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Speaker Spencer Gosch finalizes members of impeachment committee

The South Dakota State House has laid out the framework for how they intend to proceed in considering the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.(KOTA)
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 9:04 AM CDT
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Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that State Rep. Hugh Bartels (R-Watertown), was on the impeachment committee. Bartels is not on the impeachment committee, but rather State Rep. Doug Barthel (R-Sioux Falls) is. We regret the error.

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) has finalized the nine members of the State House who will initially be tasked with considering the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

Those nine members are; State Reps. Kent Peterson (R-Salem), Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls), Ryan Cwach (D-Yankton), Mike Stevens (R-Yankton), Doug Barthel (R-Sioux Falls), Kevin Jensen (R-Canton), Steve Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls), Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids), and Gosch himself.

All nine members of the committee are either in leadership, attorneys, or former law enforcement officers.

“This has to be done through a legislative process,” said Gosch. “This is the process that I am trying to immolate, that allows the legislature to have a voice and the ability to do its job.”

Two of the members of the select committee hail from Yankton, Ravnsborg’s hometown.

“The first thing I was taught when I got out of law school is you have to figure out the facts,” said State Rep. Ryan Cwach. “What happened before and during Boever’s death, and after, because that is part of the inquiry too.”

“The Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment” will be tasked with investigating evidence, subpoenaing documents and witnesses, and ultimately, determining whether or not impeachment should be voted upon by the full State House. The body would need five members to have a majority on anything discussed in the committee. Gosch would serve as the tie breaker in the event of a 4-4 vote.

2/3rds of state lawmakers from both chambers agreed last month to hold a special session on the matter of considering the impeachment of Ravnsborg. Ravnsborg was charged with two misdemeanors in February as a result of an accident where he struck and killed Joe Boever outside of Highmore in September 2020.

The special session to consider impeachment is slated to begin on November 9th at 10 AM, one day after the special session to finalize changes in redistricting is intended to end. The full State House will have to agree to the committee and its assigned members before it is allowed to proceed.

Gosch says that there is no time frame for when he would like to see the committee make a final vote on whether or not to send impeachment to the full State House.

“These are unprecedented times and this is an unprecedented situation. If I had something to go off of, I could have a better answer to that. However, I do not. It has never been done before. So I cannot tell you how long this is going to take or not take.”

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