South Dakota lawmakers prepare for special legislative session next week

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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — It’s November, but South Dakota lawmakers will be back in Pierre next week.

Normally lawmakers don’t convene until January for the legislative session, but next week they’ll hold a special session to take up two matters.

The special session is going to last two days, Monday and Tuesday.

The two topics they’ll be discussing are redistricting, the process by which new legislative district boundaries are drawn and possible impeachment proceedings against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

When lawmakers convene in Pierre on Monday, the first order of business will be redistricting.

Every year after the census is completed, the South Dakota Legislature is constitutionally required to redraw its legislative district boundaries to accommodate shifts in population and ensure equal representation to all South Dakotans.

These new boundaries are then implemented across South Dakota for the next ten years.

The other matter, which will be taken up Tuesday, centers around the night Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hit and killed Joe Boever, last year.

The matter has already been through the courts. Ravnsborg pleaded “no contest” to two misdemeanor charges and the state dropped a careless driving charge.

Ravnsborg had to pay fines and court costs, but did not serve any jail time.

Now a group of lawmakers will decide whether any of Ravnsborg’s actions on the night of the crash or during the following investigation are grounds for impeachment.

House Speaker Spencer Gosch announced the House members who will serve on the Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment.

They include six Republicans and two Democrats.

On Tuesday, the committee will determine if impeachment proceedings should move forward against Ravnsborg.

“If the committee finds there to be impeachable offenses, the House would consider and could pass articles of impeachment, which would be written in House resolution,” Legislative Research Council director Reed Holwegner said.

It would require a simple majority of the House members-elect to pass the resolution.

“Later, the Senate would conduct a trial. It would take a 2/3 vote of the Senate to convict a constitutional officer of one or more articles of impeachment,” Holwegner said.

Governor Noem, the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association, the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association, and the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police had all called on Ravnsborg to resign, but that never happened.

The Legislative Research Council says the special session will cost approximately $56,000 for the first legislative day, and $54,000 for subsequent legislative days.

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