SD Attorney General Marty Jackley

Legislative Research Council

In July 2013, Ronald Ray Fischer sped through a stop sign and killed two people who were standing in a Pickstown parking lot. First Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson did not find that Fischer's manslaughter charges fit the circumstances and instead found Fischer guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide.

The South Dakota Legislature is now batting around versions of a bill designed to ensure that egregiously impaired drivers who cause death face greater penalties.

Photo courtesy of SD Attorney General

The Senate Judiciary has approved a bill that adds the charge of aggravated vehicular homicide to state statute. It also categorizes the existing crime of vehicular homicide as violent, rather than nonviolent, resulting in a longer prison sentence for convicts. Proponents point specifically to the conviction of Ronald Ray Fischer as justification for changing the law. Opponents say it paints with too broad a brush.

The Federal Government is citing administrative issues in ending South Dakota’s participation in a foreign investment-for-green-card program, known as E-B-5.  The U-S Citizenship and Immigration Services has ruled the state’s regional center for the program is not promoting economic growth.  Officials add administrators have not submitted required information. SDPB’s Gary Ellenbolt has more.

Flags fly at half-staff out of respect for former South Dakota Governor Walter Dale Miller. He died Monday at the age of 89. Miller was born in October of 1925 in Meade County, South Dakota. He was a longtime school board member and state politician before becoming governor in 1993. 

Walter Dale Miller served in the state’s top office for less than one term, but those who worked with him say South Dakota still feels the impact of his decades of leadership. He was a tall man who some call a cowboy gentleman – always in boots and his hat. 

Victoria Wicks

At the end of June, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case known, for short, as Obergefell. Some say that decision has changed the definition of marriage. But others say marriage is marriage, and the high court declared it a constitutional right for all citizens. Now states can’t discriminate—they have to offer the legal status to couples regardless of sexual orientation. But religious leaders and legal scholars agree that ministers, priests, rabbis, and other religious officiants will never be forced to bless these legal unions.

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Leaders of the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe are legalizing marijuana on the reservation. The executive board has approved the ordinance after examining how other areas handle legalized marijuana. Members are planning for an operation that grows marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux executive board is making marijuana a tribal business. President Tony Reider says leaders are working to create a secure environment to cultivate the crop.