Unable to find a GOP vote, Senate Democrat leader says ‘uncle’ on governor’s merger plan

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Troy Heinert decided Tuesday against taking another run at trying to stop the Republican governor’s plan to merge two state government departments into a new Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Senate Democrat leader fell one yea short Monday as senators voted 17-18 on his resolution of disapproval. Heinert immediately gave notice of his intent to reconsider. He already had the support of the two other Democrats. But no other Republican would agree Tuesday to join his side.

“Yesterday we missed that vote just by one,” Heinert told the other 34 Tuesday afternoon. “After conversations with many of you today — and I appreciate the support that you showed me yesterday and throughout the discussion — I just don’t think that we have the votes to calendar this today.

“I appreciate all the people who have emailed and tried to get us to see things their way, but at this time rather than suffer another defeat I think I’ll rescind that motion.”

Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, who had served as the interim secretary of agriculture for Governor Kristi Noem after the resignation of Kim Vanneman last year, had the gavel in his role as Senate president. He thanked Heinert.

“Any other member wish to reconsider the vote?” Rhoden asked. The response was silence. “Hearing none, next order of business.”

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