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Special Session: Good Practice for Legislating from Home Throughout Pandemic

The South Dakota Legislature meets in Special Session tomorrow. Given that the coronavirus pandemic is worse than ever and most likely to get worse, the Legislature is quite sensibly allowing its members to participate electronically from their homes, as it did for Veto Day back in March. Forward-thinking Senator Troy Heinert (D-26/Mission) says Monday’s Special Session will be a good warm-up for remote legislating during the regular Session come January:

Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert says the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to be an issue for legislators.

“When the 2020 Session was ending, the pandemic was just getting started. Here we are getting close to the start of the 2021 Session and South Dakotans and the world are still battling COVID-19. This special session will get us started as lawmakers in finding ways we can help our state get through it,” Heinert said [Legislative Research Council, press release, 2020.10.02].

Lying drunk Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark), who showed up in Pierre on Veto Day to get drunk with lobbyists and lie on tape and has since tried to deceptively minimize concerns about coronavirus, urges legislators who insist on attending Session in person to behave responsibly:

Senator Brock Greenfield, President Pro Tempore, says legislators who plan to attend in person should do so responsibly.

“In keeping with the federal COVID-19 guidelines, people will be encouraged to wear face coverings and be spaced at least six feet apart. There will also be hand sanitizing stations in the meeting areas. We want to do what we can to keep people who opt to attend in-person safe,” Greenfield said [LRC, 2020.10.02].

Even if the Legislature were going to take up important legislation during this Special Session—and from the looks of the recommendation from Joint Appropriations for spending the remaining $597 million in coronavirus relief funds from Uncle Sam, they’re going to eschew any exercise of real power and accede to the Snow Queen’s checkless and reckless reign—attending in person is unwise and unnecessary. When the LRC is able to provide reliable electronic communications and voting, there is no need to subject anyone, legislators or staff, to in-person indoors exposure to potential contagion. Legislate from home, and your chances of catching and spreading coronavirus from Special Session are zero.

Legislate responsibly: stay home, log in, and kiss partying in Pierre all winter goodbye.


  1. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-10-04 09:01

    Hey, here’s a good question to ask your local Legislative candidates: “Will you attend Session remotely from home to reduce the risk of pandemic spread?”

  2. mike from iowa 2020-10-04 09:28

    Only if they get their per diem, anyway.

  3. Owen 2020-10-04 10:52

    Will Noem make it back for the special session?

  4. Debbo 2020-10-04 22:30

    Owen, will South Dakotans be able to tell if she does?

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