S.D. Attorney General Brings Legislation to 2014 Session
The items are in response to the proliferation of certain crimes occurring within the state’s borders. One other item involves changes to a system used by victims of crimes.
Methamphetamine use, Human trafficking and Child Pornography are growing according to the Attorney General and tougher laws are needed to protect victims and prevent future crimes. Further protections for consumers and penalties for perpetrators in that field are also needed. In the realm of livestock inspections, the goal is more flexibility to account for different types and severity of infractions. The other subject involves the to continue the efficiency of SAVIN, which is a network designed to help victims of crimes.
For a complete synopsis of Jackley’s explanations read more below.
1. Child Pornography and Human Trafficking Forfeiture Bill. Consistent with the national trend, South Dakota is experiencing an increase in sexual crimes including internet crimes against children and human trafficking affecting children. “In an effort to strengthen South Dakota’s resolve to protect victims of internet crimes against children and human trafficking, I am proposing that monies used in furtherance of these horrific sex crimes be taken and used for preventive efforts and victims,” said Attorney General Jackley. These forfeiture provisions provide protection for innocent third party assets and are modeled after South Dakota’s drug forfeiture scheme which has withstood repeated constitutional challenges. South Dakota law currently allows for persons committing child pornography and other listed sex crimes to forfeit property rights when used in furtherance of a crime. However, there are currently no statutory procedures for forfeitures, which this bill seeks to remedy.
2. Methamphetamine. South Dakota is experiencing a significant increase in the number of meth lab incidences as well as meth arrests. “As Attorney General, I do not support requiring a doctor’s prescription for basic cold medicine. The more reasonable approach is to utilize electronic record keeping of information already being provided in order to address inappropriate use of cold medicine for methamphetamine manufacturing,” said Attorney General Jackley. Cold medicines containing Pseudoephedrine are often utilized in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. South Dakota law currently provides for a written record keeping system for the sale of Pseudoephedrine products that cannot be efficiently checked by either retailers or law enforcement. The proposed legislation addresses the problem through electronic record keeping and further allows for a waiver if a retailer does not have these electronic capabilities. There will be no additional cost to the retailers, consumers or taxpayers for the electronic record keeping system being funded by the industry.
3. Strengthening Consumer Protection Laws. Last year the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division received approximately 20,000 consumer related complaints and recovered over 11 million dollars for South Dakota consumers. Most of South Dakota’s consumer protection laws have not been updated since their inception in 1971. “This legislation is aimed to better protect our consumers and legitimate businesses from annoying and costly scam artists by addressing new technologies and strengthening enforcement provisions for deceptive acts,” said Attorney General Jackley. This summer, the Attorney General formed a consumer protection working group consisting of over 70 stakeholders including consumers, business owners, affected interest groups and legislators. The Attorney General would like to thank the stakeholders as well as working group Chairman Senator Ernie Otten and Vice Chair Person Representative Peggy Gibson for their work on these matters. Based upon input from the working group, the Attorney General is proposing a number of amendments including:
a. Increasing the punishments for deceptive acts committed on both consumers and businesses;
b. Prohibiting unordered merchandise or bills from being sent to consumers;
c. Amending the criminal knowledge requirement in committing a deceptive act to bring our statute in line with the other 49 states;
d. Allowing the Attorney General’s Consumer Division to collect attorney fees in consumer protection cases; and
e. Adding debit cards to the theft of credit card statutes.
The Attorney General is further proposing new statutes to protect consumers and legitimate businesses from organized retail theft crime. The proposed law addressed the theft of retail merchandise from a store and reselling the merchandise.
4. 24/7 Sobriety Program. “This legislation will strengthen South Dakota 24/7 Sobriety Program by helping it to remain an offender pay program that has proven to reduce alcohol related offenses,” said Attorney General Jackley. Currently, fees for electronic alcohol device testing (SCRAM) are collected by the Clerk of Courts and all testing fees are established by administrative rule. To promote efficiency, the bill allows the local sheriff’s offices to collect and deposit fees for electric alcohol device testing. Further, the bill establishes maximum fees (caps) for testing and allows the Attorney General, with yearly input from the local sheriffs, to modify the current fee structure within the stated caps. Finally, the bill modifies the current administrative rule governing ignition interlock reporting requirements. This method of testing was authorized in 2011 and testing has successfully gone statewide in 2012. The modification is based upon local sheriff’s offices experience in administering the ignition interlock test.
5. SAVIN. The Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification system created in 2013 provided for the establishment of a system to ensure the proper notification of victims by the criminal justice system. “The SAVIN system is being designed to use technology to assist in providing victims and the public more timely information about criminal cases and the process,” said Jackley. The Attorney General is proposing changes to improve the system’s efficiency to allow for electronic notification, which would include telephonic, electronic mail, text messaging, and facsimile transmittal, when a victim who chooses to participate notifies either the prosecutor or the Department of Corrections.
6. Citations for certain livestock inspection violations. “The proposed legislation seeks a more practical and balanced approach to addressing potential brand law violations. The legislation would authorize law enforcement to issue a summons, similar to a traffic citation, for misdemeanor violations of the livestock ownership inspection laws,” said Jackley. When officers discover misdemeanor violations of ownership inspection laws, current law gives the officer two choices. The officer can take that person into custody, but since there are often loaded livestock involved, taking the violator into custody may well create unnecessary hardship on the individual and additional taxpayer expenses. The alternative is to gather the information on the violation, let the potential violator go, and take the evidence of the violation to a prosecutor for preparation of a summons or arrest warrant to be served on the violator. The proposed legislation authorizes the officer a third option to issue a ticket, and is modeled on existing statutes authorizing tickets for violations of Title 32 (Motor Vehicles) and Title 41 (Game, Fish, Parks and Forestry). The potential violator then can either pay the ticket or has the right to challenge the citation requiring the offense to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.