PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — New legislation filed Wednesday would require that the South Dakota Legislature’s Executive Board receive notice of any state or federal lawsuit regarding the constitutionality or validity of South Dakota’s election laws and then decide whether to become involved.

The legislation also would let the board obtain legal counsel other than the state attorney general to represent the Legislature in any action in which the board intervenes. The cost would be paid from a special fund appropriated by the Legislature.

Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck and Republican Rep. Mike Stevens are the prime sponsors of SB-116. Both men are long-time lawyers.

Schoenbeck told KELOLAND News no current or past South Dakota case or issue led to the legislation.

“It’s because it’s happened in other states,” Schoenbeck said. “They (those state’s officials) are changing the election laws and their legislatures are not involved.”

He said the proposal has been through a half-dozen drafts. The Senate State Affairs Committee will set the first hearing date.

The legislation would require a party to any state or federal lawsuit regarding South Dakota’s election laws to notify the state Legislative Research Council’s executive director within 14 days of filing the pleading with the court.

The Legislature’s Executive Board would then decide whether to intervene in the action on behalf of the Legislature — and could change that decision at any time in the action.

The legislation says the board would have to give specific approval to settle the action or “consent to any compromise, decree, agreement, or judgment.”

The board’s specific approval also would be needed for the governor, secretary of state, or any other officer of the executive branch to enter into a consent decree or other agreement with any state or federal court, or with any other party, regarding the enforcement of election law or the alteration of election procedure.