PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — An unusual coalition of South Dakota Democrats and conservative Republicans has narrowly rejected a bill that would have barred people convicted of low-level drug felonies from receiving probation-only sentences if they refused to cooperate with law enforcement.
The bill, which was backed by the state’s conservative Republican attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg, was narrowly passed by the state Senate last week. But it was voted down Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.
Lawmakers are searching for ways to curb what they describe as an epidemic of meth addiction in South Dakota, but they disagree on whether the state’s limited funds would be better spent on treating addiction or locking up users.