House committee kills bill requiring governor to release security costs

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at a campaign rally for Pres. Trump in Bangor, Maine
Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at a campaign rally for Pres. Trump in Bangor, Maine(WABI)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 12:16 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A bill that would require Gov. Kristi Noem and other public officials to release security costs related to travel has died in a legislative committee.

The House State Affairs Committee voted 11-2 along party lines to send HB 1089 to the 41st day, effectively killing the bill.

The bill came about after Noem traveled extensively during the 2020 election cycle. She campaigned on behalf of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans, making dozens of appearances across several states.

While campaign money pays for travel expenses, the South Dakota Highway Patrol provides security on these trips. Noem’s office has refused requests from several news outlets - including KOTA Territory News - to release details on how much state money is being spent on security for these trips.

In Friday morning’s committee hearing, Sec. Craig Price of the Department of Public Safety argued releasing this information may compromise the governor’s security.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Taffy Howard (R, Rapid City), testified that several other states release more security details than her bill sought to make public.

After the hearing, Howard expressed her frustration with those who spoke against the bill, including committee Vice-Chair Rep. Chris Johnson (R, Rapid City). She called the opposition’s statements “straw man arguments and completely irrational.”

“Rep. Johnson’s argument is that we shouldn’t have any information because that might lead to more questions, and we can’t have that,” Howard told KOTA Territory News. “That is what you see in third-world dictatorships. It’s so wrong.”

Howard previously voiced concerns that Noem’s office was pressuring lawmakers to withdraw their support from the bill. Noem denied this in an interview with KOTA Territory News.

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