Governor Kristi Noem says the biggest question facing lawmakers is the potential ramifications of repealing presumptive probation.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s bill to remove the law is awaiting a committee hearing.
Presumptive probation was signed into law in 2013 as a part of the Public Safety Improvement Act. That law requires courts to sentence a person to probation, rather than prison time, for any Class 5 or 6 felonies, which are often low-level, non-violent drug offenses.
Ending presumptive probation is a key issue for Attorney General Ravnsborg, one he campaigned on. His bill, Senate Bill 19, strikes presumptive probation. He says the law has tied the hands of judges in counties across the state.
Following her budget address, Governor Kristi Noem says that bill could really impact the state budget.
“We know that the previous Senate Bill 70 has challenges,” Noem says. “That it has been extremely frustrating for those out on the front lines. I would love to bring the stakeholders back to the table to have a conversation about the best path forward. I know the attorney general’s bill does a complete repeal and I understand why he brought that legislation because I heard over and over again about the unique challenges that we have. I am very interested in making sure we do this in a responsible manner.”
Noem says that means bringing together stakeholders to take another look at the issue.
Senate Bill 19 will get heard in the Senate Judiciary committee, but is not listed on the schedule yet. That committee won’t meet again until next week.