South Dakota’s 88th Legislative Session got underway last Tuesday with legislators taking the Oath of Office, followed by the Governor’s State of the State Address. The following day, Chief Justice David Gilbertson gave the State of the Judiciary address.
State of the State. Governor Daugaard stressed the need for good stewardship. This means making sure that state government is living within its means, taking care of its assets, and working to maintain South Dakota’s positive business climate. In addition, he stressed his desire to make sure that state government is open and accessible to the public and that agencies continue to get rid of unnecessary laws and regulations.
Judiciary. The Chief Justice continued the theme of good stewardship by outlining how alternative sentencing and rehabilitation available through drug and DUI courts are able to offer higher success rates, at less expense, than incarceration for these crimes.
Public Safety. A keystone piece of legislation for the week was SB70, An Act to Improve Public Safety. This bill has bi-partisan support, and is the result of an in-depth study by the Criminal Justice Initiative work group. The goals of the act are to improve public safety and hold offenders more accountable, control corrections spending and focus prison space on violent and career criminals, and ensure quality and sustainability of reforms. All three District 24 legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
Safe Teen Driving. The Task Force on Safe Teen Driving submitted its report to a joint House and Senate Transportation committee. The task force is recommending several legislative changes dealing with restricted and instruction permits. One recommendation is to limit the number of unrelated passengers in the car when the driver has a restricted minor’s permit, with an exemption for school activities. Another proposal would increase the instructional driving permit period from six months to a full year, with a reduction to 270 days if the individual passes an approved driver education course. A third proposal would prohibit the use of electronic devices (except for car radios) during instruction and restricted permit periods. A fourth proposal would enhance the driver education standards, core curriculum, and instructor certification requirements.
District 24 legislators are:
Senator Jeff Monroe, who serves on the Judiciary, Taxation and Transportation committees.
Representative Mary Duvall, who serves on Taxation and Transportation committees.
Representative Tim Rounds, who serves on Commerce and Energy, Local Government, and Retirement Laws committees.
Committee action will start to pick up the second week of Session. Complete committee information, as well as contact information for the three District 24 legislators may be found on the Legislative Research Council website at: http://legis.state.sd.us
Contact Me. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 605-773-3851 and leaving a message.