Legislative travel reform pushes forward after ‘abuse of power’ trips to Hawaii
Former House speaker defends travel, says bill is political posturing
PIERRE — Junkets for lame-duck lawmakers will face more scrutiny going forward, if a measure that inched forward in the South Dakota Legislature this week earns passage.
The Senate State Affairs Committee Friday morning unanimously recommended approval of Senate Bill 68, which seeks to take away unilateral authority of the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore to approve legislative travel for members of their chambers who will not be returning to the State Capitol for another term.
The legislation comes in response to former House Speaker Spencer Gosch and former House Minority Leader and Democratic candidate for governor Jamie Smith traveling to Hawaii in December for a legislative convention less than a month before they’d be out of the state Legislature.