A bill was proposed to the Student Government Association Tuesday that would allow people who received alcohol minors to essentially work the conviction off their record with a program run by the Clay County State’s Attorney, Teddi Gertsma.
The bill stated is someone received a minor, they would have the ability to try to avoid getting the offense on their permanent record through the completion of a series of proposed steps.
Vermillion Police Chief Matt Betzen said the diversion program would implement a trial run this year to see the amount of money needed. The numbers would then be presented for 2015.
The operations of the program will be at the discretion of Gertsma.
The bill has been brought to light to offer an alternative course of action for students after nearly three years of attempting to earn support for the Good Samaritan Alcohol Policy in Pierre by the South Dakota Student Federation.
“The reason behind the diversion program bill is to make students and people within the community feel safe because they have options,” said SGA Senator Rachelle Norberg, who proposed the bill.
Norberg and President Erik Muckey met with Betzen and with Clay County sheriff Andy Howe to develop the program. Norberg said she and other SGA members plan to meet with Gertsma to present the plan in the near future.
Muckey is looking to bring the bill forward in SGA quickly and pass it as soon as possible in order to meet with the state’s attorney.
Tuesday was the bill’s first reading. Muckey expressed interest in voting to skip the second reading and move forward with the bill. SGA voted to send it back to committee so senators can discuss the bill with students.