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Other View: S.D. Legislature: Where ideas go to die

The Legislature is aggressively searching for ways to generate revenue but at least two creative ways to save money and heighten efficiency in state operations aren't getting much attention.

The Legislature is aggressively searching for ways to generate revenue but at least two creative ways to save money and heighten efficiency in state operations aren't getting much attention.

Rep. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City, proposed a bill to direct the Board of Regents to prepare a plan to close one of the state's six public universities.

Rep. Brian Dreyer, also a Rapid City Republican, sponsored a resolution to put a massive county consolidation plan before voters in the 2010 general election.

Kirkeby's bill called for a study from the Board of Regents about the feasibility of the state's universities and to prepare a plan to close one university.

Dreyer's resolution directed the Legislature to set up a commission to study county consolidation and report its findings. It marked the third unsuccessful attempt to study county consolidation.

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Pierre shouldn't be a place ideas go to die, yet that's exactly what happened.

But as is often the case in politics, fear mongering trumps reason and the loss of a real discussion and decision-making based on facts is the price the public pays.

In the case of the state's universities, Tad Perry, executive director of the state Board of Regents, said a study of closing a school puts a "cloud over public higher education."

A study could support that statement and yet we may never have a study and therefore never know what impact, if any, there would be.

For the counties, the same dissenting tone was heard: "It's going to make it more of a hardship on our rural people once again," said Bison finance officer Sylvia Chapman.

Again, in the absence of a study, we'll never know and won't have the best information to make wise decisions for the future of South Dakota.

Like we said, the state Legislature shouldn't be a place where ideas go to die and it's disturbing to see it taking place.

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