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Ravnsborg Breaking Law Again, Refusing to Hire Specialist for New Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Office

You’d think an Attorney General would be more diligent about following the law. But law-abiding is just too much for killer Jason Ravnsborg. He can’t follow the law (not to mention the conscientious and neighborly practice) on keeping his hands off his phone and his eyes on the road. He can’t follow the law on producing explanations of ballot questions.

Just last March, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed House Bill 1199, requiring the Attorney General to establish the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. HB 1199, now SDCL 23A-28C-16, directs the Attorney General to hire a full-time missing-person specialist, pursue federal funding for the office, guide the office, and coordinate MMIP functions with the U.S. Attorney and state and tribal law enforcement.

Ravnsborg has apparently misread HB 1199 to say, make excuses; the missing person specialist is missing:

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said Wednesday that he has not hired anyone to serve as a liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons, even though the Legislature passed a law last year requiring him to create the position.

Ravnsborg briefed the Legislature’s State-Tribal Relations Committee during the panel’s first meeting of the 2022 legislative session.

Last year, House Bill 1199 was signed into law to establish the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.

“That passed, and it put the requirement on my office to staff this person, but it talked a lot about federal funding,” Ravnsborg told the committee. “And so come July 1st, it went into effect, but we have not received funding in any fashion. When I’ve talked with the various tribes in other discussions, and my office, we always bring this up to see what they’re doing to try and find funding for that, so I have basically an unfunded mandate right now.”

The attorney general said it would cost about $70,000 to fill the position. He went on to say that a new missing person website should roll out in April with improvements and better search capabilities [Richard Two Bulls, “Year After Lawmakers Ordered It, Still No Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons,” SDPB Radio, 2022.01.12].

South Dakota runs an $85.9-million surplus last year, has $65.5 million allocated to general fund expenditures that it doesn’t need, and has $18.7 million in extra Other funds and $859 million in extra federal funds that it can afford to adjust into the current budget right now, and Jason Ravnsborg can’t find $70,000 to fulfill a legal mandate to address a crisis in Indian Country?

The Governor’s proposed adjustments to the current budget include $397,650 for the Office of the Attorney General to upgrade its information technology. Instead of blaming the tribes for not doing his job, Ravnsborg could have told legislators to rededicate some of that money right now to help him fulfill that mandate.

Jason doesn’t need faster computers in his office. He already spends too much time online instead of focusing on his job. Put money for the mission-persons specialist in the emergency budget adjustments and approve it now.

And while you’re at it, fire Jason Ravnsborg so we can spend the rest of this year with an Attorney General who follows the law.

Related Neglect: Also missing yesterday was Governor Kristi Noem and any of her staff from the State of the Tribes Address by Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Chairman Delbert Hopkins, Jr.

8 Comments

  1. Nick Nemec 2022-01-14

    The disrespect shown by Ravnsborg, Noem and the entire State of South Dakota is jaw dropping, and the excuse given for not funding this position doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The State has the biggest surpluses of all time, Noem and Ravnsborg waste money with abandon, signing on to frivolous lawsuits, flying the state plane all over the country, building fences and TV studies. Ravnsborg and Noem are the king and queen of excuses, I am not surprised.

  2. Nick Nemec 2022-01-14

    But then Native Americans in South Dakota typically vote for the Democratic candidate so screw them.

  3. Amy B. 2022-01-14

    And to add to it, Noem and none of her staff attended the State of the Tribes address. For a governor who likes to pretend she is working for all South Dakotans, she and her administration do things that say just the opposite.

  4. mike from iowa 2022-01-14

    Noem wuz on Fake Noize with Maria Bartiromo last week bragging about record revenues for your state. Ravnborg sounds like it was the Feds job to just hand him money without an official request. I guess Noem’s aura doesn’t impress the Feds much.

    My made up New Year’s Reso is an iowa’s Tom Miller for every state’s Attorney General.

  5. John 2022-01-14

    The feds ought to defund South Dakota.

    It’s pathetic that South Dakota will never again have governor like George Mickelson.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-01-14

    Just now: “ South Dakota senate state affairs committee is hearing the newest iteration of a bill to prohibit transgender girls from school sports. A late amendment says the AG would pick up tab for schools sued under the bill.” Vondrecek on twitter

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-01-14

    Well John, if kristi croaks in a plane crash, I could do a spectacular sculpture of her for the state. Not sure where they would put it.

  8. Richard Schriever 2022-01-17

    The law doesn’t require him to find Federal funding to hire the person, it requires him to hire the person to find Federal funding. What self-absorbed jerk.

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