Non-returning legislators need special permission to go on legislative trips

South Dakota legislature.
South Dakota legislature.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 11:06 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A controversial legislative trip to Hawaii by two non-returning legislators after the 2022 elections prompts committee passage of a bill to require special permission.

Senate Bill 68 would require the legislature’s Executive Board to approve out-of-state travel for any legislator not returning for the next legislative session.

Bill sponsor Sen. Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown says the bill stems from former House Speaker Spencer Gosch and former state Rep. Jamie Smith taking a legislative trip to Hawaii after the 2022 general election even though they were not returning to Pierre for the 2023 session.

Schoenbeck says this does not ban travel for “lame duck” legislators but provides another layer of approval to ensure members don’t abuse legislative travel, particularly to interesting or exotic locations.

The measure passed 9 to 0.

It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Todd Epp, South Dakota Broadcasters Association, contributed to this report.