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Council Approves 2014 Legislative Priorities

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Each year, the Sioux Falls City Council puts together a list of legislative priorities they want to see passed in Pierre. The list for 2014, ranges from guns, to texting, to alcohol. So how could these priorities affect you?

These priorities have either been on the list before, or have come up as an issue that council members want to deal with in Sioux Falls. Council members said while a few of these may make people upset and think the council is trying to take away their rights, members said that is not their intention.

Councilman Dean Karsky said, "We like think that if you keep government at a local level, it works best rather than from up higher."

On the list is a state-wide texting ban, which Karsky said takes away that local control the council is trying to achieve.

"I don't know if its right for the state to say nobody should text, when I really think it should be up to the local communities to decide," Karsky said.

However, Councilman Rex Rolfing said if 14 cities in the state already have bans imposed, why not just have it state-wide to keep everyone safer.

“If nothing else it will limit the amount of people who will even think about texting while they are driving." Rolfing said.
Another priority on the list is giving cities the authority to restrict guns or any other weapon in municipal buildings.

 "I think this is a no brainer," Rolfing said.

Rolfing said the council isn't trying to limit who can or cannot carry a gun. He said if federal and state buildings have the ban in place, city buildings should too. But Karsky said while he likes the idea of being able to ban guns in Carnegie Hall for example, he doesn't want to take away anyone's rights.
“Our second amendment rights weigh very heavily on your mind when you are doing these types of things," Karsky explained.

But there's one priority both agree on.

"There's a weird law in the State of South Dakota that taxi cabs, for $100, can basically have an open bar in their back seat," Rolfing explained.

Rolfing said the law is just 'asking for trouble.'

“You know there are some things you can laugh about, but at the same time you shake your head at and just ask why," Karsky said.

Another priority is increasing the number of months a business must go without having an alcohol violation from 24 to 36. Council members said that will help them deal with those who constantly sell to minors, and could result in the council not renewing their liquor license.

A fifth priority is to be able to locally control taxation.

From here, the council will meet with South Dakota State Representatives and Senators to share these priorities. The South Dakota Municipal League will write the policies and present them in Pierre.
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