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Contra Betty, Legislature Poised to Hike Penalty for Removing Road Signs

Now the House is just picking on Betty Olson. Last month, the good Representative from Prairie City proposed House Bill 1114 to yank all the reflector poles out from alongside South Dakota's state highways. The Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety said no, Betty, that's a really bad idea. House Transportation agreed 10–3.

Apparently worried that Rep. Olson may try taking matters into her own hand, the House has pending before it Senate Bill 103, which drops a bigger hammer on folks who swipe highway signs. Right now, stealing or messing with highway signs and markers is a Class 1 misdemeanor (see SDCL 31-28-23). SB 103 tacks on up to a $2,000 civil penalty, at the discretion of the court. This additional punishment has cleared the full Senate and the House Transportation committee; we'll see if the House acts today to raise the stakes on Rep. Olson or anyone else who tries to... raze the roadside stakes.

But remember, Betty and all you party people in the House: it's just a reflector....


  1. interested party 2014.02.24

    Mile marker 420 must be fairly close to SooFoo, innit?

  2. interested party 2014.02.24

    just west of alexandria!

  3. interested party 2014.02.24

    never mind: looks like if there isn't one....

  4. interested party 2014.02.24

    US 14?

  5. interested party 2014.02.24

    or SD 34, 44?

  6. interested party 2014.02.24

    US 212?

  7. Jerry 2014.02.24

    For sometime now, I have read of this Olson, Betty Certified. I thought that she was just a little corn flake, but now that she wants to remove reflector signs, it tells me that she is one of the tin foil hat people. You see, these folk fear the radio waves (or wind chimes) that reflect from the reflectors always interfering with the voices in their heads. There may be some truth to that if you listen to what she has been saying and what she has been doing. Betty...Betty...your mothership is calling...Time for you to plan departure for planet Alec in a galaxy far far away..

  8. interested party 2014.02.24

    US 18?

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.24

    It was never clear to me why she wanted the reflectors removed. Anyone?

  10. mike from iowa 2014.02.24

    Roger C-it was HB1114 and was set back to the 41st day of the lege. If you can find the testimony,you might have an idea. The bill was filed around the 28th of Jan. I'm not sure where to look for the testimony.

  11. Bob Klein 2014.02.24

    Just off the top of my head, I'd guess that her problem with them has to do with over width farm equipment on the roads. At least that's one that has a little bit of logic to it.

    Perhaps I'm giving Betty too much credit for sense.

  12. interested party 2014.02.24

    Good eye, Mr. Klein. FUI: Farming Under the Influence.

  13. interested party 2014.02.24

    Let me just say that it really sucked going to Santa Fe in shorts today and feeling over dressed.

  14. bret clanton 2014.02.24

    Over width oil field equipment headed to the bakken Mr. Klein...... It is causing hazardous situations on a daily basis due to the inability to get over far enough....

  15. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.24

    The big drilling equipment wouldn't be using hwy 20, which runs through Prairie City, Bison, and on nearly to Mobridge. But they do grow a lot of wheat in that area. There is some farmable land up there. Those giant combines do take up a lot of space.

    Stealing road signs is important. Think of travelers unfamiliar with the area. Stop signs and yield signs are especially important, but even the reflectors matter. It's about safety.

  16. bret clanton 2014.02.25

    Ms. Geelsdottir, highways 85, 79, and 73 are all main arteries feeding the bakken oil field. Highway 85 between Belle Fourche and Williston is in the process of acquiring the moniker " death highway"..... I do not believe you are comprehending the amount of materials and " big drilling equipment " that is being transported into North Dakota.... Rep. Olsons district encompasses more than just highway 20...

  17. Nick Nemec 2014.02.25

    How then would removing the roadside safety reflectors improve road safety?

  18. bret clanton 2014.02.25

    More room? A lot of the over width is 20 plus feet.

  19. Nick Nemec 2014.02.25

    I regularly move wide farm equipment, 20 feet easily fits between the center line and the reflectors. They aren't right on the edge of the road they're half way down the slope of the ditch. Clipping a reflector and paying a highway crew to replacing it is a minor expense compared to the added safety those reflectors provide.

  20. bret clanton 2014.02.25

    But with this bill it would not be a minor expense would it?

  21. chris 2014.02.25

    Does she have any family in the scrap metal business?

  22. Nick Nemec 2014.02.25

    Replacing missing reflectors is a minor expense, plus it would be a bigger expense pulling all the existing reflector posts. A life or two are saved because the reflectors kept someone on the road during low visibility conditions is a positive good and has financial value too. Do you also oppose the safety rumble strips DOT has started grinding on the edges of many highways.

  23. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.25

    Bret, I was thinking of hwy 20 because it's the only one that runs through Prairie City. You are right about the other ones.

  24. mike from iowa 2014.02.25

    Imagine the taxcuts for the wealthy if wingnuts pulled reflectors and posts. The koch bros could probably use that extra few pennies. Of a certainty it would be shipped offshore to avoid U S taxes,I'm thinking.

  25. bret clanton 2014.02.25

    Mr. Nemec if you want an argument with Rep. Olson get after it you are wasting your time with me. People were wondering her reasoning for removing reflector posts and I gave them one reason...

  26. cathy 2014.02.25

    Would it be possible to use flexible delineators on the problem roads? They are kinda freaky dancing in the wind at night, but it might be a reasonable compromise.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.26

    Cathy, can we get flexible reflector poles that will bend when pushed by a vehicle but not when pushed by the wind? (Engineers, I know we may be asking a lot in prairie wind.)

  28. Nick Nemec 2014.02.26

    Sorry Mr. Clanton I thought you were supporting her position. I need to fine tune my reading comprehension.

  29. Nick Nemec 2014.02.26

    After watching Olympic skiers and snowboarders hitting the gates on downhill runs I'm sure a reflector post with some sort of heavy duty spring-like hinge at the base would be an easy task. I don't know if the cost of special posts could be justified by money saved not having to repair hit posts. I chalk this bill up to the wild whims of one back bench representative.

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