GFP must notify public about attempts to close non-meandered waters, S.D. lawmakers decide

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department must keep letting the public know when someone wants to close all or part of a non-meandered water to recreational use.

The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee decided Monday the department can’t repeal a requirement that legal notices about the closure hearing be published in three local newspapers ahead of the meeting.

South Dakota lawmakers held a special session in 2017 devoted to non-meandered waters — private lands now flooded by snow and rain — and passed several laws.

Lawmakers declared specific bodies in 13 counties open to recreational use. They also designated other non-meandered waters open to recreation but landowners could close parts or all of them.

The vote Monday was 5-1 to block the proposed repeal.

Senator Craig Kennedy, a Yankton Democrat, drew attention to the potential loss of information to the public. GFP lawyer Jon Kotilnek said the department would continue publishing notices if the rule was repealed.

The state Electrical Commission also saw its fee increases rejected, after trying but failing to get the required publication by a third newspaper before the commission’s rules hearing. The legislators sent back the increases because the state public-notice law for rules hearings wasn’t met.

The state Department of Labor and Regulation’s appraiser-certification ran into a similar problem. The Aberdeen American News published the hearing notice one day after the 20-day window expired.

Senator Alan Solano, a Rapid City Republican, said the appraiser-certification proposals should therefore also be sent back. “We’ve been consistent. We should maintain our consistency,” Solano said.

Kennedy apologized to Sherry Bren, the appraiser-certification program’s executive director. “It’s not your fault. We have to do what we have to do,” Kennedy said.

After Bren had left, Representative Jon Hansen, a Dell Rapids Republican, said the 20-day requirement was met if the day of publication was counted. Hansen suggested she be invited back.

At 4:41 p.m., the Legislative Research Council’s staff began working to find her. About 15 minutes later, she returned to the room. Hansen said the day of publication didn’t count under state law but the day of the hearing did. Ten minutes later, she had approval — albeit on the second try.

For the Electrical Commission, there’s no quick fix. The committee plans a teleconference in the coming weeks to discuss whether to ask the full Legislature for a rewrite of the state laws on rule-making. But the panel doesn’t otherwise intend to meet again to consider proposed rules until after the 2020 session concludes in March.

The lawmakers approved a broad range of other significant rules during the day-long meeting Monday.

— The state Wildlife Division can hold a longer hunting season in the Black Hills for mountain lions, place further restrictions on deer and elk killed in areas where chronic wasting disease has been identified, and place additional requirements on boats in Sharpe and Francis Case reservoirs on the Missouri River because zebra mussels have been confirmed.

— The state Parks and Recreation Division can increase entrance and camping fees by approximately $3 million starting January 1.

— The state Department of Agriculture can increase its feed-inspection fee to 10 cents per ton starting January 1. The fee, currently two cents, had been as high as 17 cents.

— The state Department of Transportation can open hundreds of miles more of state highways to longer-combination vehicles that have two and three trailers, and truck platooning can be allowed on South Dakota’s federal interstates, where two drivers with special permits can operate closer together than normal if their rigs are electronically synchronized.

— The state Lottery Commission can proceed with a second method of randomly generating winners in privately-owned video gambling terminals that the commission regulates. A gambling manufacturing company suggested the change, according to Norm Lingle, the lottery’s executive director.

Lingle said the terminals would still meet a state rule that requires between 80 and 95 percent. Lingle said he hadn’t asked the company where the level of payback would be set under the new method.

The long day — the meeting began at 9 a.m. and ran without any breaks other than 30 minutes for lunch — brought a bit of humor from the last scheduled presenter for the state Real Estate Commission. Melissa Miller greeted the panel at 4:50 p.m.

“Good morning, good afternoon — and almost good evening,” she said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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