Last week, the Senate killed Representative Linda Duba’s (D-15/Sioux Falls) House Bill 1061, which would have given stronger legal status to the appraiser certification advisory council that Governor Kristi Noem tried to snuff out. Senate king Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown) led the opposition to this minor codification, evidently swallowing whole Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman’s promise to mend bridges with the appraiser industry that the Governor’s reckless nepotism and unqualified appointee could have brought to a crashing halt. HB 1061 squeaked out of Senate Commerce and Energy 5–4 but failed on the Senate floor 13–22.
But the House, which gave overwhleming support to Democratic Representative Duba’s proposal, will have one more chance to register its disapproval of Governor Noem’s corruption of the appraiser certification process. Representative John Mills (R-4/Volga) yesterday filed House Resolution 7004, which does nothing but deem the Governor’s abuse of power for her daughter Kassidy Peters’s short-lived benefit and her firing of the state official who required Noem’s daughter to meet the same standards as everyone else seeking certification as an appraiser “unacceptable” and a violation of the Governor’s oath of office:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Ninety-Seventh Legislature of the State of South Dakota, that in the opinion of the House, the actions of the Governor in this case were unacceptable, were injurious to the people of South Dakota, resulted in an unnecessary expenditure of state tax dollars, and were detrimental to the morale and steadfast dedication of our hard-working state employees; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in the opinion of the House, the actions of the Governor failed to meet the expectations that South Dakotans have of their leaders, nor do they comport with the words of our Constitution or the spirit of the Governor’s oath of office [HR 7004, filed 2022.02.24].
The Governor’s Office dismisses Representative Mills’s bill as a political stunt to help his pal Representative Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls, on whose behalf Mills makes a one-second non-speaking appearance in first gubernatorial campaign YouTube video. “Mills should spend more time serving his constituents’ interests and less time playing politics,” says Ian Fury, spokesperson for Governor Noem, who is spending this Friday playing politics at CPAC in Florida rather than serving constituents alongside Mills, Duba, and other legislators in Pierre on this 29th day of the 2022 Session.
Mills, who has spoken of widespread “disappointment” with Noem’s performance in Pierre, says HR 7004 is about integrity, not politics:
“To me, integrity is really important,” Mills said when asked why he brought the resolution.
Mills appears in a campaign video for Noem’s GOP primary challenger, Rep. Steve Haugaard. He insisted that did not affect his decision to bring the resolution, saying there was “absolutely zero political motivation behind this” [Stephen Groves, “South Dakota House Republican: Noem’s Conduct ‘Unacceptable’,” AP, 2022.02.24].
HR 7004 stands alone on the House side; no one in the Senate proposed a similar resolution. The House gave HR 7004 first reading yesterday; it is not on today’s calendar.
In HR 7004, Representative Mills speaks of “unacceptable” behavior that injures the public, unnecessarily spends public dollars, undermines the public workforce, and “does not comport” with the Constitution or the oath of office. Such a condemnation sounds like more than a nasty “Bon Voyage” card to our Governor as she gets on the plane for her long Florida–Long Island weekend. That condemnation lays reasonable grounds for an impeachment. Perhaps the House could arrange to remove Noem right alongside Ravnsborg….