PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - State Sen. Jason Frerichs of Wlimot says the atmosphere in this year's South Dakota legislative session is less divisive than in previous years.
Frerichs, who is leader of the Senate's Democratic minority, says lawmakers and the public were divided two years ago by Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard's proposed budget cuts. He says people were divided again last year by the governor's proposal to make big changes in the education system.
Frerichs says Republicans and Democrats start this year's legislative session with what he calls a clean slate. He is optimistic lawmakers can cooperate on many issues.
Daugaard's major proposal this year is to cut prison costs by treating more offenders outside prison walls with intensive supervision programs. Lawmakers in both parties have praised the idea.
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