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Interim Rules Committee votes on state departments' rule changes

Brent Duerre

The South Dakota Interim Rules Review Committee met to reviewproposed rules from various state departments – including changes to speed limits in some areas.

Most of the department requests were small changes, or amendments, that were quickly voted through by the committee.

An area of interest for the committee was the Department of Transportation’s request to amend speed limits in Sioux Falls and Spink County.

Rep. Roger DeGroot challenged the request.

“If you boost your speed limit to 65, then does not your 10 miles of range become 70 to 60? I guess I just don’t understand your logic as far as safety by increasing the speed limit. And again, using your model, you're really just going to increase that speed from whatever your average is, 52 or 58 now, to possibly closer to 70. Have you thought of that?" asked DeGroot.

That question was answered by Karla Engle, Chief Legal Counsel for the DOT.

“In the end, our traffic engineers weighed in favor of, ‘this is really a location suited for 65 miles-per-hour, and slowing people down a little bit, might actually be less safe than just allowing consistent travel,” said Engle.  

The DOT had two requests of the committee. The first was to change the speed limit on Interstate 90 in and around Sioux Falls and on U.S. Highway 385 in Hot Springs.

The second request amended speed limits on State Trunk Highway 79 in Meade County and State Trunk Highway 48 in Spink County.

Another request came from the State Board of Finance Department, which asked the committee to end moving reimbursements to state employees and offer an allowance instead.

The current rule allows for reimbursement of moving expenses if a state employee remains employed for six-months. The new rule repeals the last and will require a percentage return of the up-front allowance given if the employee leaves before two years.

“This essentially creates a two-year work commitment and it certainly helps with retention and recruitment," said Board of Finance Chair Katie Hruska. "To allow this longer period, or to allow the allowance at all, but then for retention because you have a little bit of stick in the game. So we are not letting any state employees, fly-by-night employees get unjustly enriched by having this allowance.”

The committee ultimately voted to accept all changes presented by state departments during Thursday's meeting.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.