After a lengthy discussion and an objection that the hearing was cut off after an hour and a half, the state House judiciary committee sent the governor's justice system reform bill to the floor for final debate.
Senate Bill 70, Improve Public Safety, is an attempt to whittle down the number of people in the state's prison system. According to a task force report, if unchecked, South Dakota's prison population will balloon ... causing the state to have to build two more prisons and spend more than $200 million.
The goal is to put non-violent criminals, which make up more than half of the state's prison population, into programs rather than prisons.
Governor Dennis Daugaard made this bill his main focus of this year's state of the state address on the opening day of the 2013 legislative session.