SD House approves two articles of impeachment against AG Ravnsborg

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota House of Representatives has impeached South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

Legislators approved two articles of impeachment on a vote 36-31 with three excused.

Under the South Dakota state constitution, it takes a simple majority of the members elected — 36 of the 70 members — to impeach.


Photo Courtesy of Office of the Attorney General Website.

Despite the close vote, arguments were only made in favor of impeaching Ravnsborg.

“We would not be here on this floor if one of our citizens had not died. That fact is the most grave, the most exceptional, ” said State Representative Will Mortenson (R – District 24). “Never before in our state’s history has a state official criminally caused the death of a citizen and remained in office without resigning, but that is the direct result of the crimes the attorney general has committed.”

State Rep. Fred Deutsch suggested removing the second article of impeachment on malfeasance saying, “My amendment removes the second article of impeachment on malfeasance, which, in my humble opinion, is an exaggeration.”

The amendment failed by a 19-48 vote.

In remarks from the floor, State Rep. Tim Goodwin (R – District 30) said, “Why would someone dial 9-1-1 if they hit a deer? You dial 9-1-1 when you hit a body.”

State Rep. Mike Derby (R – District 34) added, “I think the Senate is really going to have to answer ‘is the Attorney General in office all the time or is it just a nine to five job?’ My feeling, based on the due diligence I did, is that he’s in office all the time.”

In response to today’s vote, Governor Kristi Noem said on her official Twitter account, “Today, the House of Representatives did the right thing for the people of South Dakota and for Joe Boever’s family.”

State Rep. Tony Randolph (R – District 35) said, “I believe that the executive weighing in, at any point, helped to change the context of this whole thing. I believe it would have been best if the governor had just left things alone and let the process play itself out.”

The matter now moves to the South Dakota Senate, where Ravnsborg will be tried on the two articles of impeachment.

Under the state constitution, the trial cannot take place until at least 20 days after the person impeached has been officially served with the articles of impeachment.

Categories: South Dakota News