Free Obits Bill Killed In S.D.

By: Jim Rosenberg

The South Dakota House of Representatives’ Commerce Committee voted 11-1 last week to reject compelling newspapers to print free obituaries.

In what South Dakota Newspaper Association General Manager Dave Bordewyk said was another version of a previously defeated bill, publishers would have been able to charge only for obituary copy exceeding six column-inches.

Introduced by representatives of both parties from Sioux Falls, the bill reflected their unhappiness with a decision by the city’s Argus Leader to charge for obituaries.

Besides objecting to intrusion on private business, Bordewyk said the bill failed to specify how type size, column width, and photos could affect the length limit.

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