PIERRE—One piece of legislation aimed at transgender people died Friday in the state House of Representatives. The one-page legislation said: "Any public body of the state or its political subdivisions that accepts any information on a South Dakota birth certificate as official and valid shall accept all information on a South Dakota birth certificate as official and valid in carrying out the public body's legal and official duties.
PIERRE—Amish families have moved into the Tripp area and a state legislator wants to better ensure safety when their horse-drawn vehicles are on highways in the dark. Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, is proposing that a flashing amber light be on the front of the vehicle and a flashing red light be on the rear. The lights would need to be visible from at least 200 feet, and would need to be used from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, and "any other time when there is not sufficient light" for the vehicle to be clearly seen.
PIERRE --Township governments would get more money for their roads and bridges under a plan that passed its first test Thursday in the Legislature. The House Transportation Committee voted 8-4 for shifting $1,450,000 from city governments and giving $1,020,000 to townships and $430,000 to counties. The legislation, HB 1137, seeks to change the distribution formula within counties for vehicle registration revenue. The full House of Representatives could consider the bill as early as Monday afternoon.
PIERRE—Meningitis vaccinations should be required for students in South Dakota, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. The vote was 42-25 in favor. The legislation, SB 28, now goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his signature to become law. The state Department of Health requested the requirement and had the governor's support. The department will set rules. The vaccination likely would be required for students age 11 and 12. The vaccine doesn't work well for younger children.
PIERRE—With the governor on their side, the Legislature's leaders from both major political parties intend to pursue collections of state sales taxes on purchases shipped from outside South Dakota to residents in the state. Businesses that don't comply would face action in South Dakota courts. The ultimate goal for lawmakers is to get the matter before the U.S. Supreme Court, in hope of a ruling favorable to state governments that rely on sales-tax revenue such as South Dakota.
PIERRE—The South Dakota Retirement System should be allowed to proceed in offering a new benefits plan next year for employees hired after June 30, 2017, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. "It will only impact future employees," Rep. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, said. Retirement ages would increase to 67 for most employees and 57 for law enforcement. The penalty for early retirement will increase to 5 percent annually from the current 3 percent annually.
PIERRE—The state House of Representatives voted 67-2 Wednesday to increase the inspection fee on commercial fertilizer in South Dakota. The bill's prime sponsor is Rep. Lee Qualm, R-Platte. He said nutrient run-off has become the centerpiece of lawsuits in surrounding states. The increase of 50 cents per ton would raise approximately $1 million for research grants, according to Qualm. He said the additional fee would be about 4 cents per acre, depending on the amount of fertilizer applied.
PIERRE—Sometimes at the Legislature, the witness who doesn't testify says the most through silence. Such was the case Wednesday. The state Division of Banking didn't take a public position at a legislative hearing regarding a request from short-term lenders for a new spot in South Dakota's legal code. That means the division, and the Daugaard administration, doesn't oppose the change or its intent. The creation of a new chapter for commercial lines of credit would allow short-term lenders to avoid a proposed 36 percent limit on lenders' interest rates.
PIERRE—Rep. G. Mark Mickelson prevailed over Rep. Lee Schoenbeck in a showdown Tuesday over legislation intended to help counties reach final zoning decisions on large feedlots for livestock. House members set aside amendments proposed by Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, and agreed with amendments from Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, who is the legislation's prime sponsor. Schoenbeck wanted to strip away the final three-plus pages of the bill, HB 1140. But Mickelson said that would eliminate much of the legislation's purpose.
PIERRE -- State senators unanimously supported a change in South Dakota property-tax policy on Tuesday intended to promote cleaner water in creeks, rivers and lakes. It would allow cropland planted...