Oh, darn, maybe we won’t get a Special Session to talk about paid family leave.
On May 2, when the Alito Court leaked its draft Dobbs ruling, Governor Kristi Noem tweeted, “If this report is true and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will immediately call for a special session to save lives and guarantee that every unborn child has a right to life in South Dakota.” On June 24, the Alito Court overturned Roe v. Wade, immediately banning almost all abortions in South Dakota. Noem did not immediately call for a Special Session; instead, she issued a press release with Rep. Jon Hansen (%-25/Dell Rapids) and Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) announcing “plans for a special session later this year to save lives and help mothers impacted by the decision.”
But now, says Sneve, Republicans seem to be admitting there are no plans:
While Noem and other GOP leaders she’d be relying on to bolster South Dakota’s existing prohibition on voluntary terminations of pregnancies insist they’re still working to schedule a special Legislative Session on abortion, rank and file members of the Legislature haven’t been floated any proposed dates. They haven’t seen any potential legislation they might be asked to vote upon either.
And recent statements made by the first-term governor facing re-election in November signal even she’s not leading the efforts to bring the state House and Senate back to Pierre as she once was.
“Our Legislature is thinking of coming into a special session to see what that would look like,” Noem said during a recent appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America… [Joe Sneve, “Analysis: Is Gov. Kristi Noem Stepping Back from Vow to Hold Special Session on Abortion?” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.07.06].
Hansen and Schoenbeck tell Sneve they are “in ongoing talks with Noem and her staff,” but Sneve reports other Republicans are too tired or election-skittish to lift a Legislative finger to save lives or help moms:
But there’s a growing sentiment in the Legislature that given abortion is illegal in South Dakota — and there is an exception in the trigger law for the life of mother — a special session might not be necessary.
It could also create vulnerabilities ahead of November’s election for Republicans in moderate districts, while some are just fatigued with from what would be the fourth special session of the Legislature since 2020.
“If the sky’s not falling — and I don’t know of any issue that’s that pressing — it’s going to be tough to get all of us on board,” said Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls. “And there’s reasons to wait, to let calmer heads prevail when there’s not such a hysteria and almost anxiousness to spike the ball in the end zone” [Sneve, 2022.07.06].
This lack of a plan and enthusiasm shines a light right through Noem’s flimsy rhetoric about helping moms. Her party’s real priority isn’t helping women or children; it’s about denying women equality and autonomy and punishing women who dare have sex of which they do not approve. The Republicans have gotten that from the Alito Court; their work is done.