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SD Senate Leader defies House Speaker, releases names of impeachment petition signers

The leader of the South Dakota State Senate has defied House leadership and released the names of those House members who signed on to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)
South Dakota State Capitol (FILE)(DAKOTA NEWS NOW)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 7:55 AM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota State Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) has released the names of State House members who signed on to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

“A legislator’s decision to exercise their constitutional right to petition leadership to request a special session is an obvious public act,” Schoenbeck said.

The document released by Schoenbeck reveals who the 49 state house members were that agreed to the November 9th Special Session on impeachment, which ultimately created a nine-member select committee to consider it. Two-thirds of each chamber are required to sign on in order to trigger a special session.

Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) has defied several calls to release the names of the petition signers, a decision which the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled in favor of in October.

“The decision to keep the House members correspondence confidential was made in the beginning of the process,” Gosch said in a statement. “I stand by that decision out of respect for our members. Lee Schoenbeck had access to those petitions and unilaterally decided to release that information, despite a request from me to maintain their confidentiality.”

Despite the names now being public, the Argus Leader and South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA) have indicated that they still might pursue the lawsuit against Gosch and Reed Holwegner, Legislative Research Council (SD LRC) Director.

The following lawmakers signed on to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg:

Representatives: Aylward, Bartels, Barthel, Blare Bordeaux, Chaffee, Cwach, Davis, Dennert, Derby, Deutsch, Drury, Duba, Finck, Fitzgerald, Goodwin, Gosch, Hansen, Healy, Hoffman, Johnson, Keintz, Koth, Ladner, Lesmeister, May, Milstead, Mortenson, Mulally, Olson, Overweg, Perry, Peterson (Kent), Pischke, Pourier, Reed, Rehfeldt, Reimer, Schneider, Smith, St. John, Thomason, Tidemann, Vasgaard, Weis, Weisgram, Wiese, Willadsen, and York.

Senators: Bolin, Breitling, Cammack, Castleberry, Crabtree, Curd, Diedrich, Duhamel, Duvall, Foster, Heinert, Hunhoff, Johns, Johnson (David), Klumb, Nesiba, Otten, Rohl, Rusch, Schoenbeck, Schoenfish, Smith, Steinhauer, Symens, Tobin, Wheeler, and Zikmund.

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