IMPEACHMENT, DAY 2: Speaker Spencer Gosch in his role as presiding officer for the state House has decided, for now, how he prefers the chamber to handle the impeachment proceeding against state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
In a news release Wednesday night, Gosch said he would offer an amendment to HCR 7001 that would appoint a committee of 10 to investigate whether Ravnsborg’s conduct involved “impeachable offenses” surrounding the death of Joe Boever on September 12, 2020.
South Dakota and North Dakota investigators determined the car Ravnsborg was driving struck and killed Boever who was walking on the north shoulder of U.S. 14 just west of Highmore. The Hyde County deputy state’s attorney announced February 18 she was charging Ravnsborg with three second-class misdemeanors that each is punishable by up to 30 days in county jail and a $500 fine.
Gosch said the committee would have all the powers available to a legislative panel including authority to subpoena witnesses to appear and testify. He wants the committee to recommend how the House should proceed by Monday, March 29. That is the final scheduled day of the 2021 legislative session.
He acknowledged that his proposal might not be final. “This idea is working its way through the process and is subject to change,” the statement’s last sentence said.
LEGAL PROTECTION: State senators on Wednesday rejected a proposal from Red Dawn Foster that would have broadened the definitions for hate crimes in South Dakota.
She offered legislation to add “perceived” to the definition of race and to add “disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or identification as a Native American Two-Spirit” which would have been defined as “a culturally and spiritually distinct gender traditionally recognized among Native American nations.”
Meanwhile, the House this week by a wide margin approved legislation that would effectively ban transgender students from competing in high school girls sports.
LONG WAY LEFT: Today’s House debate calendar runs three pages. Normally a list of 36 bills and resolutions wouldn’t be overly newsworthy, but on the session calendar this is crossover day, the point in the legislative process where all non-spending bills must clear their first chamber.
Lawmakers have the ability, with a two-thirds majority, to suspend a rule. The House has scheduled its work to start at 1:30 p.m. CT today. We’ll find out how late the representatives decide to stay before hitting the road for three days off.
The Senate calendar for today has nine non-spending bills that would have to be debated and acted on, unless the crossover deadline is suspended. Senators convene at 1 p.m. CT.