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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Rural Lawyers Bill Dies in Senate

A bill attempting to lure more attorneys to small rural communities failed in the State Senate. The bill mirrors an attempt to get more health professionals into rural areas by reimbursing college tuition for young professionals who agree to settle in  rural communities.

Sponsors of the measure argue that small rural communities are struggling with a lawyer shortage.     Tim Begalka  from Clear Lake is among those who argued for the measure on the Senate floor.

"The fact is a lot of the lawyers from Rapid City, Sioux Falls they've never been to these counties.  And the fact is they know they can't make as much money there. and that's the big factor," says Begalka.

Sponsors say the bill has strong backing from the Chief Justice and other leaders in the legal field.  Opponents countered that there is not a shortage of lawyers in South Dakota and that there is no need for this legislation.    The bill failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass.