PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — There’s a new restriction for the South Dakota Legislature.
The 105 lawmakers will be barred from conducting outside personal business on state-provided devices and email accounts. The ban applies to the Legislature’s staff and consultants as well.
The Legislature’s Executive Board adopted the change Tuesday as part of a broader technology policy. The 12-2 vote means lawmakers will have to stop blending official and personal emails into single streams and can no longer do private business on their state tablets.
Senators Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, and Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, spoke against the change. Schoenbeck, a lawyer who chairs the board this year, has been using his personal device for legislative matters. “It would be a sea change for legislators,” Schoenbeck said.
Cammack said he combines legislative and personal emails. He wanted the technology policy adopted without the restriction. After that attempt failed, Representative Hugh Bartels, R-Watertown, called for approving the technology policy with the restriction.
Bartels, who’s still active in the banking business, said he keeps legislative emails and banking emails separate on his state device but combines them on his personal phone. That requires him to authenticate the account on his phone every 45 minutes.
“I would not recommend a legislator do personal business on the LRC device,” Bartels said. As to keeping business and legislative matters separate, he said, “It’s good policy, because you don’t know what’s coming.”
But Schoenbeck predicted that about 100 legislators would violate the ban and about five would follow it. “Just so you know, this is a chaos deal,” Schoenbeck said. He suggested an email be sent to notify legislators about the change.
Elijah Rodgriguez manages informational technology for the Legislature. “It’s very helpful for the IT team that you adopted these policies,” Rodriguez said.