Local News

(KCCR) -- A bill, dropped Friday during the final day for unlimited bill introductions, during this year’s legislative session would allow non-commercial driver’s licenses to be printed in Spanish.  The bill is sponsored by Senator Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls who, joined Democratic legislative leaders during their weekly press conference last week…





“It has bi-partisan support.  It has the support of the Sioux Falls Chamber, the Rapid City Chamber, the State Chamber, contractors; the Municipal League is going to join us as well.  It will allow driver’s licenses, non-commercial driver’s licenses in Spanish.  It’s been a workforce development issue, particularly in Sioux Falls, for those doing construction being able to simply hand the keys to the van to be able to drive to the work site and not being able to do it because they don’t have a driver’s license, a South Dakota driver’s license.”


Nesiba say South Dakota is one of six states that print licenses in English only…





“What this bill would do is…it would…its permissive in that it, there’s an early part of statue that prohibits, it says that English is the official language of South Dakota, so it carves out an exception for that.  It directs the Department of Public Safety to offer it only in Spanish, no other languages.  Just Spanish seems like it’s the most pressing issue, so if we need another language you’ll have to have another statute.”


It would give the state two years to implement…





“Directs the Department of Public Safety to be able pay for it and gives them until January 1st of 2021 to be able to do the translation.  To have the Bureau of Information and Technology be able to translate the code…most of our bigger cities, people use a computer system to take the exam.  Some of our smaller communities if you take the county, ah they use a paper exam, give them 2 years to work that out so, I’m hopeful for that.  It’s just really a workforce issue for us in South Dakota and it has bi-partisan support and I’m hoping folks come around on that.” 


Senate Bill 117 is being sponsored by 31 members of the Legislature including 12 Senators and 19 Representatives and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.