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House bill would cut speed limits on Interstates during bad weather

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A house bill would reduce the speed limit on Interstates during bad weather. 

PIERRE | The state House of Representatives agreed Tuesday speed limits could be temporarily reduced on South Dakota’s interstate highways during rough weather or other difficult conditions.

The vote was 52-16 to give authority to the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Public Safety after consulting with the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

HB 1008 now goes to the Senate.

“Wyoming has been successful with this in the past,” Rep. Roger Chase, R-Huron, told House members.

He said interstate crashes went down by one-half in Wyoming. Normal speeds “can be quickly restored” when conditions improve, he said.

The proposal would be tested on I-90 in western South Dakota between Sturgis and Tilford and on I-29 between Brookings and Ward.

Chase said the cost is estimated at $1.3 million to install electronic signs and make other changes along the two stretches, including the on-ramps. No one else spoke.

A key point of the bill says, “Differing speed limits may be established for varying weather conditions and any other factor that has a bearing on a safe speed.”

House members also approved clarifying the legal authority for the state Department of Revenue to mail license plates to motor-vehicle owners. HB 1066 now goes to the Senate.

It would require county treasurers to have the eight most-common versions of license plates at their offices while the state department handles the 119 other specialty plates.

Rep. Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, said state law now is silent on mailing fees. The legislation would put revenue received by the state into the state motor-vehicle fund. She said county treasurers were surveyed.

“By an eight to one margin they do support this bill,” Duvall said.

Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-Doland, asked who gets the money from the specialty plates.

“License fees go to the counties," Duvall said.

The vote was 67-1 in favor. The only nay came from Rep. Lance Carson, R-Mitchell.

“I knew there was a reason we had to keep it off consent,” House Speaker Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, said.

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