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State ex rel Jackley v. City of Colman

October 27, 2010

STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, EX REL, MARTY J. JACKLEY AND ASSOCIATED SCHOOL BOARDS OF SOUTH DAKOTA, INC., PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLEES,
v.
CITY OF COLMAN, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT MOODY COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA HONORABLE TIM D. TUCKER Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Meierhenry, Justice

ARGUED ON AUGUST 25, 2010

[¶1.] The question in this case is whether a city can enforce its speed limit ordinance, instead of state law, on a state trunk highway and thereby direct the fine to city coffers rather than local school districts. This question was brought to the South Dakota Attorney General's attention after the City of Colman, South Dakota, ticketed speeders on State Highway 34 with a city ordinance violation rather than a state law violation. The Attorney General notified Colman that the city did not have authority to enforce the city's speed limit ordinance on the state highway. Colman rejected the Attorney General's opinion and filed an action for declaratory judgment in circuit court. The circuit court agreed with the Attorney General. Colman appeals. We affirm and hold that Colman does not have authority to enforce its city ordinance rather than state law.

[¶2.] Highway 34 is part of the state trunk highway system and passes through Colman's city limits. The speed limit on Highway 34 is set by state law and violations are classified as misdemeanors. See SDCL 32-25-7. Colman's city council enacted city ordinance 10.0201, which duplicated the state speed limit and penalty classification. See SDCL 32-25-7. When enforcing the speed limit, Colman's law enforcement officers ticketed speeders with a city ordinance violation rather than a state law violation.*fn1

[¶3.] The main difference between enforcing the city ordinance rather than state law lies in the distribution of the fine proceeds. South Dakota law directs that 65 percent of fines collected from city violations go to the city treasury and 35 percent to the State. SDCL 16-2-34. In contrast, 100 percent of the fines collected from state law violations go to school districts in the county where the fine is assessed. S.D. Const. art. VIII, § 3.*fn2

[¶4.] Colman claims it has statutory authority to enforce its own ordinance rather than state law. Colman gleans its authority from the following four statutes: SDCL 9-31-1; SDCL 9-31-3; SDCL 9-29-1; and, SDCL 32-14-5. The first statute, SDCL 9-31-1, gives a city the power to regulate the use of certain vehicles. It provides that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided, every [city] may regulate the use of motor vehicles, bicycles, house cars, house trailers, trailer coaches, traction engines, tractors, and road rollers." Id.

The second statute, SDCL 9-31-3, grants a city the power to regulate the speed of vehicles. It provides that "[e]very [city] shall have power to regulate the speed of animals, vehicles, motor vehicles, cars, and locomotives." Id.

The third statute, SDCL 9-29-1, gives a city the power to enforce its ordinances within, and one mile surrounding, the city limits.*fn3 Id.

Finally, SDCL 32-14-5 provides cities with limited regulatory authority for "traffic on highways under their jurisdiction." Id.*fn4 Colman claims these statutes, collectively, demonstrate that the Legislature "intended to empower [cities] with the authority to regulate traffic over all territory within their corporate limits."

[¶5.] In analyzing Colman's claim, we continue to apply our longstanding rule that cities have only those powers expressly granted to them by the Legislature. Elkjer v. City of Rapid City, 2005 S.D. 45, ¶ 9, 695 N.W.2d 235, 239.

"A grant of authority includes those incidental or implied powers that are necessary to enable a municipality to perform the function authorized." Id.

(citations omitted). Because cities have "no inherent powers, and none of the attributes of sovereignty," the scope of their implied powers falls under "a reasonably strict standard." Id.

"Whatever latitude these implied powers might include will depend upon the circumstances of each case." Id.

[ΒΆ6.] We acknowledge that the four statutes Colman relies on give a city the power to regulate certain traffic within its jurisdiction. But we must view the city's limited jurisdiction in the context of the broader jurisdictional scheme of the state highway system. The Legislature categorizes state highways as: (1) municipal streets ...


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