Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment is set, amendment allows for information to be made public

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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – For the first time in the state’s 132-year history, the South Dakota Legislature is moving forward with the possibility of impeaching an elected official. The House of Representatives passed a resolution today that establishes a Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment. That committee will decide if there are impeachable offenses against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

It’s been more than a year since the night Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hit and killed Joe Boever in Hyde County and left his body in the ditch. Boever’s family is still waiting for closure.

“I thought that we would be done with this by now,” Nick Nemec, Boever’s cousin said. “It’s 14 months. It sounds like it’s going to be at least 16 months if this is taken up again during the regular legislative session. It’s dragging on for a long time.”

The next step in getting that closure falls on the shoulders of six Republicans and two Democrats in the state’s House of Representatives. They will determine if there are any impeachable offenses against Ravnsborg. If they can’t decide, the house speaker will cast the deciding vote.

“They’ve got a big job ahead of them,” Rep. Will Mortenson (R) of Pierre said. “I think it’s terribly important that we pursue this. We’ve heard from law enforcement, we’ve heard from the public and folks want to see that we do a thorough and fair job. And that demands transparency.”

Representative Will Mortenson brought forward an amendment that will further that transparency.

“It ensures that any of the information that’s gathered is something that can be accessed by any member of the House, not just the committee we put forth,” Mortenson said.

The amendment also ensures that, unless otherwise redacted by the committee, the information they obtain can be made public.

“We don’t want things like victim information out there,” Mortenson said. “We don’t want to be inadvertently releasing sensitive Attorney General office files, those kinds of things.”

“It’s time to take action,” Nemec said. “And I was hoping that more action would be taken today but at least it’s a first step. We’ll see what happens.”

The timeline for the special committee is uncertain. The full House of Representatives will reconvene fourteen days after the committee files their report. As a whole, they will decide whether to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial.

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