South Dakota lawmakers in no mood to pile on Jan. 6 and COVID controversies

FILE - Members of the Oath Keepers extremist group stand on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol...
FILE - Members of the Oath Keepers extremist group stand on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The Capitol riot was the culmination of weeks of preparation and a moment of triumph for the Oath Keepers, federal prosecutor Louis Manzo said Jan. 18, 2023, in closing arguments in the second seditious conspiracy trial against members of the far-right extremist group. The defendants facing jurors in the latest trial are Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel, and Edward Vallejo.(Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:27 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A House committee on Wednesday touched on two of the most controversial issues in recent United States history--the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol and mandatory vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republican Rep. Phil Jensen from Rapid City introduced resolutions on each issue, which the House State Affairs Committee killed.

House Concurrent Resolution 6006 would have asked federal officials in Washington, DC, to encourage the humane and fair treatment of the January 6thdefendants.

Treviss Evans, the founder of Condemned USA, a legal group representing and assisting the Jan. 6th defendants, testified in favor of the bill. He said he is also a defendant in the cases, that he was in the Capitol during the riot, but he was attempting to prevent violence against law enforcement officers. Treviss said defendants being held before trial in a Washington, DC jail are experiencing inhumane treatment and the violation of their civil rights.

Speaking against the measure, Republican House Speaker Hugh Bartels said there were other ways to address the problems defendants face. Bartels added that he doesn’t appreciate it when other governments chastise South Dakota’s actions; thus, the state should not do the same to others.

That measure failed on a 12 to 0 vote.

The committee also defeated House Joint Resolution 5003, also sponsored by Rep. Jensen. That resolution would have submitted to voters a state constitutional amendment allowing a person to refuse any medical procedure, including inoculations.

Jensen said the resolution was about individual liberty and freedom.

Several lobbyists from medical organizations testified against the bill. They said good public policy like childhood vaccinations has wiped out a host of diseases, including the measles. They said the state needs to think about the health of all its citizens.

The committee defeated that measure on an 11 to 1 vote.