Senate Committee Holds Consideration Of Presumptive Probation Bill Until Thursday

(KBRK) — The Senate Judiciary Committee defers action on a bill that would reverse the state’s law on presumptive probation for lower-level felonies. Presumptive probation has been credited with helping avert expensive prison-population growth, but has been criticized by some for tying judge’s hands. The bill is a priority for new Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. He says costs have been shifted to counties in what amounts to an unfunded mandate…

“So far, we’ve built jails in Sioux Falls, where we’ve added 48 million dollars. We got a six-million dollar jail from the one Sheriff we heard in Faulkton. So we’ve spent 55 million dollars in county jails. Then, we’ve tried…they’ve had bond issues in other communities that proposed having jails in Selby, Lake, Watertown.”
The bill is also supported by the state’s Sheriffs and Police Chief’s Associations. The measure was opposed by members of the Noem Administration including the Department of Corrections and Britanni Skipper of the Bureau of Finance and Management say it will mean building new prisons and greater ongoing costs…

“The taxpayers would need to pay for an additional 8.7 million in ongoing expenses and 33.3 million for construction costs. However, if this Committee does decide this motion move forward, I respectfully ask that it be referred to the Appropriations Committee, because they will need to consider it in their budget discussions.”
Judiciary Committee Chair Lance Russel of Hot Springs apologized to the Attorney General for having to defer the bill…

“I’m greatly upset, about the fact that we sit here in the waning hours of the Legislature and I still don’t have an impact statement as to what I requested and what you requested before the Legislature even began. I’m extremely upset, the fact that I don’t have that information, It seems to have stalled the bill.”
The Committee will take action on the measure Thursday.