Lawmakers give green light to new South Dakota rules on speeds, weeds and brands

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Two highways in western South Dakota will have higher speed limits as a result of the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee meeting Monday.

The panel also gave the go-ahead to changes that add Palmer ameranth to South Dakota’s list of prohibited noxious-weed seeds and remove quackgrass from it, and raise various state fees for livestock brands.

Motorists will be able to drive 60 mph on Interstate-90 into Rapid City and go 70 mph on SD 79 in Pennington and Custer counties between Rapid City and Hermosa. Both are 5-mph increases.

The Palmer ameranth change comes after some seeds were found in foxtail millet seed purchased last year in Nebraska, according to Brenda Sievers, plant industry manager for the state Department of Agriculture.

State Rep. John Lake, R-Gettysburg, spoke in support Monday. He was prime sponsor of HB 1221 in the 2019 legislative session.

“This is a start,” Lake said. “I think we’re a year late. I think we’re too late already.”

He added, “I think we’ve become kind of a dumping ground for this particular seed.”

Sievers said South Dakota was the only state in the nation that allowed a tolerance in any amount for prohibited weed seeds.

Quackgrass meanwhile moved to the restricted noxious-weed seed list where 20 seeds per pound are allowed.

Brand Board director Debbie Trapp said no one testified at the board’s July public hearing in support or against the fee increases. No one other than Trapp spoke Monday.

She said the increases are needed so the brand program can continue running without general-fund support from the Legislature. Lawmakers in the 2019 session approved SB 159 raising upper limits on fees and creating a transfer fee.

Rep. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, recalled the fight over brand fees from two decades ago when the hearing room was full. She praised Trapp’s efforts.

“Compliments to you for doing that,” Hunhoff said.

The committee also gave the green light to rule changes from the Game, Fish and Parks Commission; the Plumbing Commission; the Board of Minerals and Environment; the Office of Appraiser Certification; and the Division of Insurance.

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