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New Laws Take Effect Today; Noem Postpones Teen Driver Law A Year

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A number of new laws take effect today in most states, including Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

New South Dakota laws passed by the legislature earlier this year and becoming effective today include tougher human trafficking laws that also provide a path to a clean record for trafficking victims with convictions for crimes they were forced to commit while minors.

The state’s Move Over law got strengthened to a Class 1 misdemeanor with provisions that include more than doubling the minimum fine to $270 and requiring drivers to move over for authorized vehicles that use a blue light while working on a highway.

Drivers who use their cellphones can be pulled over and ticketed purely for that as it moves to a primary offense. It’s also now a Class 2 misdemeanor to use a cellphone while driving except in an emergency, to use a GPS app, or read or enter a phone number.

Other new South Dakota laws reform the rules and procedures for occupational licenses, provide paid family leave for state employees, and streamline the county zoning and appeals process.

Originally scheduled to take effect today but postponed for a year by Gov Kristi Noem is a law making it a little tougher for teens to get driver’s licenses, including requiring them to have a permit for 275 days instead of the current 180.

Noem says she suspended its effective date because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and the impact the new law would have on the backlog at driver’s license offices across the state.