PIERRE — To keep a trademark alive, state lawmakers sent a beef bill to the political slaughterhouse Thursday. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee decided against repealing the South Dakota Certified Beef program. Rep. Dan Ahlers, D-Dell Rapids, asked lawmakers to save it. That turned some heads on the committee, because he had sponsored the repealer. His argument didn't change. "It's really been an underfunded, underutilized program," Ahlers said. But after he introduced HB 1089, members of livestock groups suggested he wait.
PIERRE — Credit unions in South Dakota shouldn't need broker licenses for participating in real-estate transactions, the state House of Representatives decided Wednesday. The vote was 46-19. The Senate gets HB 1032 next. Rep. Tom Pischke, R-Dell Rapids, said the legislation clarifies credit unions are exempt from broker license requirements. "The real estate commission has no record of receiving complaints about credit unions," Pischke said. Credit unions operate under federal regulations.
PIERRE — Changes to clarify 'yes' and 'no' explanations for ballot measures received nearly unanimous approval Wednesday in the South Dakota House of Representatives. The vote was 61-4. Now the Senate gets HB 1005. The legislation says the recitation for each proposed amendment to the state constitution shall state "Vote 'Yes' to adopt the amendment" and 'Vote 'No' to leave the Constitution as it is." For initiated-law proposals, the same would be in effect.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate agreed Wednesday to put a resolution on the November election ballot. Senators want voters statewide to decide whether the South Dakota Constitution should be amended, so that constitutional amendments would require 55 percent approval. The current requirement is a simple majority. The state House of Representatives considers SJR 1 next. Gov. Dennis Daugaard doesn't have a direct say whether the question gets there.
PIERRE — Lawmakers asked questions but appeared unwilling to reach a decision Wednesday on a senator's request that legislative auditors participate in a financial review of South Dakota's state-owned railroads. Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, and other witnesses told the Senate Transportation Committee about financial and safety concerns they and others have regarding Dakota Southern operating the Mitchell-Rapid City and Napa-Platte lines.
PIERRE — South Dakota makes prostitution a misdemeanor crime when people engage in selling sex at age 16. A state lawmaker from Pennington County wants 18 as the minimum. Rep. Lynne DiSanto, R-Rapid City, is prime sponsor of HB 1138. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. The panel hasn't yet publicly scheduled its hearing. Lead Senate sponsor is Stace Nelson, R-Fulton. The bill comes amid more emphasis during the past decade against human trafficking in South Dakota. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
PIERRE — South Dakota's laws regarding license plates for motor vehicles need to get on the same track as the practices already in use, some members of the Legislature recommended Tuesday. The House Transportation Committee voted 10-0 to endorse HB 1066. It's scheduled for debate Thursday afternoon in the House of Representatives. The bill provides "the proper authority" for the state Department of Revenue and county treasurers to issue license plates under "the current standard policy," Lisa Weyer said. She is director for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
PIERRE — South Dakota voters who aren't registered with any political party would be allowed to sign their names at the start of the process and help nominate candidates for political parties, under a change approved Tuesday by the state Senate. The vote was 24-10 as Republicans split. SB 79 now moves to the House of Representatives for the next round of consideration. Prime sponsor is Sen. Ernie Otten, R-Tea. A mix of six Democrats and 18 Republicans passed it, while 10 Republicans cast nays.
PIERRE — The state Department of Tourism should be allowed to contract for advertising displays in welcome centers on South Dakota's two interstate highways, the state Senate decided Tuesday. Senators voted 33-1 to send SB 59 across the Capitol to the House of Representatives for the next round of deliberations. The measure carries support from Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Sen. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, did much of the talking Tuesday in favor of giving authority to the department to pursue sponsors.
PIERRE — A state lawmaker from Brown County is carrying legislation that would affect pre-abortion counseling by abortion providers. Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, is prime sponsor of SB 110. This is a version of the concept South Dakota Right to Life has been preparing. The measure was assigned Monday to the Senate State Affairs Committee. The panel hasn't publicly scheduled a hearing date yet. The legislation specifically refers to Planned Parenthood's facility in Sioux Falls as the only abortion clinic in South Dakota.