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South Dakota is one of a few states that don’t require mud flaps on trucks.

Bill mandating mud flaps causes a ‘flap’ for lawmakers

PIERRE, S.D.  — Legislation has been introduced that would require mud flaps on trucks capable of towing at least 10,000 pounds.

And despite efforts by the House Transportation Committee to kill the bill introduced by Republican Rep. David Kull, the panel wound up voting 7-5 to send an amended version of HB1212 to the full House of Representatives where debate could happen as soon as Thursday afternoon.

Kull told the committee the bill was not intended to be “heavy-handed,” adding that, “South Dakota is one of a few states that doesn’t have this kind of requirement.”

The KELO news story reported the bill exempts the requirement from the thousands of non-commercial trucks used for agriculture but was amended to require mud flaps on commercial

South Dakota Representative David Kull
Rep. David Kull (KELO)

trucks that haul animals, grain and other agricultural products.

The bill was supported by the South Dakota Trucking Association and the South Dakota Auto Dealers Association. Trevor Johnson, who lobbies for the two organizations, brought up the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that attracts hundreds of thousands of bikers each summer. “Flying debris poses a real threat to them,” he said.

The only opponent who testified was Deb Mortenson, representing Associated General Contractors, who build roads and buildings. She said it can be hard to keep mud flaps on construction equipment — “It just may not be possible to comply in the real world.”  She also questioned why (noncommercial) agricultural trucks would be exempt.

Kull said his goal is to give law enforcement the ability to issue warning tickets that turn into fines if the problem goes unaddressed. He said the driver would get the warning ticket, regardless of whether the driver owns the vehicle.

The committee’s chair, Republican Rep. Rocky Blare, said he wished that the state Department of Public Safety or DOT had sent someone to the hearing. “I like the proposal protecting my vehicle from other people,” he said, but added that he wasn’t ready to mandate mud flaps without more information.

Krohmer and May called for the bill to die, but their motion ended in a 6-6 deadlock, with Blare casting the tying vote. Democratic Rep. Eric Emery and Duffy then made a motion to recommend the bill’s passage and send it to the full House. When the second roll call reached Blare, he changed sides and voted yes.

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From left, Steve Westra, former Commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber, Lake Preston Mayor Andy Wienk and First Gentleman Bryon Noem participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking for Gevo’s Net-Zero 1 project near Lake Preston, S.D., Sept. 15, 2022. (Courtesy Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden/Twitter)

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