Reporters and legislators have been busy talking about what bills they aren’t going to bring this year.
I thought I’d do a quick update on a few controversial measures from past years that we probably won’t see again this year.
This isn’t solid — any legislator can bring a bill, and even the people telling me they won’t be bringing bills can change their minds. But I’m told these measures probably won’t show up in 2013:
- Changing the flag: Rep. Bernie Hunhoff kicked off a firestorm last year with a proposal to change South Dakota’s state flag to a more distinctive design. He got a lot of lawmakers to sign on as co-sponsors, but also stirred up a hornet’s nest of opposition in the public. The bill was killed in committee, and Hunhoff said he’s too busy this year with issues like Medicaid and education to bring the bill again.
- Billboards: Unexpectedly last year, the question of billboards convulsed the Legislature through to the final day of the session. The issue split the state on regional lines, with West River lawmakers almost universally opposed to a bill restricting the ability of cities to limit billboards. That’s because the measure, supported by digital billboard maker Daktronics and most East River lawmakers, was a response to Rapid City referendums that took aim at a perceived proliferation of signs. The bill passed, then got vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard; the Legislature failed to overturn it. This year, Brookings-area lawmakers say Daktronics looks like it’ll be taking a breather and isn’t pushing for billboard legislation this year.
- The drinking age: This goes back four years, when Rep. Tim Rounds of Pierre proposed a bill to let people between 18 and 21 years old legally drink beer in controlled, public spaces. After two years out of the Legislature, Rounds is back in the House. He still feels the drinking age of 21 is a failure and needs addressing, but said he’s not planning on bringing back his bill to let underage adults drink.
If I’m wrong on these points, lawmakers and lobbyists, please let me know.