PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Disagreement over how the South Dakota Legislature should run itself turned up the temperature Monday in the state House of Representatives.
The plan is to eventually put most of the requirements in legislative rules instead. The bills now move to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Steven Haugaard called for House members to support each of them.
HB 1001 would repeal seven sections of state laws about basic procedures, such as choosing presiding officers for the House and the Senate.
The Sioux Falls Republican, who normally presides over the House as speaker, spoke from his desk on the House floor instead.
Haugaard acknowledged only one was specifically addressed in the South Dakota Constitution.
But he said the constitution gives the Legislature the authority to set rules for its processes.
“This doesn’t mean it’s not transparent,” Haugaard said.
He said the public could use the internet to read the rules and follow the rule-deliberation process.
Representative Jean Hunhoff, a Yankton Republican, offered an amendment to keep the first five of the seven sections that HB 1001 would repeal.
“Things change along the way,” Hunhoff said. “We don’t have a reason it’s not working.”
Representative Tim Rounds, a Pierre Republican, supported her. “We’ve got to let the public be involved in what we do up here,” Rounds said.
Representative Thomas Brunner, a Nisland Republican, said Haugaard’s answer satisfied him.
Representative Isaac Latterell, a Tea Republican, said the constitution puts the power with the Legislature to set its own rules.
“For me, this is a separation of powers issue,” Latterell said. He called for House members to defeat the amendment.
Representative Caleb Finck, a Tripp Republican, said the constitution already gives the Legislature the authority to do the things covered by the amendment.
“I thought this was a simple bill –” Haugaard began, as a few chuckles came from the gallery — “but apparently not.”
He argued the laws were unconstitutional because they bound future Legislatures.
“You can’t tell the next legislative body what they’re going to do,” he said.
Hunhoff’s amendment seemed to lose on a voice vote, but a roll call was requested before the House speaker pro tem, Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, brought down his gavel.
Her amendment eventually lost 22-45.
On 1003, Haugaard said the laws that would be repealed aren’t consistent with the process that’s been used for setting compensation of support staff for legislative session.