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Legislative Potpourri: Reflector Poles, Hunting Interns, EcDev Shell!

The Legislature is humming... though not as efficiently as it might, thanks to the fiscal impact statement requirements of last year's omnibus criminal justice reform law. (I told you so.)

Here's an assortment if minor (?) additions to the Legislative hopper, fresh out of the oven this morning:

Rep. Betty Olson (R-28A/Prairie City) finds a new threat to happiness: highway reflector poles. House Bill 1114 would require some poor soul to go out and pull all the reflector poles out from alongside our state trunk highway system. Highway 34, 81, 12, 385—the whole trunk system is listed in SDCL 31-4 (Sections 130–247).

Maybe this is just a Democrat thing, but I like to see where I'm going. And if you're worried about hitting those poles, well, (1) don't drive like an idiot, and (2), they do make flexible reflector poles.

Rep. Melissa Magstadt (R-5/Watertown) must have some friends, or friends of friends, in med school. She's proposing House Bill 1110, a tiny little amendment to the definition of "resident" for hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. Current law allows South Dakotans who are out of state for "regular attendance at a post-high school institution as a full-time student" to get resident hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. Rep. Magstadt wants to extend that privilege to students in "regular attendance in a medical or dental residency program." Hey, Rep. Magstadt! How about including students in pastoral internships, too? My wife might want to take out little one fishing!

Rep. Scott Munsterman (R-7/Brookings) and Sen. Ryan Maher (R-28/Isabel) have some plan for economic development, but they aren't ready to tell us. Their House Bill 1109 currently consists of one line: "Economic development in the state shall be enhanced." HB 1109 is a shell bill, placed in the hopper at the last minute to hold a place for some scheme that legislators haven't worked out yet. The language and timing reflect that of last year's Senate Bill 235, the omnibus economic development that started as a single sentence (though better written, in active voice, instead of HB 1109's passive), floated unamended and unexplained through the Senate, then exploded from secret committee negotiations in March, during the last hectic days of the Legislature, when we all had to scramble to read it in all its forty-section glory. Might Munsterman and Maher be laying a tiger trap for legislation to respond to the audit and review of shenanigans in the Governor's Office of Economic Development (the results of which appear to be late)? One can only hope!


  1. grudznick 2014.01.28

    In other updates from the legislatures today, the gloom of shame surrounds Mr. Nelson and a young woman named Wismer is saying "No to Joe." These were on the news.

  2. barry freed 2014.01.28

    Hi Cory,
    Say... I visit blogs as much or more to learn, as well as vent. I obviously didn't pay attention in High School, so if you would and can, please educate me as to how it is that the Governor gets to decide all by himself whether or not to follow the ACA and expand Medicaid, and to enter into a Class Action Lawsuit on our behalf? Or where I could find out how that worked legally.
    I have never read anything about it and my research yields nothing. I probably am not typing in the right question on Google.
    Thanks. PS: I am contacting you this way because your contact page is not working for me at the moment.

  3. Troy 2014.01.28

    Two questions:

    1) What are "reflector poles?" Are they those poles which tell us where the side of the road is (needed in blizzard/blowing snow/dust conditions) and where there are curves in the road?
    2) If so, why does she want to take them down?

    And a comment: I'd rather run over a pole than go off the road and roll my vehicle.

  4. Les 2014.01.28

    Her equipment is probably too wide to stay in her lane and miss the reflector posts. Not sure what they would be removing. There are no reflector poles, only posts with reflectors mounted.

  5. Wayne B. 2014.01.29

    Troy, I wonder if it has something to do with resembling the reflection of critters' eyeballs at night. That's my only beef with them, especially when they're so intermittent. But we need poles to mark culverts, curves, etc.

    Maybe this is the reason

  6. charlie5150 2014.01.29

    I believe they are also called delineators, and have helped keep South Dakota highways safe for over 20 years now. At the time when they first appeared, farmers complained because they made mowing the ditches more difficult. Perhaps that is the reason? Have these people never driven in poor conditions? Those things are life savers!

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.29

    Charlie, I was wondering what the motivation might be. Your mowing hypothesis makes sense. HB 1114 gets its first hearing tomorrow in House Transportation at 10:00 a.m. CST. Let's see what Rep. Olson and any other proponents say in their testimony.

  8. Douglas Wiken 2014.01.29

    I can remember when there were no reflectors along highway 44 east of Winner and east of the Missouri River. The highway loops around so that without reflectors, it looked like the road a few hundred feet down with vehicle headlights showing was actually the highway in front of you.

    It is not easy to make that visual mistake with the reflectors that were installed on that highway soon after.

    I also remember driving from Pierre to Fort Thompson to pick up a visually-impaired friend returning from Sioux Falls via bus. Weather in Pierre was relatively nice, but once out on the highway SE of Pierre and a ground blizzard that was only a foot or two made the highway almost invisible. The reflectors along that highway guided me.

    I cannot understand why anybody in their right mind would like to return to the no reflective marker highways. My guess is these highway additions and seatbelts have saved hundreds or thousands of South Dakotans from highway crash death or disability.

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