Noem signs county zoning streamlining, 14 other bills


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday signed 15 bills from the South Dakota Legislature, including a law to streamline the county permit process.

The Republican governor spent a considerable amount of effort in this year's legislative session pushing a proposal to streamline the permitting process for feedlots and other projects. She cast the overhaul as a part of her focus on economic development, arguing it would allow people to start profitable projects in rural communities. The proposal makes wide-ranging changes to how counties decide on permits.

Noem also signed a bill to give people the option to take the written portion of the driver's license exam in Spanish. She gave lawmakers the go-ahead to examine the state's public universities. The legislation requires the Board of Regents to assemble a task force with at least eleven members, including four legislators. It paves the way for a potential shake up in public universities.

The governor has vetoed two bills so far this year. The Legislature is scheduled to meet for one day at the end of March to consider overriding those vetoes. Noem said lawmakers could also adjust the state budget due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new laws take effect in July.

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