Representative Steve Livermont (R-27/Martin) played bad neighbor today. After the Legislature seated him and his duly elected fellow Representative Peri Pourier (D-27/Pine Ridge), after his Republican leadership publicly declared that Pourier was “definitely eligible” to serve, and after this blog exposed the flaws in all of the weakly supported arguments brought by a handful of deceptive extremists trying to steal the District 27 election, Rep. Livermont joined Rep. Sam Marty (R-28B/Prairie City) in moving that the House establish a Select Committee to investigate Rep. Pourier’s residency over the last two years.
Rep. Livermont said he brought this motion “reluctantly.” He said “numerous concerned citizens of District 27” had tried for eight months to bring this issue to public attention and that “there is still doubt in many people’s minds,” which sounds like a Trumpian invocation of an imaginary crowd. After eight months of concern, with something as big as an election at stake, I count four residents of District 27 who came forward with affidavits, and every one of them brought nothing but hearsay, hearsay, hearsay. No District 27 resident came forward with any hard, documentary evidence to prove the claim that Peri Pourier was not registered to vote in South Dakota as of November 6, 2016, the sole residency requirement for serving in the Legislature.
Dozens of District 27 residents came to Pierre yesterday to speak with the GOP House leadership… but those residents didn’t place any evidence on the public record, since Majority Leader Lee Qualm (R-21/Platte) kicked the press out of that meeting.
Rep. Livermont gave no such evidence today, either, but he did refer to the Dakota Free Press contention
“I’m afraid that the attempt to define residency to protect trust laws may be jeopardizing our election laws”—I love hearing Republicans pick up on my arguments against the plutocracy that has captured their party. That Livermont line is almost as good as watching my Rep. Carl Perry (R-3/Aberdeen), behind and left of Livermont, trying to screw his microphone back into his desk.
Democratic Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-15/Sioux Falls) rose for a few seconds to strongly oppose the motion and remind the House that leadership on both sides had already seen enough evidence to prove Pourier’s qualifications.
Rep. Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) got up to speechify longer than Livermont and Smith together to remind his colleagues that Livermont’s motion would set a precedent for calling into question the residency of all of our Arizona snowbirds. Rep. Hansen warned that accepting Livermont’s motion could mean the House would have to come after any legislator on the prompting of a single affidavit, “to bust open your life with discovery, with interviews, with depositions, with interrogatories, based on one little piece of evidence… we do not want to go down that road.” Rep. Hansen said nothing about trust law, but he said the evidence he’s seen “suggests” that Pourier has been a legal resident of this state “at all times.”
And that was the end of the show. Livermont’s motion went down 5 to 62. Joining Livermont and Marty in this vile sally were fellow West River Republican extremists Julie Frye-Mueller, Tina Mulally, and, showing off his ugly stripes for his hometown high school junior and senior class, Tom Brunner.
Rep. Livermont did issue this challenge to Rep. Pourier’s face; Rep. Pourier was excused from today’s session, along with Reps. Howard and Hunhoff.
Closed to the press because…?
Who knows, Leslie? We could make an argument that every meeting a legislator has with members of the public about Legislative matters ought to be open to the public. Cops have to wear bodycams; maybe legislators should, too.
I would love it of legislators had to wear bodycams! Then maybe we’d know what they’re up to.