South Dakota Legislative Billwatch, Feb. 11, 2016

Phil Jensen

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South Dakota HouseIt’s going to be another busy day for the South Dakota Legislature today.

HB 1008, to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools, has already passed the House on a 58-10 vote and is scheduled to go before the Senate Education Committee today.

HB 1197, scheduled for the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, is a bill to prohibit hydraulic fracturing.  Why should we possibly want all that job growth, economic stimulus and energy boon in South Dakota that they’ve enjoyed in North Dakota?

Rick Kriebel 2016

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SB 140 seeks to eliminate life sentences without parole for defendants under the age of eighteen at the time of the crime.  I don’t think this is a good idea, either. Back when parents taught their children right from wrong, we didn’t have too many children committing heinous crimes worthy of life without parole sentences. However, in today’s “enlightened” age where we leave it up to a grossly inefficient and amoral government to teach our children everything, we now have children killing other children and killing adults. If you commit adult crimes, you should do adult times and sentences. It’s a matter of justice.  You don’t give a slap on the wrist for a heinous crime.

There are several other bills that deserve watching, and I hope you’ll check out the entire list below.

Of particular note yesterday was the failure of SB 94 to repeal the death penalty in South Dakota.  It was killed in committee on a 7-2 vote. Though there was no shortage of emotion-based testimony on the part of several proponents, reason and justice won the day.  South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley provided some great testimony in favor of the death penalty, citing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Gregg v. Georgia, July 2, 1976:

Woodrow Wilcox

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Although some of the studies suggest that the death penalty may not function as a significantly greater deterrent than lesser penalties, there is no convincing empirical evidence either supporting or refuting this view. We may nevertheless assume safely that there are murderers, such as those who act in passion, for whom the threat of death has little or no deterrent effect. But for many others, the death penalty undoubtedly is a significant deterrent. There are carefully contemplated murders, such as murder for hire, where the possible penalty of death may well enter into the cold calculus that precedes the decision to act. And there are some categories of murder, such as murder by a life prisoner, where other sanctions may not be adequate.

There was also the testimony of several people who lost loved ones at the hands of vicious murderers, which no doubt helped committee members settle on the right thing.  Additionally, my letter sent to every legislator was mentioned during testimony, and although a proponent attempted to debunk one of the multiple points made and studies cited, even that attempt fell flat.

Thank God justice prevailed.  Though I won’t hold my breath, I join in the sentiment expressed by one of the loved ones of a murder victim who testified that it would be nice if the legislature would stop subjecting them to having to come to Pierre and testify on behalf of justice every year as they’ve had to do the past three years.

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2/11
7:45 AM
Senate Education HB 1008 restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.
2/11
7:45 AM
House Agriculture and Natural Resources HB 1197 prohibit hydraulic fracturing.
2/11
7:45 AM
House Health and Human Services HB 1212 revise requirements related to pregnancy help centers
2/11
7:45 AM
Senate Education SB 129 establish certain suicide awareness and prevention training requirements for certain school employees based on the Jason Flatt Act.
2/11
8:00 AM
Senate Judiciary SB 123 revise certain provisions limiting the issuance of certain licenses and permits if a debt is being collected by the obligation recovery center.
2/11
8:00 AM
Senate Judiciary SB 140 eliminate life sentences without parole for defendants under the age of eighteen at the time of the crime.
2/11
9:00 AM
Joint Committee on Appropriations SB 114 make an appropriation for certain costs related to the commissioning of the USS South Dakota and to declare an emergency.
2/11
10:00 AM
House Transportation HB 1114 prohibit the state from using federal funds for state highway maps.
2/11
10:00 AM
House Local Government HB 1127 revise certain provisions concerning road districts.
2/11
10:00 AM
House Transportation HB 1231 authorize motor carrier inspectors to carry firearms.
2/11
1:00 PM
House of Representatives HB 1163 revise the periods of time during which veterans may use tuition benefits at institutions under the control of the Board of Regents.
2/11
1:00 PM
House of Representatives HB 1164 provide for a special interest motor vehicle license plate for certain vehicles under certain conditions.
2/11
1:00 PM
Senate HCR 1011 Opposing the recent actions of the EPA and the President with regards to the Waters of the United States federal rule and applauding the South Dakota congressional delegates who opposed such actions.
2/11
1:00 PM
Senate SB 107 clarify certain safety zone restrictions on hunting.
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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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