Term limits affect 13 S.D. legislators this year

Capitol News Bureau
KELO South Dakota capitol Pierre legislature

NOTE TO READERS: This story was updated to correct the age of a legislator. Reporter Bob Mercer apologizes for the error.

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The 2022 session that starts Tuesday marks the last time that some state lawmakers are serving in the South Dakota Legislature.

A baker’s dozen — five senators and eight representatives — are term-limited in their current chambers. Three currently are leaders of their Republican and Democrat caucuses in the Senate or the House.

South Dakota’s 105 lawmakers serve two-year terms. The South Dakota Constitution allows a legislator to be elected to the same chamber four consecutive terms. The Senate has 35 seats and the House of Representatives 70.

When legislators hit the limit, they can take a break, or run for election to a seat in the other chamber, or run for a different office, or retire altogether.

Two of the 13 who are term-limited this year are running for different office.

Senator Brock Greenfield, a Clark Republican, has been campaigning for his party’s nomination as state commissioner of school and public lands. The 46-year-old Greenfield served as the Senate’s top member from 2017 through 2020. This is his 22nd year as a South Dakota legislator.

Candidates for the school and public lands office are nominated by delegates at their parties’ summer conventions. The current commissioner, Ryan Brunner, is term-limited in that office. The South Dakota Constitution limits the governor and constitutional officers to two consecutive terms in the same office.

Representative Steve Haugaard, a Sioux Falls Republican, is running for the Republican nomination for governor. He’s competing against Governor Kristi Noem in the June Republican primary election. Haugaard, 65, previously served as House speaker in the 2019-2020 term. He is in his eighth year in the House.

Senate Democrat leader Troy Heinert of Mission is term-limited in the Senate. He doesn’t plan to run for any other office. Heinert, now 49, first won election to the House for the 2013-2014 term and moved over to the Senate in 2015. He became Senate Democrat leader in 2019 and is now in his 10th year as a South Dakota legislator.

Senate Republican leader Gary Cammack of Union Center is also term-limited in the Senate. Now 68, Cammack first won election to the House for the 2013-2014 term and moved over to the Senate in 2015. He was chosen the Senate’s top member in mid-2015 after the resignation of another senator. Other Republican senators chose him to be their leader for the 2021-2022 term.

House Republican leader Kent Peterson of Salem is term-limited in the House. Peterson, 41, is serving his eighth consecutive year. House Republicans chose him as their chamber’s assistant Republican leader for the 2017-2018 term. They picked him as their Republican leader for the 2021-2022 term.

Two other term-limited senators are R. Blake Curd of Sioux Falls and Art Rusch of Vermillion. Both are Republicans.

Curd, now 54, first spent the 2009-2010 term in the House. He ran in the 2010 Republican primary for the U.S. House nomination won by then-legislator-Kristi Noem. Governor Dennis Daugaard brought Curd back to the Capitol, with an appointment in mid-2013 to the Senate, following the resignation of Mark Johnston. Republican senators chose Curd as majority leader for the 2017-2018 term.

Rusch, now 75, has won election four consecutive times to the Senate. He is a retired circuit judge.

Other representatives who are term-limited in the House include:

David Anderson, 65, a Hudson Republican whom Gov. Daugaard appointed to fill a House vacancy in 2013;

Arch Beal, 66, a Sioux Falls Republican who served as assistant House Republican leader in 2019-2020;

Shawn Bordeaux, 54, a Mission Democrat, who serves the same legislative district as Heinert;

Lana Greenfield, 70, a Doland Republican. She is the mother of Brock Greenfield;

Sam Marty, 74, a Prairie City Republican. He is the brother of Representative Elizabeth Marty May; and

Mark Willadsen, 66, a Sioux Falls Republican. He has served a total of 15 years: 2005-2008; 2011-2012; and since mid-2014, when Governor Daugaard appointed him to fill a House vacancy.

Senator Timothy Johns, another long-time legislator who isn’t term-limited in the Senate, has announced he isn’t running again. Johns, 73, served eight years in the House and is in his first term in the Senate. He is a retired circuit judge who continues to practice law.

Brock Greenfield and Senator Jean Hunhoff, a Yankton Republican, are the longest-serving current legislators at 22 years. Hunhoff, 68, the Senate Appropriations Committee chair, is seeking re-election.

South Dakota voters added the legislative term limits in 1992. Nothing in South Dakota law bars a legislator from running for election again to the original chamber after changing chambers or sitting out.

Changing chambers, repeatedly, is how Greenfield and Hunhoff have continued as legislators.

Greenfield began in the Senate 2001-2008, switched to the House 2009-2014, and returned to the Senate 2015-2022.

Hunhoff started in the House 2001-2006, went to the Senate 2007-2014, switched back to the House 2015-2020, and returned to the Senate in 2021.

The record for longest service in the Legislature is 30 years, shared by five men, most recently Jim Dunn of Lead and Gordon Pederson of Wall. Dunn retired in 2000 and Pederson in 2008.

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