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House agrees to repeal 2010 law for American Indian high school

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.

The measure passed in 2010 during the final months when Mike Rounds was governor. But no one in the House seemed to remember Tuesday, as they argued about rejecting a never-used law.

HB 1165 now heads to the Senate for further action.

"The intent of this bill is to repeal the entire statute," Rep. Bob Glanzer, R-Huron, said. He is prime sponsor.

"The big word in this particular act is 'if,' " Glanzer said.

The federal economic-stimulus program provided grants for schools in other states, but South Dakota wasn't one, and the federal start-up funding isn't there any longer, he said.

Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, D-Mission, opposed the repeal.

"I don't see a reason why we remove this," he said.

Bordeaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, suggested state government and tribal governments could team up to pursue more federal aid for American Indian people in South Dakota.

"If there was monies, we could work together and go after that grant money," Bordeaux said.

Bordeaux asked on Monday for the bill to be put on the debate schedule for Tuesday. The House Education Committee had placed it on the House consent schedule for Monday.

Rep. Elizabeth May, R-Kyle, said she checked on the federal law and it's no longer valid. Glanzer confirmed that: "There is no longer funds in this account."

May said she made "a couple phone calls" and the law appears "null and void."

"That's my understanding," she said.

Glanzer, given the chance to make a final argument, noted the committee's unanimous endorsement and the subsequent motion to put the repeal on the consent list.

"I think that's enough justification," Glanzer said.