SD Speaker of the House backs special session, releases own ‘COVID-19 mandate ban’ bill
South Dakota Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) says it “would be too late” to wait to do a vaccine mandate ban during the regular legislation session in January.
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) is backing a special session to push through a ‘vaccine mandate ban.’
“People are at risk of losing their jobs today, January would be too late,” Gosch responded to inquiries by Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory.
The move comes after members of Gosch’s caucus, State Reps. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) and Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) brought their own bill to ban vaccine mandates outright in the state of South Dakota.
Rep. Hansen is Gosch’s second in command, currently serving as Speaker Pro-Tempore.
“It is extremely unfortunate how politicized COVID-19 has become,” Rep. Gosch said in a release. “The Biden Administration is forcing Americans to take the very vaccine that they publicly criticized under a year ago. Now they are telling care facilities, ‘force a needle into your employee’s arm or we will starve your elderly and take away their care!’”
Despite backing the method of moving a bill forward by way of a special legislative session, Rep. Gosch drafted his own bill separate from Reps. Hansen and Odenbach. Both bills have the same end goal, but obtain it by different means.
Rep. Gosch’s bill seeks to make one’s vaccine status “confidential” under any and all circumstances, except for in rare circumstances as determined by the South Dakota Department of Health.
State legislators seeking to force a special session on the issue of vaccine mandate bans face an uphill battle. To get a special session, 2/3rds of state legislators in each chamber would have to agree to it, or Governor Kristi Noem could call one herself. The State Senate likely would not have the votes to bring legislators back for a special session, and Governor Noem has already signaled her opposition to a more extensive COVID-19 vaccine mandate ban.
State legislators are scheduled to return to Pierre for a special session on November 8th to finalize changes from redistricting. The regularly scheduled legislative session is set to begin on January 11th, 2022.
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