Measure allowing landowners to sue the state dies in House State Affairs committee
A bill allowing landowners to seek legal action against the state for damage done by prairie dogs died in the House State Affairs committee. House Bill 1168 was brought on behalf of several landowners in southwestern South Dakota. The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the state is immune from lawsuits under current statute.
Charles Kruze is a landowner and rancher who took part in the lawsuit. He says state law requires the Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Fish parks to provide control of prairie dogs and compensation for damage done by prairie dogs that move from public land to private land. Kruze says damage from prairie dogs has caused loss of livestock and severe hardship for him and his neighbors.
“And we as citizens can do nothing to our secretaries to hold them accountable to these laws because we can’t sue them. And that’s not right,” says Kruze.
Officials with the Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks say the problem is from mismanagement on Federal Lands. They say House Bill 1168 allows landowners to sue the state over a problem caused by the federal government.
House Bill 1168 was killed by vote of 9 to 4.
By Jackelyn Severin
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