SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Phil Jensen has been representing Pennington County in Pierre for over a decade.
His political career began in the House in 2009. In 2013, he won a seat in the Senate. Now he’s back in the House. Over the years, his legislation has made headlines several times. Here’s a look at some of the bills Jensen has proposed.
From gun rights to vaccinations to abortions:
“This is not a license to go out and kill an abortion provider,” Jensen said in February 2011.
Jensen isn’t one to shy away from controversial legislation.
This year in Pierre, he introduced a resolution to celebrate Black History Month that said “many today overlook or ignore this country’s positive record on race and slavery.” The measure failed after being criticized for being too political and white-washing black history.
Jensen also sponsored House Bill 1159. Had it passed, it would have offered protections for people who refuse vaccines.
Jensen also made headlines in 2017, when he spoke in favor of a bill allowing someone who legally owns a firearm to carry a concealed pistol without a permit.
“To begin with the constitution’s 2nd amendment has no qualifiers on it. It says the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It doesn’t say you can if you get a permit,” Jensen said.
That bill eventually became law, but a 2011 bill did not.
Jensen wanted to expand South Dakota’s justifiable homicide laws to include killing someone in order to protect an unborn child.
“For instance a pregnant woman’s ex-boyfriend comes around and he doesn’t want to pay child support for the next 18 years, he starts beating on her abdomen to try and abort her baby,” Jensen said in 2011.
Critics said the bill would have legalized killing abortion providers.
The state website lists Jensen as a member of the education and health and human services committee.