- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Attorney General Marty Jackley unveiled his priorities Wednesday for the upcoming 2018 legislative session, asking South Dakota lawmakers to impose harsher penalties for methamphetamine dealing and manufacturing.

The proposals would also require disclosure of data breaches to affected state residents, clarify sex offender registration requirements and enact stronger penalties for drug dealers whose product kills another person. The session starts next week and runs until late March.

South Dakota saw 51 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2016, according to Jackley. Meth arrests in the state jumped from 2,126 in 2015 to 3,179 through November 2016.

A proposal cracking down on meth dealing would make distribution and manufacturing a more serious felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine, up from 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $20,000. Jackley said the stronger consequences would send a message that the distribution of the drug in South Dakota is “off limits.”

“What we’re seeing nationally is a drug epidemic. Specifically, a methamphetamine epidemic,” Jackley said. “It’s something that has come to South Dakota. We see it in our families, our communities.”

Other proposed changes include enacting harsher sentences for meth distribution if the person has things such as cash or firearms and increasing penalties for distributing the drug to a minor. Jackley is also asking state lawmakers to make changes so mandatory minimum sentences for drug distribution and manufacturing are more broadly applied.

On data breaches, Jackley plans to offer a measure that would require companies to inform South Dakota residents whose personal information was acquired by an unauthorized person within 45 days of discovering the security intrusion. If a breach affected more than 250 state residents, the proposal would require the company to notify the attorney general.

“Almost every state in the union has a data breach law, so I want to begin the conversation in the Legislature about what can we do in South Dakota to better protect our consumers, to better make sure that if there is a data breach, consumers receive the information they need to make personal decisions about their financial security,” Jackley said.

Jackley and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem are competing in the Republican primary to succeed GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who can’t run again because of term limits. The Republican primary election is in June after what is expected to be an intense campaign. State Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton has also entered the 2018 race.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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