- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A bill giving state lawmakers control over refugee resettlements in South Dakota will get its first hearing in a Senate committee.

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday will debate a proposal to prohibit new refugee resettlement agreements in South Dakota without prior approval from the Legislature.

The proposal would take some responsibility away from Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, which is the state’s only resettlement program. When the bill was first proposed, the organization didn’t take a stance. But officials say the group regularly communicates with local officials and the governor’s office, and works directly with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to place refugees in the state.

The bill is backed by a group of Republican lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield.

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