Impeachment a possible next step for Ravnsborg

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Jason Ravnsborg’s future as South Dakota attorney general may be decided by members of the South Dakota legislature.

The South Dakota House passed a bi-partisan resolution during this year’s session to evaluate whether articles of impeachment should be drawn up against Ravnsborg once his case is settled. The political will remains with some lawmakers to proceed with impeachment.

The reading of a resolution for impeachment on the House floor earlier this year marked a historic moment at the South Dakota capitol: the first time such a resolution was ever read before state lawmakers. Lawmakers would later change House Resolution 7001 to delay impeachment considerations against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg until his case was settled in court. Now that Ravnsborg has entered his plea, one of the original co-sponsors of the resolution wants to revisit the impeachment issue.

“I think definitely, we will look at that as an option so, right now, we can’t do anything because we are not in session,” Rep. Jamie Smith of Sioux Falls said.

But even though lawmakers are not in session, they can meet informally to discuss possible impeachment options.

“You just have to have conversations with people and we’re constantly having meetings as well at different topics across the state so those relationships are still tight, so that’s a conversation that will be had,” Smith said.

But to bring up impeachment this year would require a special session and the legislature already has a crowded schedule with an upcoming special session on redistricting in November. Smith says another option could be to wait until next year’s regular session, which starts in January. Not a long time away, Smith says, for such an important decision by lawmakers.

Governor Kristi Noem could call a special session for impeachment. In a statement released Thursday,
Noem said: “If Ravnsborg does not resign, as I believe he should, the Legislature can and should consider the articles of impeachment already brought in the House.”

The legislature can also call for a special session, but that would require a two-thirds vote by each chamber, a requirement that Smith says would be a heavy political lift.

Impeachment proceedings would start in the South Dakota House, which would vote on the charges. The Senate, would be the legislative body that convicts.

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