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July 01, 2014 06:45 AM

New Laws Take Effect In South Dakota

More than 200 state laws ranging from bans to repeals and tweaks of existing policy take effect in South Dakota on Tuesday.

 

Pledge of Allegiance

A new law says the pledge of allegiance will be recited at the start of each public school day. The law states that each school district should provide students the opportunity to salute the United States and the flag each day.

A student may choose not to participate in the salute to the country and the flag; however, a student who does not participate in the salute shall maintain a respectful silence during the salute.

Availability of Information

Other new policies require more transparency from the South Dakota High School Activities Association and law enforcement. Police logs must now be open to the public.

Texting and Driving

There is also a new ban on texting and driving in the state of South Dakota. State officials and legislators hope this new law will get people to put down the phone. It’s already illegal to text and drive in many cities across the state, but this new law expands across every road in the entire state.

The new law is a secondary offense. That means you have to be pulled over for something else and to get the fine. If you are caught texting and driving, it will cost you, the fine is $100.

“There is such a huge percentage of the population constantly looking down at their phone and half the drivers that you see aren't even paying attention to where they are driving or where they are heading,” said Jeremy Mehlhaff.

Tyler Nessen, a military recruiter in Sioux Falls says he even knows people that got into crashes because of texting and driving, he hopes this puts an end to that.

“I know personally friends who have been texting and driving and getting into accidents, luckily no one has been seriously hurt, but it could have been far worse then what happened to them,” said Nessen.

You can still use voice operated or hands free technology, and you can also text when your car is lawfully parked.

Shared Parenting

Another big law taking effect, courts will have the option of granting shared parenting to those who fit a specific list of factors.

There is a laundry list of things a judge must now consider when granting joint physical custody. Some of the things are whether each parent is a suitable physical custodian for the child, whether each parent has an appropriate home to support the child, whether the psychological, emotional, and developmental needs of the child will suffer due to lack of contact one parents has with the child.

The things that now must be considered in joint physical custody cases in the state of South Dakota are similar to those that are already a part of the child custody option.

For a full list of laws going into effect today visit legis.sd.gov.

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