State Lawmakers Debate Changing Way Lieutenant Governors Are Chosen

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KELO Pierre Capitol Night

State lawmakers began considering Monday whether nominees for South Dakota governor should select their running mates.

South Dakota law currently requires delegates nominate their political parties’ candidates for lieutenant governor at their statewide conventions.

The House State Affairs Committee endorsed the change 12-1 Monday after a hearing on the proposal.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives. Debate could occur Tuesday afternoon.

House Republican leader Lee Qualm, of Platte, is prime sponsor of HB 1091.

“The two people need to work hand in hand,” Qualm said.

The proposed deadline would remain the second Tuesday in August for certifying lieutenant-governor candidates with the South Dakota Secretary of State office.

South Dakota currently is one of four states where lieutenant governor candidates are chosen through a convention process, Qualm said. The others are Indiana, Michigan and Iowa.

“I don’t feel the convention should be able to pick someone differently,” Qualm told the committee.

He added, “The governor’s going to pick who they want to work with, who they want to give responsibility to. And for a bunch of other people to come in and say, ‘That’s not a good pick,’ I just don’t think that’s appropriate.”

Senator Jim Bolin testified South Dakota voters elected lieutenant governors separately until revisions of the state constitution’s executive article took effect for the 1974 elections. The Canton Republican is lead sponsor in the Senate.

Governor Kristi Noem announced last June she wanted long-time lawmaker Larry Rhoden, of Union Center, as her running mate.

Republican delegates chose Rhoden over state Senator Stace Nelson, of Fulton.

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