PIERRE — Local business improvement districts in South Dakota could levy a lodging room tax up to 3 percent room prices under a proposal that began moving Tuesday through the Legislature. The 3 percent would be an alternative to the $2 maximum fee that already is permitted. "I think this is good policy," Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, said. He is prime sponsor of the measure, HB 1085. Lust said he thought the percentage should have been used from the start. He called the $2 fee "inherently unfair" because it is proportionately much higher for lower-priced rooms.
PIERRE — South Dakota judges would be allowed to set longer probation periods for juvenile offenders under legislation offered by two Brown County lawmakers. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed SB 164 as several influential members of the panel spoke against the 2015 juvenile justice reforms that originally set the probation periods. The 2015 law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2016, set maximums of four months for juvenile probation, eight months for intensive juvenile probation and 12 months total for all probation.
PIERRE — Child support and child custody are splitting the Legislature this year. At odds are lawmakers who want to adjust the child-support payment schedule for the first time since 2009 and lawmakers who want joint custody to become the presumed arrangement in divorce cases. Each side seems to have enough votes to block the other's legislation. The latest incident came Tuesday. A Senate panel decided Tuesday to delay its decision on whether to endorse changes in the child-support payment schedule.
PIERRE — Agriculture landowners in South Dakota would be eligible for a 40 percent reduction in their property taxes on buffer strips along lakes, rivers and streams under a measure debated Monday in the state Senate. However Senate Republican leader Blake Curd, of Sioux Falls, had debate suspended until Wednesday to consider an amendment about how frequently landowners should have to file for the tax break. Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered the legislation. Daugaard vetoed the same concept in legislation brought last year by then-Sen. Jim Peterson, D-Revillo.
PIERRE — A state law that requires the state Department of Corrections to report complaints about treatment of juveniles should be expanded to cover private facilities used by the department, the state Senate decided Monday. The legislation calls for the department to compile confidential reports of all allegations of abuse and neglect and file twice per year to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. "This is just putting into code, while we're talking about juvenile corrections, a current practice," Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, said.
PIERRE — For home-school students wanting to participate in extracurricular activities in the local school, the decision should remain with the local school district, a South Dakota legislative panel decided Monday. The House Education Committee voted 10-5 to reject legislation that would have greatly broadened the ability of home-school student to play sports or take part in music, debate or other competitive school events.
PIERRE — The latest numbers show $58.6 million more is needed to build the new animal disease research diagnostic laboratory at South Dakota State University. The governor's proposal calls for $46.2 million to come from the agriculture sector. He would issue bonds and repay them over 25 years. The payments would be about $3 million annually, collected through higher fees on feed, veterinary inspections, animal remedies, poultry health products and raw milk. The Senate Appropriations Committee introduced the legislation Thursday on behalf of Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
PIERRE — State senators unanimously decided Friday to require that the name and telephone number of an organization fighting to end sex trafficking be given in writing to any woman seeking an abortion in South Dakota. The state Department of Health would prepare and provide the notice. It would state: "If someone is sexually abusing you or causing you to exchange sex for something of value, and you want help, call 911, or the telephone number provided on this notice."
PIERRE — The Legislature is one round of voting away from updating state laws regarding South Dakota's victim-notification system. State Attorney General Marty Jackley told the House Judiciary Committee on Friday that SB 26 would streamline the process for victims registering to receive messages about offenders. The system is known as SAVIN. That's short for statewide automated victim information and notification.
PIERRE — Funeral homes shouldn't be allowed to be at the head of the line for payment from deceased persons who have little money or items of value, a panel in the South Dakota Legislature decided Friday. The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-1 to kill HB 1102 even though it could have saved money for taxpayers in some cases. Funeral homes can seek payment for services from the county government if the deceased person was indigent.