SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Senate bill that would transfer the ownership of nine historic cemeteries in the Black Hills from the U.S. Forest Service to local communities has passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sens. Tim Johnson and John Thune introduced the bill earlier this year and it's now headed to the main Senate floor.

Johnson says transferring the cemeteries to the local communities that have been long maintaining and caring for them makes a lot of sense. He says the bill is a permanent solution.

Thune says the current arrangement causes headaches for the caretaking communities that have managed the cemeteries for generations and places an unnecessary liability on the Forest Service.

An identical bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem.

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