South Dakota mask mandate bill stifled on Senate floor

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 8:11 AM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A bill aimed at implementing a statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus in South Dakota died on the floor of the state Senate.

Lawmakers voted Thursday 25-7 to remove SB 125 from the Senate calendar, effectively killing the bill.

The bill faced a challenging hill to climb in the Republican-dominated state legislature. Many viewed it as a surprise when the bill advanced past the Health and Human Services committee on Wednesday. Several health care organizations, including the State Medical Association, the State Nursing Association, Sanford Health, and Avera Health all testified in support of the bill.

But the bill found little support on the floor of the Senate. President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R, Watertown) said the Senate only takes up bills that have a chance at passing.

Senator Reynold Nesiba (D, Sioux Falls) sponsored the bill. It included language similar to Sioux Falls’ mask mandate, and had no penalty for non-compliance.

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