The South Dakota House of Representatives came together yesterday to pass HB 1117 to allow South Dakotans to shoot muskrats. At the same time, the South Dakota Senate put its shoulder to advancing SB 114 to make the buffalo our state mascot (not to be confused with our state animal, the coyote, whose hallowed status was deftly protected by Senator Craig Tieszen's amendment).
Meanwhile, House Judiciary tabled Rep. Patricia Stricherz's HB 1053 to create a "Hope Card" program, which would have streamlined services for victims of domestic abuse under protection orders from the courts. The panel rejected the measure because they really need to know how much several hundred plastic wallet cards will cost before they decide to help domestic abuse victims. Rep. Stace Nelson was the only legislator voting to keep the Hope Card proposal alive.
The full House rejected HB 1143, which sought to further prevent rapists from taking advantage of children and folks physically or mentally incapable of giving consent to sex. Essentially the bill sought to exclude the excuse of "I didn't know she was twelve!" Party lines blurred on this vote: Republicans Nelson, Stricherz, and Steve Hickey were among the ayes, while Dems Mitch Fargen, Bernie Hunhoff, Frank Kloucek, and Peggy Gibson went nay.
House Judiciary killed HB 1218, which would have rescinded the statute of limitations for civil actions on childhood sexual abuse. Rep. Hickey thought that repealing a 2010 law designed to protect churches from adults suing for abuse at the hands of priests was a good idea. Reps. Nelson, Gibson, Feinstein, and Killer agreed with him. But a nine-man majority on House Judiciary did not.
House Judiciary will get another swing at protecting victims of sexual Assault shortly. SB 68 to repeal the statute of limitations on the rape of children under 13 and other cases sailed through the Senate last week, in part on the power of Jolene Loetscher's testimony.