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Bill to delay municipal elections to be considered

Photo b y Perry Miller
From a South Dakota Newswatch story by Bart Pfankuch and Nick Lowery

South Dakota lawmakers will consider a bill to delay municipal elections scheduled for April in Brookings, Sioux Falls, and other cities, and to give Gov. Kristi Noem the power to delay the June 2 presidential primary until late July due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The election bill is one of several measures lawmakers may consider on the final day of the 2020 legislative session today to respond to the coronavirus that is slowly spreading across the state.

Among the the other bills proposed on Friday:  measures that would speed delivery of unemployment benefits; require treatment of anyone with COVID-19; give the governor, health secretary and counties more authority in the crisis; allow for education standards to be changed; exempt schools from standardized testing and extend driver’s license expiration dates.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss and vote on bills remotely by using communication technology that will allow them to take action without gathering in-person in Pierre.

The election bill would require the governing bodies of each city, county or school board with an election scheduled between April 14 and May 26 to choose any Tuesday in June as a replacement date for their election. Those governments could opt to hold their postponed election in conjunction with the June 2 statewide primary if the governor does not delay that election.