PIERRE — Law enforcement officers should be able to stop drivers seen texting while on South Dakota's streets and roads, a panel of the Legislature decided Wednesday. Rep. Spencer Hawley wants the state's texting ban changed to a primary offense so police, deputies, sheriffs and patrol officers can better enforce it. Texting while driving currently is a secondary offense. That means a law enforcement officer has to pull over a motorist for some other reason.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Constitution limits legislators to no more than four consecutive elections to the same chamber. Terms limit produce turnover, and the downside showed itself Tuesday in the state House of Representatives. House members voted 44-24 to repeal a law that called for the state Department of Education to open a charter high school for American Indian students if federal funding became available.
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives wants to require public comment periods at all public meetings of state and local boards and commissions in South Dakota. House members voted 60-8 Tuesday. HB 1172 now goes to the Senate for consideration. The legislation came from Rep. Elizabeth May, R-Kyle. May said she went with a friend who wanted to speak at a school board meeting about a topic that wasn't on the agenda.
PIERRE — County commissions should have authority over whether livestock and dairy producers can run pipelines of animal manure through neighbors' road ditches, and then pump the waste onto fields as fertilizer, a state lawmaker testified Tuesday. Rep. Jason Kettwig, R-Milbank, said HB 1184 would expand South Dakota utilities laws to allow waste disposal pipelines along roadways. The House Transportation Committee agreed, voting 8-5 to recommend its passage.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate came to agreement Monday: The life of George Speaker Mickelson should be remembered at the state Capitol, and it should be forever. The senators concurred 34-0 with a resolution the House of Representatives sent, praising South Dakota's only governor to die while in the office. The resolution further calls for a bronze bust resembling Speaker to be placed in the House lobby. From there, people look out the big arched window across Capitol Lake.
PIERRE — South Dakota lawmakers gave the green light Monday for the state Board of Regents to spend about $60 million on significant renovations, expansions and new construction at three public universities. Legislators said private donations are paying much of the tab for many of the projects. The various proposals now cross to the other chamber for further consideration. Here's the rundown from what became a very big day: Creation of the American Indian Student Center at South Dakota State University in Brookings won Senate approval 28-6.
PIERRE — A proposal to remove the minimum age altogether, so parents or guardians could decide when their children are mature enough to hunt game in South Dakota under close supervision by an adult, has made it through one chamber of the Legislature. SB 137 would eliminate the current minimum of 10-years for mentored hunting in South Dakota. Sen. Jason Frerichs had the Senate floor to himself Monday afternoon to talk about his plan. No one spoke against him and senators agreed to the idea 30-4.
PIERRE — South Dakota license plates for motor vehicles would change designs every 10 years under legislation the state House of Representatives approved Monday. They currently are supposed to switch designs every five years. Rep. Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City, said the difference is about $6.2 million. She wants the savings put in the road and bridge fund for counties. House members voted 41-27 for her change. HB 1190 now goes to the Senate, where lead sponsor is Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs.
PIERRE — Rep. Drew Dennert wanted to ask voters this November whether the right to hunt, fish and trap should be added to the South Dakota Constitution. But the Republican from Aberdeen won't get the chance. The House State Affairs Committee voted 11-1 Monday to kill HJR 1005. The defeat was his second in two years on the issue. Noteworthy, too, the panel turned down model legislation Dennert said came from the National Rifle Association.
PIERRE — The current president and chief executive officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said Saturday he plans to visit Pierre this week. Neel Kashkari said he wants people from the area to tell him about current conditions in the local economy. Kashkari is the guest at a 90-minute town hall forum set for Thursday, Feb. 8, starting at 7:30 a.m. CT. The event is in amphitheater two of the Pierre Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, 920 W. Sioux Ave. Kashkari said the trip is his first to Pierre. He has visited Sioux Falls and Rapid City.