Senate panel wants items such as bags and straws to remain available in South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:  Senator Jeff Monroe said plastic coffee cans thrown into the Missouri River “doesn’t bother me at all” because, he said, wildlife use them.

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A group of state lawmakers recommended Tuesday that South Dakota communities shouldn’t get to individually ban bags, other containers or beverage straws.

The proposal from Senator John Wiik could be debated as early as Thursday afternoon by the 35-member South Dakota Senate.

If a majority supports it, SB 54 would next move across the Capitol to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

“We had a strong case,” the Big Stone City Republican said afterward.

Drink containers, garbage bags and garbage-can liners already are on the state’s ‘cannot-prohibit’ list.

Support from the South Dakota Retailers Association helped make the difference Tuesday, as Nathan Sanderson testified for the legislation.

“This is less government,” Sanderson told the panel. “A patchwork of laws doesn’t fix the littering problem we have.” 

Said Wiik: “Once the Retailers got behind it, I thought we had a good chance.”

Among the bill’s opponents were spokespeople from the Izaak Walton League, Sierra Club and Dakota Rural Action.

“Let’s keep these decisions on the local level,” DRA lobbyist Rebecca Terk said.

Senator Jeff Monroe disagreed that plastic is less environmentally-friendly than paper. He said plastic in the ground was “incredible” for gardens because plants grow better.

The Pierre Republican said plastic coffee cans thrown into the Missouri River “doesn’t bother me at all” because, he said, wildlife use them. 

Senator Craig Kennedy, a Yankton Democrat, said the bill wasn’t about requiring certain activities. “This bill is about who gets to decide what’s best for their community,” Kennedy said. “Yankton should have the right to decide what’s best for Yankton.” 

He added that Yankton’s decisions might not be what’s best for Pierre or Rapid City. 

Senator Lee Schoenbeck, a Watertown Republican, said businesses shouldn’t face “a Balkanization” of different regulations.

How They Voted
Yes — Jeff Monroe, R-Pierre. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls.
No — Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls. Craig Kennedy, D-Yankton.
Excused — Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford.

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