Senate OKs advertising inside welcome-centers on interstates

January 24, 2018 GMT

The state Department of Tourism should be allowed to contract for advertising displays in welcome-centers on South Dakota’s two interstate highways, the state Senate decided Tuesday.

Senators voted 33-1 to send SB 59 across the Capitol to the House of Representatives for the next round of deliberations.

The measure carries support from Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Sen. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, did much of the talking Tuesday in favor of giving authority to the department to pursue sponsors.

The welcome-centers might be the only places where travelers interact while in South Dakota, he said.

The department plans to spend the revenue on maintaining the centers, deputy secretary Wanda Goodman told a Senate committee Monday.

Frerichs said the exhibits would “put a bigger spotlight” on South Dakota. He noted the Wilmot welcome-center along I-29 is six miles “as the crow flies” from his farm and ranch and has a great view of the Whetstone valley.

Sen. Jeff Partridge, R-Rapid City, asked Frerichs whether South Dakota was “walking into something” at the federal level that would restrict state government in the future.

“These are still state facilities,” Frerichs said. “These are not owned by the interstate system or anything else.”

Frerichs told Partridge he “wouldn’t worry about strings attached to us allowing advertising” at the centers.

The 2012 federal highway act passed by Congress authorized expansions and remodeling along interstates, noted Sen. Jim Stalzer, R-Sioux Falls.

In other action, the Senate approved the expanded definition of historic vehicles sought by Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen.

SB 72 would add trucks, pickups, vans and retired fire trucks to the cars already in state law. Senators voted 34-0 to send it to the House.