Gov. Kristi Noem's lousy session
Critics say national ambitions eroding South Dakota governor’s ability to get major initiatives passed
As the legislative session wound down, veteran South Dakota reporter Todd Epp posed a question to Republican leaders during their weekly press conference. Having covered politics since the 1980s, Epp said he had never seen a governor lose two major policy proposals in a session, let alone the same day.
That had happened to Gov. Kristi Noem earlier in the week when lawmakers defeated Noem’s proposal to eliminate the sales tax on groceries in the morning. And later that afternoon, the Senate defeated her bid to create a board to review foreign purchases of agricultural land. Noem had invested considerable political capital in both, and in the course of one day, poof, it was gone.
Republican leaders sidestepped Epp’s question, chalking up Noem’s losses in one day to a “coincidence.” They were attempting to be respectful.
Coincidence or not, they were the highest profile losses for the governor in a session where there were plenty.
The tenure of Kristi Noem at the helm of South Dakota hasn’t been marked by stunning successes between the Republican governor and a GOP-dominated Legislature.
And though the recently re-elected governor’s fifth legislative session was absent of the public squabbling with House leadership that spelled doom for some of her first-term initiatives, 2023 might be the rockiest one yet.
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