PIERRE — South Dakota could soon have a freedom of breastfeeding law. The measure won final legislative approval Wednesday from the state House of Representatives. It allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location where they are allowed to be. It also prohibits municipalities from banning breastfeeding in public places. Sen. Phil Jensen, R-Rapid City, is prime sponsor of SB 77. The lead House sponsor is Rep. Lynne DiSanto, R-Rapid City.
The state House of Representatives voted 68-0 Wednesday to require school districts to provide the public with monthly information about the amounts of money held in reserve in four accounts. The legislation calls for the balances at the end of each month to be recorded for the general fund, capital outlay fund, pension fund and special education fund. The information would be presented in the annual report that already is required from each district in August each year. "I highly support this bill and it's unfortunate it's taken this long to get it," Rep. Dick Werner, R-Huron, said. Rep.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives rejected an attempt Wednesday to repeal the 3 percent limit on the annual growth of property tax revenue for county, city and township governments. The vote on HB 1218 was 23 yes and 45 no. The measure's prime sponsor, Rep. Dennis Feickert, D-Aberdeen, said counties have been on a downward spiral since the limit was approved by the Legislature in 1995. "Maybe, just maybe, it's time to do something," Feickert said. The limit was passed as part of what became a 30 percent reduction in local property taxes from their 1994 levels. Rep.
PIERRE -- The recent attempt by some Republican legislators to increase the number of signatures needed on petitions for referrals and initiatives would have changed South Dakota's original law from 1899. The Legislature expressly had authority, from the 1898 state constitutional amendment creating the referendum and initiative, to define the signatures needed. The constitutional amendment set the threshold at no less than 5 percent of qualified electors but didn't define qualified electors. Instead, the amendment's final sentence -- still found in the Article III, Section 1 of the constitu
PIERRE — Republicans decisively won legislative elections last November. Now comes their political reward. They are decisively exerting their will, offering changes in South Dakota's election laws, to further hamper Democrats. On Wednesday afternoon, Republican senators unanimously added rigid restrictions to SB 69 that will make candidate withdrawals from ballots more difficult. Democrats have frequently used placeholder candidates for legislative seats. The common practice has been that the placeholders drop out. Sometimes there are replacements.
PIERRE — South Dakota members of the National Guard and Reserve would become classified as veterans in state law under a proposal that cleared its first legislative test Friday. The House State Affairs Committee voted 6-3 to recommend House Bill 1179 pass. It could face debate in the full House of Representatives as early as Monday afternoon. Approximately 75,000 South Dakotans already have veteran status because they served in active deployment. The legislation would open the way for about 25,000 guardsmen and reserve members who don't currently qualify. Two members of Gov.
PIERRE — In a move that might benefit local taxpayers and people who fish and hunt, township boards would get more authority over townships roads under two proposals that moved forward Thursday in the Legislature. The boards would be allowed to set speed limits — that power currently rests with county commissions — and to designate roads as no-maintenance rather than vacate them. The House Local Government Committee recommended both measures pass and sent them to the full House of Representatives. The speed-limit legislation, House Bill 1122, was put on the House consent c
PIERRE — A Democratic proposal to restore the South Dakota Ethics Commission died on a vote along party lines Wednesday in the South Dakota House of Representatives. House members killed the resolution 53-16. Democrats wanted the Legislature's Executive Board to work with the executive and judicial branches of state government in developing a plan to revive the commission. The resolution called for a proposal to be brought before the Legislature for consideration in the 2016 session. Only Democrats signed as cosponsors of the ethics resolution brought by Rep.
The State Ethics Commission was created by the Legislature in 1975. The legislation's number, Senate Bill 1, signaled its political significance that year. The prime sponsor was Sen.
PIERRE -- A state legislator who is a retired economics and business professor wants the Legislature to realign South Dakota's sales tax grid. Rep. Ray Ring, D-Vermillion, proposes taking the sales tax off food and increasing the sales tax on other goods and services to 4.35 percent from the current 4 percent. House Bill 1193 has only Democratic co-sponsors. It is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the House Taxation Committee that is chaired by Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown.