This bill sets mandatory minimum sentences for some meth-related crimes. Mandatory minimums are statutory provisions attached to charges in the criminal code that require a court to sentence the defendant to a minimum term of years upon conviction. Mandatory minumums take away a judge’s discretion to determine what is appropriate in each individual case and needlessly increase costs without improving public safety.
This bill increases the potential punishment for certain meth-related crimes to 15 – 50 years in prison. According to a Legislative Research Council estimate, SB 63 imposes a major financial burden on the state, costing the state an additional $4,701,245 over ten years in prison costs, and $161,873 in jail costs over ten years.
2/15/18 UPDATE: The South Dakota Senate on Thursday afternoon passed SB 63. This bill will increase the penalties for dealing or manufacturing more than five grams of methamphetamine. Senate Bill 63 passed on a 20-9 vote after senators adopted an amendment introduced by Sen. Lance Russell, R-Hot Springs, that eliminated all provisions dealing with Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. The amended bill, which now heads to the House, focuses only on meth, and the penalties would only apply to those arrested with more than five grams of the drug.