Seth Tupper notes that one reason Governor Kristi Noem may be escaping consequences for using the state plane to fly herself, her son, and his teenage friends to her daughter Kassidy’s wedding in Custer State Park is that the law restricting use of the state plane to state business doesn’t define “state business”:
Any prosecutor, judge or jury confronted with allegations of a misused state aircraft would seemingly have to consider what constitutes “state business.” And in the absence of a legal definition, state business would, presumably, be whatever the governor says it is.
…The governor has defended all of those and her other uses of the state airplane as – you guessed it – state business. During the wedding weekend, Noem used the plane to get from Custer to official functions, including youth leadership events in Vermillion and Aberdeen where she was invited to speak. Regarding the out-of-state political functions, Noem’s office has said she attended those not as a mere politician but rather as an official representative of state government [Seth Tupper, “The Key Words and Missing Definition in the Noem Airplane Controversy,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2022.10.31].
Senator Reynold Nesiba (D-15/Sioux Falls), progenitor of the 2006 ballot measure by which voters sought to curtail aerial corruption, tells Tupper he may “bring a proposed statute to tighten that up.”
I would think “state business” is self-explanatory: officials duties of state employees carrying out government functions. But let’s help Senator Nesiba out: readers, what do you think we need to include in a formal definition of “state business” to prevent another L’état, C’est Moi dictatress from defining every little thing she does as state business?