South Dakota motorists who want to show their appreciation for wildlife conservation habitat in a public way will have to wait at least another year to get specialty license plates to put on their vehicles.
The state Senate couldn’t pass HB 1181 Tuesday. The measure from Governor Kristi Noem fell five ayes short of the two-thirds majority of 24 needed. The final tally was 19 yes and 15 no.
The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee introduced the bill at the governor’s request.
Senator Rocky Blare, an Ideal Republican, was lead sponsor.
“The Department of Game, Fish and Parks brought us this,” he said. “It’s a way to promote pride in South Dakota.”
The bare plate would have cost $10. Motorists would have paid $30 apiece each year to the Second Century Habitat Foundation. The governor hasn’t yet appointed its members.
Answering a question, Blare acknowledged there’s “no guarantee” that people would affix the sticker.
Senator Brock Greenfield, a Clark Republican, had asked the question. Greenfield said South Dakota already has “a ton of people” who don’t properly use specialty stickers for other types of license plates.
State law already allows specialty plates for organizations, first responders and organ donors.
Senator Ernie Otten, a Tea Republican, said a work group will be appointed later this year to deal with the issue.
“One thing this will give us, is we’ll have a prototype out there,” Otten said.
Senator Craig Kennedy, a Yankton Democrat, urged a no vote. He said the plate sounds like a good idea but it’s premature until foundation members are appointed.
“This bill has been shown to be effective in other states,” Blare countered. “There definitely will be oversight by those of us in the Legislature.”
House members had passed it 68-1.