Six of South Dakota’s statewide elected offices would get special salary increases under plan

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A panel of state lawmakers gave a thumbs-up Monday to paying more to South Dakota state government’s six statewide constitutional elected officials.

The House State Affairs Committee amended and then recommended HB 1232 pass 11-2. The legislation would be up for debate in the full House of Representatives as early as Wednesday.

If both chambers agree and the measure becomes state law, here’s how each of the current salaries would change for the various constitutional offices, effective July 1, 2023:

Governor $118,728.04 to $130,000.

Attorney general $118,603.03 to $125,000.

Secretary of State, state auditor, state treasurer, and commissioner of school and public lands $94,906.79 to $113,000.

They would receive standard pay increases in subsequent years that correspond with percentages for other state government employees.

Ryan Brunner presented the bill. He can’t seek election in 2022 for a third consecutive time as state lands commissioner because of state term limits.

Brunner said the proposed amounts were based on North Dakota’s pay for similar offices and on the $110,684.27 that South Dakota’s three Public Utilities Commission members currently are each paid.

The increases were supported by South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association lobbyist Steve Siegel. No one testified as an opponent.

One of the “no” votes came from Representative Tim Goodwin. The Rapid City-area Republican questioned the timing. “We’re in a pandemic right now. The public is hurting,” he said.

Brunner said a 2011 decision by then-Governor Dennis Daugaard to cut the governor’s pay 10% as part of an austerity drive was a reason the governor would get a somewhat larger raise under the current proposal.

The committee also recommended 12-0 legislation that would require the state attorney general to be a lawyer. Representative Bethany Soye described HB 1197 as “a cleanup bill.”

“I think it speaks for itself,” the lawyer said. It could be up for House consideration as early as Tuesday afternoon. Noted Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, “I think it’s a good bill.”

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