Way to go Steve Hickey! The Representative Reverend from Sioux Falls scored a small legislative coup yesterday when he successfully "smoked out" House Bill 1080, his plan to include speeding in the points system for revoking driver licenses. The House killed HB 1080 last month, but on the last possible day for such a manuever, Rep. Rev. Hickey got his colleagues to send the bill back to committee for another vote. House Transportation wrestled hard, but let the bill sneak back out to the full House on a 7-to-6 vote.
Among those voting to re-kill HB 1080 was Aberdeen police officer and rookie Rep. Dan Kaiser, who apparently balks as much at getting tough on dangerous driving as he does at enforcing other laws when he's on the beat.
Rep. Rev. Hickey's successful revival of HB 1080 came between failed efforts by his conservative pals Rep. Lance Russell and Rep. Stace Nelson to smoke out the anti-property-rights nutty gun bill HB 1129 and get-tough-on-illegal-immigrant-exploiters HB 1175.
How did Hickey make the cut when Russell and Nelson could not? Hickey's slick and tempered triangulation is one answer; old-fashioned research is the other. David Montgomery tells how data made Hickey's day:
Why the delay, and why the sudden success for Hickey in smoking out HB 1080? It has to do with new information he recently received from the Department of Public Safety.
“One of the pieces of information that was asked in the committee was, ‘Do the states that are surrounding us with a points system have a lower fatality rate?’ I was unable to answer that question,” Hickey said. “That’s a key piece of information.”
After three weeks of research, DPS came back to Hickey with a 13-page report showing states like Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota, all of which will take away driver’s licenses for repeat speeding, have lower fatality rates per mile driven than South Dakota [David Montgomery, "Hickey Smokes out Speeding Tickets Bill," Political Smokeout, 2013.02.19].
Take away driver licenses, save lives—the case for HB 1080 doesn't get any simpler than that.
But in case any Marxists in Pierre need more reason to support HB 1080, turn to the Mitchell Daily Republic's reaction last month to the House's initial rejection of HB 1080. Not yanking leedfeet's licenses is class warfare:
At present, drivers can speed all they want, provided they’re able to pay the fines. At its best, the current system is a class-based privilege; at its worst, it’s allowing some of the worst drivers more opportunities to kill or maim someone in a traffic mishap.
...under current law, drivers who speed do not accumulate points that could result in their licenses being revoked. They get points for mistakenly driving through a red light, but not for intentionally driving 100 mph down the highway.
Again, if a driver can afford speeding, it’s no problem.
Got a big checking account? Go ahead, then. Speed all you want.
That’s the way it is in South Dakota, and that’s no way to make our streets and highways safe [editorial board, "Bill's Failure Will Protect Speeding for the Privileged," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2013.01.24].
HB 1080 still targets only the most chronic and incautious speeders: you'd have to get busted for doing 20 mph over the speed limit five times in one year or eight times in two years to lose your license. Under that standard, even Bill Janklow's license would have been safe.
But we don't need reminders of the abuse of wealth and power to pass this bill. Let's focus on plain old data. Taking speeders off the road makes us all safer. Do good, Legislature. Do better today. Support Rep. Hickey's House Bill 1080.
Update 2013.03.10 11:45 MDT: Here's a nicely formatted version of the data Rep. Rev. Hickey cites in the comment section below: