PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Grain brokers still won’t need to be licensed in South Dakota, but they could soon face much stiffer penalties, including time in the state’s prison system, for conducting business with unlicensed grain buyers.

That’s how the purpose of SB 38 was summarized Thursday. The state Senate voted 33-0 for the changes and sent the bill to the state House for further action.

The state Public Utilities Commission regulates grain trading in South Dakota. Commissioners Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen were watching from the Senate gallery when the legislation came up.

Senator Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, said the goal is “to make sure producers are protected.”

People holding themselves out as grain brokers and conduct a transaction with an unlicensed grain buyer would be subject to a Class 5 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Civil fines against unlicensed grain buyers also would go up to $5,000 from the current $1,000 per instance, with the maximum going to $50,000 from the current $20,000.