PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem moved another step closer Tuesday to adding more restrictions to South Dakota’s laws against human trafficking.
The state Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed HB 1047. The full Senate could debate it as early as Wednesday afternoon.
That would be final legislative passage, if it’s not amended. The House approved it 65-0 February 7.
Kara Semmler, a senior policy advisor for the governor, presented the five-page bill to the Senate panel.
She said perpetrators would be better defined and could be more easily identified, while victims could be better identified and could get the services and support they need.
The measure would add “receives” and “purchases” to the list of already prohibited activities and would clarify what doesn’t qualify as a defense.
“We think it’s very important language to describe the impossible idea of consenting to such a crime,” Semmler said.
She said another section would help a victim move on by allowing a person of any age to petition a court for the record to be expunged. State law currently makes expunging available to people older than age 18.
“A criminal record can be an impairment in housing or education, and it certainly can be a real psychological impairment too. A victim carries around scars, and a criminal record is one more scar that a victim carries around,” Semmler said.
No one testified against it.