the 33 other senators.
PIERRE — Should Aug. 27 be a state working holiday in honor of Peter Norbeck? The state Senate voted 31-3 Wednesday. SB 204 heads to the House of Representatives. A working holiday means people would still go about their normal business. South Dakota already has at least four. One is Joe Foss Day, on April 17, honoring the former governor and World War II fighter pilot. Sen. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, said the only costs for Peter Norbeck Day would be ink and paper to advertise it in tourist brochures.
PIERRE — State lawmakers killed bills Wednesday to expand the time and tighten the process South Dakota utility regulators use to reach a decision on a wind energy permit. The House Commerce and Energy Committee rejected a proposal from Rep. Jason Kettwig, R-Milbank, to narrow qualifications to be a party in permitting. The vote was 11-0 to table HB 1164. Tabling means the bill can be resurrected with a majority vote.
PIERRE — Laws the South Dakota Legislature passed last year regulating public recreational uses of non-meandered waters that lay over privately owned lands should continue until July 1, 2021, the state Senate decided Tuesday. Senators voted 26-9 for the extension. The measure, SB 24, now goes to the House of Representatives. Without an extension, the laws expire this year on June 30. One of the yeses came from Sen. Jeff Partridge, R-Rapid City. When the Legislature met June 12 for the special session, Partridge insisted on the June 30, 2018, expiration.
PIERRE — More agricultural properties could be eligible for buffer strip tax breaks, and more farmers could be eligible for seats on the important South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission, under changes a panel of the Legislature recommended Tuesday. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 9-0 for each proposal and placed them on the Senate consent schedule for action Wednesday afternoon.
PIERRE — State lawmakers who favor outlawing most abortions in South Dakota gained another small step Tuesday. The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 9-2 to endorse a measure that repeatedly criticizes Planned Parenthood. It also would establish further requirements for pregnant women to receive counseling before proceeding to abortions. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls is the only known general provider of abortions in South Dakota. SB 110 faces a final vote in the House of Representatives, possibly as early as Wednesday.
PIERRE — Rep. Drew Dennert felt the wrath of the South Dakota Republican Party's leadership Monday. An email sent in the morning led to death in the afternoon. The House of Representatives rejected his proposal to change how South Dakota primary elections run. The measure failed on a vote of 29 yes and 37 no. A majority of 36 was needed in the 70-seat chamber. Dennert, R-Aberdeen, wanted to allow a voter registered independent or no-party to participate in a party primary. His system would have let the voter designate the primary or stay neutral.