Representative Ernie Otten (R-6/Tea) evidently has a bee in his bonnet over transparency from the Governor’s Office. In addition to his House Bill 1041, which would prevent the Governor from hiding her settlements of illegal retaliation against state employees and silencing the agency chiefs she fires with non-disparagement clauses, Rep. Otten is also proposing House Bill 1055, which seeks more Legislative review of executive orders.
HB 1055 would allow the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council to summon the Governor or the agency head in charge of executing a gubernatorial order to testify about that order. HB 1055 would require the Governor or agency chief to give the E-Board information on the nature and scope of the order, the circumstances requiring the order, and the obligations, restrictions, and costs to the public and/or private sectors the order may impose. This E-Board hearing would happen within fourteen days of the order’s issuance. Hearings on executive orders would be open to the public and allow for public testimony, in person and written, on the order.
Interestingly, HB 1055 would exclude one of the most controversial and impactful of Governor Noem’s orders so far, her order to bury the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Department of Agriculture. But such orders, authorized by Article 4 Section 8 of the South Dakota Constitution, are already subject to Legislative review and veto, so by exempting such orders, HB 1055 actually avoids redundancy without imperiling transparency.