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Republican Lawmakers Challenge District 27 Democratic Legislators' Residency

SD State Capitol, Summer 2012
Kealey Bultena
SD State Capitol, Summer 2012


Two incumbent Republican state legislators are contesting the residency of two newly elected Democratic Oglala Lakota lawmakers.

They say the two don’t meet the requirement of residing in South Dakota for two years preceding an election.

Over the weekend, Representative Julie Frye-Mueller and Senator Phil Jensen announced they were filing challenges against District 27’s Peri Pourier in the House, and Red Dawn Foster in the Senate.

They allege the two are residents of Nebraska and Colorado, respectively. Democratic leadership is not commenting on the challenge.

It’s up to each legislative chamber to judge the qualifications of it’s members.

Republican Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard says the house will look into the issue, but also take a closer look at election law.

“We don’t want to do anything as a knee jerk reaction over a given situation to make a problem with residency requirements for South Dakota, because it impacts so many other things,” Haugaard says. “As far as District 27, it could have been an issue that could have been resolved a long time ago. Had it been raised more formally earlier, I think it would have been resolved much earlier and I think it will get resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.”

Haugaard says residency is a moving target in South Dakota. He says any change to residency requirements would include scrutiny on how that impacts trust filings, corporate filings, those who move to the state because of no income tax, or those who use South Dakota as a “residence.”