South Dakota lawmakers fail to override Noem vetoes

Vetoes involved legislation involving federal spending oversight, marijuana convictions and pregnant minors seeking medical treatment.

Updated: March 29, 2022 - 12:16am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The South Dakota Legislature failed Monday to override Gov. Kristi Noem's veto of three bills.

The governor issued the vetoes Friday.

The House needed 47 votes, or a two-thirds majority, to override Noem's veto of House Bill 1281, would have required the Joint Appropriations Committee to approve some spending of federal COVID-19 relief funding. The vote was 40-30.

In her veto letter, Noem wrote the bill "creates a complicated, at times, duplicative new process that makes it more difficult to understand and account for the operations of state government." Specifically, the bill "improperly allows the Joint interim Committee on Appropriations to undo the majority of the legislature's vote on the fiscal year of 2023 budget bill," she wrote.

The House also failed to override Noem's veto of House Bill 1223, which would have allowed pregnant minors to get medical treatment without parental consent.

The Senate did not get a two-thirds majority to override the governor's veto of Senate Bill 151 despite pleas from some Senators. The bill would have removed some Class 1 marijuana convictions automatically.

"We have many good people who are barred from working and that to me is wrong," Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said.

Sen. V.J. Smith, R-Brookings, cited Abraham Lincoln in his plea to overturn the veto, saying the president forgave his opponents who spoke unkindly about him when Lincoln ran for president in 1860.

"The reason why I come back to this whole idea of forgiveness is because I look around at the broken world today and one thing we are missing is a whole bunch of forgiveness," Smith said. "People who have minor indiscretions in their lives, they don't need to be marked by it for the rest of their lives."

Noem said in a letter that current law already offers a way to eradicate past convictions.

"[The bill] also essentially codifies a convicted person's ability to be dishonest about their previous arrest and conviction by not requiring disclosure of the prior drug conviction," the governor said.

Both chambers passed a new piece of legislation, Senate Bill 213, which increases the amount of federal funds used for some Medicaid funds including long-term care and disability.

The House is adjourned until April 12, when it may be called back to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. The House Select Committee is expected to make its recommendation Monday and release its investigative report.