South Dakota lawmakers advance competing strategies to ‘get on’ meth

South Dakota News

FILE – In this Jan. 2019 file photo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks in Pierre, S.D. Noem said in a statement Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, that as part of the state’s settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, the state will not enforce parts of the laws that made it a crime to direct or encourage others to “riot.” The ACLU sued over the laws, saying they infringed on free speech rights. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — As Gov. Kristi Noem tells South Dakotans she wants them to tackle increasing rates of meth addiction and meth-related arrests, lawmakers this year are looking to do their part.

They just can’t agree on the best approach.

The Republican-dominated Legislature has two weeks to pass its budget and bills, but a split remains on what should be prioritized: addiction treatment and helping people avoid incarceration or a tough-on-crime approach that gives law enforcement more leeway to threaten drug users with prison time.

Gov. Kristi Noem supports an emphasis on prevention, while the attorney general wants to scale back a controversial program that automatically grants probation to people with low-level drug felonies.

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