Lawmakers will delay possible impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg until court action is completed.
House legislative leaders have stripped the articles of impeachment from their resolution.
They say a recent order from a Hyde County court judge prevents them from a transparent impeachment process. The judge ruled that video interviews about the fatal crash when Ravnsborg was driving had to be taken off a state website. Lawmakers say that makes a impeachment impossible.
Kent Peterson is the majority leader in the House. He says delaying the impeachment is appropriate given the ruling.
“We’re going to let that process play out and then reevaluate at that time. I can’t answer for or against other members of the house to think if articles will be brought forward.”
Impeachment starts in the House. If there are enough votes, the Senate holds a trial to determine whether Ravnsborg should be removed from office. No constitutional officer has ever been impeached before. Peterson says impeachment would require a special session, which takes a 2/3 majority vote in both chambers.
The constitution says impeachment proceedings would NOT count as part of the 40-day legislative session.
Governor Kristi Noem says the quickest way to resolve the situation is for the Attorney General to resign.
“I won’t weight in on how the legislators decided to do or how they will proceed with impeachment. What I will say is that I still believe the attorney general should resign.”
State Democrats say House Republicans are misinterpreting their role. Jaime Smith is the minority leader in the House.
“It’s not a legal proceeding like in the courts, like a trial. It is an impeachment.”
The House will vote whether to delay the possible impeachment of Jason Ravnsborg on Monday.