Your Legislature at Work: Toothless Legislation, Jail Bait, Beavers…

Posted: Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 8:47 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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This week in the South Dakota State Legislature:

Genocide Concerns Us, But Keep Investing in Iran: The Senate Retirement Laws Committee stamped SB 21 “Do Pass.” They did amend the state’s request for unfettered investment in terrorist states. The amendment calls on the State Investment Council to “engage and promote compliance” with federal divestiture laws and authorizes the Legislature to “express its concerns” about state investments that may fund evildoers. In other words, more toothless paperwork. No sign yet of Rep. Lederman’s promised legislation to outright ban the state from investing in Iran. Stay tuned….

Sex Sex Sex…: And you thought the budget would be all our legislators had on their minds. There are a slew of proposals relating to sex offenders and the life sentences our state imposes on them. There’s also HB 1110, which eases the penalty for statutory rape for certain young and restless fondlers.

(Read carefully: this is tricky! Thanks to primary sponsor Rep. Rich Engels for clarification.) Right now, sex with someone under 16 is a Class 3 felony. However, if you’re less than three years older than the victim, it’s only a Class 1 misdemeanor.

HB 1110 changes the law to read thus:

If the victim is at least thirteen years of age and the actor is less than five years older than the victim, the actor is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Let’s try to clarify, kids:

Under HB 1110, if you are this old… serious necking is a felony if she/he’s this old (or younger)
..but a misdemeanor if she/he’s this old
16 12 13–15
17 12 13–15
18 13 14–15
19 14 15
20 15

Now before you college freshmen get excited about driving home next weekend to “do laundry,” remember: the rules on rape remain the same. If either party is under 16, it may be rape… and it’s probably stupid. Basically, kids, don’t go all the way! And for pete’s sake, don’t do it a second time: HB 1110 makes second offense a Class 2 felony.

So under HB 1110, two legal adults, one 19, one 18, could perform the same act, heavy petting with a 14-year-old. The 19-year-old could get 15 years in the pen and a $30K fine. The 18-year-old could get a year in the county jail and a $2K fine.

Hmm… could we just issue stainless steel underpants to everyone and hand out keys with high school diplomas? (Now that would cut the drop-out rate.)

Darn You Beavers!: In the unnecessary legislation department, HB 1113 adds prairie dogs, raccoons, skunks, and beavers to list of critters GF&P can target on the animal damage control list. Thing is, current statute already says that list can include “other wild animals” deemed injurious to the general welfare. I guess certain legislators just want to say, “Skunks! Coons! Beavers! We mean you!”

Update 13:05 CST: But wait, there’s more!

Tightening the Auto Insurance Noose: Driving without insurance could get harder: SB 87 would require folks registering any noncommercial motor vehicle to show their proof of insurance to the county treasurer.

Make Your Own Gun, Dodge Federal Rules!: A majority of the Legislature has already signed on to sponsor SB 89, which will exempt firearms, firearm accessories, and ammo made and used exclusively in South Dakota from federal regulations. Do whatever you want with your weapons, as long as you don’t invade Minnesota.

Sure enough, the “Firearms Freedom Act” is a coordinated national effort. SB 89 copies language used in a “Firearms Freedom Act” proposed in Minnesota last year. Montana led the way, passing the first version of said law last year and now fighting Uncle Sam in court to keep it. Interestingly, the NRA may not be supporting this law.

About Cory Allen Heidelberger:
Cory Allen Heidelberger is the loyal opposition. He is passionately in love with his wife, his daughter, and South Dakota. He questions the status quo regularly at his home blog, the Madville Times.

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