- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota lawmakers are set to consider measures on drones, the state’s retirement system and drug abuse this week. Here’s a look at some of the proposals they plan to take up:

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RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Changes could be coming for South Dakota Retirement System members, as the House Retirement Laws Committee is set to consider measures Wednesday, including one meant to make sure the public employee retirement system is solvent into the future by tying cost-of-living adjustments for recipients more closely to inflation.

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard supports the plan, saying such adjustments need to be better in line with the retirement system’s earnings and the rate of inflation.

GOP Rep. Craig Tieszen, chairman of the House committee, said he thinks he’ll support the bills. “It just ensures the future of our retirement system, of which I’m a member,” Tieszen said.

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DRUG ABUSE

Bills from a legislative study committee that examined meth and prescription drug abuse are set to get their first hearing Wednesday.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will consider a measure that would require pharmacists to report daily - not weekly - to the prescription drug monitoring program about prescriptions dispensed for controlled substances. A second bill would require the Board of Pharmacy to report annually to lawmakers the number of opioid prescriptions in South Dakota for the past three years and any changes made to the prescription drug monitoring program.

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DRONE REGISTRATION

The Senate Transportation Committee is set to consider Wednesday whether some unmanned aircraft should be exempt from state registration requirements.

A bill introduced at the request of the state Department of Transportation would excuse the owners of drones weighing less than 55 pounds from being required to register them as aircraft.

Department Secretary Darin Bergquist has said that drones currently must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. Republican Sen. Ernie Otten, the committee’s chairman, said he’s still studying the issue.

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LOBBYIST RESTRICTIONS

A Senate rules committee deferred action on a proposal last week that would have barred public employee lobbyists from the Senate chamber and other reserved areas between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The panel is set to reconvene Tuesday.

Once lawmakers reach a decision, Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield would decide how to apply it, potentially broadening the rules to bar private-sector lobbyists from areas near the chamber from three hours before session through an hour after it ends.

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A RECAP OF LAST WEEK

Daugaard began the session Jan. 10 with his State of the State address, in which he announced that online retail giant Amazon has agreed to begin collecting state and local sales taxes on purchases in South Dakota.

A state House committee approved one part of an anti-meth package Friday that would allow authorities to wiretap cellphones. Later that day, the full Senate approved a different bill that would allow authorities to publicly release mug shots.

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