PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Division between Republicans erupted Friday in the South Dakota House of Representatives, as lawmakers disagreed on whether the Government Operations and Audit Committee should have independent authority to issue subpoenas, and whether $200 million of state and federal aid for housing infrastructure should get final legislative approval.
The hot GOAC fight will be on the House debate calendar Monday afternoon, after a 37-32 vote resurrected HB-1001. “It came from the GOAC committee itself, in its entirety,” Republican Rep. Chris Karr said, urging representatives to keep it alive.
House Republican leader Will Mortenson said the GOAC bill received a fair hearing in House State Affairs Committee and was killed there 9-3. “This is why we have committees,” Mortenson said.
The housing fight over SB-41 also resumes Monday afternoon. This year’s version rolled through the Senate last week, but the House is the trouble spot again, just like last year.
Republican Rep. John Mills offered a total rewrite Friday that would have turned the $200 million into aid to county governments to use for whatever they wanted. “The amendment’s about local control,” Mills said. “We have time. Let’s take the time.”
Republican Rep. Roger Chase, who chaired the housing study two years ago that led to the push in 2022 for the $200 million, disagreed. “Not every county is growing and needing that money,” Chase said about the Mills amendment. He criticized it: “To me it would just be a great cash-drop and wouldn’t be thought out.”
After the Mills amendment failed on an 18-51 vote, Republican Rep. Liz May offered an amendment to strip the emergency clause, so that the legislation — if it passes — would need to wait until July 1 to take effect, rather than immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature. A decision on the May amendment was put on hold until Monday, through a motion known as rule 5-17.
The 2023 version of that rule says, “Final action upon any amendment to a bill or resolution may not be had until the next legislative day, if a request for delay is made and is supported by at least one-fifth of the members.” The rule previously required one intervening day.
The housing money appears to need a two-thirds majority of 47 for approval in the House. When it went through the Senate 29-2 last Friday, the ruling there was a two-thirds majority of 24 was needed.