2022 S.D. Legislature: Good representation requires people with 'political will'

By: 
District 2 Rep. Steve Haugaard

The Legislature continues its work throughout the summer with various ‘summer studies’ and with ongoing meetings of the Joint Committee on Appropriations. This year we are continuing to review the authorized and necessary use of the federal money being showered upon us from Washington. The federal legislation passed in the aftermath of COVID-19 has various dates by which the money is to be ‘allocated’ and ‘disbursed’. We will continue to review that information and the ongoing promulgated rules to ensure that the money is spent as wisely as possible.  

“In other news”, there was an article this past week concerning the actions of the Senate stemming from the last legislative day in 2020, which was March 30-31, 2020, otherwise known as ‘veto day’.

The significance of that legislative day was the fact that tremendously important legislation was brought to the Legislature by the Governor’s office. But, nearly overshadowing that was the fact that the day ended with two intoxicated Senators returning to the Capitol for what was probably the most important legislative day in South Dakota’s history. We were in the midst of an international emergency, and we were being called upon by the Governor’s office to take extreme action to shift the authority for decision making from the Executive and the Legislative branches to the mayors and county commissioners across the state as well as the Secretary of Health. IF THAT HAD BEEN DONE, we would have been closed down as tight as a drum, AND we would have ended up with a patchwork quilt of jurisdictional issues with varying terms of expiration, or very long terms before expiration. Thankfully, 29 of us in the House of Representatives stood firm and rejected that abrogation of authority.  

Sadly, the Governor gave into the calls and complaints from mayors and county commissioners and issued her own Executive Orders, which did much the same, but under the auspices of the Governor. Her Executive Orders required ALL South Dakotans to comply with the CDC guidance, and that is why we did see closures of the schools, churches, and businesses.

Now, back to the “other news” and its importance. Given the nature of the action of the Senate, which was to contrive a biased committee and sweep the problem ‘under the rug’, the question now becomes “Can the Senate honestly conduct an Impeachment Trial?” I encourage each of you to review that article and consider whether it is possible to find “fair and impartial” triers of fact for the impeachment.  

In addition to that, the current division within the Republican party and those with whom the Governor is working can be traced to some of the key players in that charade. She has joined forces with Senator Lee Schoenbeck (according to his statement) and she has appointed one of those Senators, Jeff Partridge, to serve on the Board of Regents and she also appointed him to serve as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management. Both positions require people of high integrity, something which was not demonstrated in those Senate disciplinary proceedings. It is time for accountability.

We have a lot of work to do to get our state’s political system and leaders back on track and in a position to demonstrate to the public, and especially to our children, that Lladers need to practice principles and principles will never steer you wrong.  

As you can see, political foolishness and ambition is compromising the best interests of the people of the state.  The voters need to take a hard look at what their elected officials and candidates have done and are claiming to do. All elections are important, and it does take some effort to find out what the candidates really stand for.  Informed voting requires study. Good representation requires people with “political will” and a desire to serve the best interests of South Dakota.

Please go to www.sdlegislature.gov to see what else is coming up in state government in the days ahead. 

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