Legislature won’t consult on Guard call-outs

PIERRE – A bill that would require the governor to consult with the Legislature before calling out the National Guard died in the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday morning.

HB1135 calls for the Legislature to consult with the governor before she mobilized the National Guard or law enforcement fulfilling a mutual aid agreement between South Dakota and any other state.

“I’m asking the body here for a sense of balance,” said Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, D-Mission. The Legislature needs to be consulted before a Guard or Highway Patrol mobilization to ensure “one individual doesn’t get a little bit iron-handed.”

The text of the bill and Bordeaux’s intent seemed to be two different things. While the bill keeps South Dakota from fulfilling mutual aid agreements and sending the Guard out of state, Bordeaux testified about his concerns about the governor calling out the Guard to deal with Keystone XL Pipeline protesters.

“I’m a little afraid of what’s going to happen here,” Bordeaux said.

Kristi Turman of the Department of Public Safety spoke in opposition to the bill, saying it was unconstitutional because it interfered with the governor’s role as head of the state’s military units.

If the state would be unable to fulfill its mutual aid agreements without consulting the Legislature, aid like the state provided during the 2009 floods in North Dakota would be delayed.

South Dakota wants to be able to assist other states, Turman said. “We want them to come to us without delay as well.”

Running afoul of the constitution didn’t concern Bordeaux.

“I don’t think that should inhibit us,” Bordeaux said.

Rep. Timothy Goodwin, R-Rapid City, asked if Bordeaux intended to have the Legislature consult on Guard call-outs in the state as well as out of the state.

“My intent is to have us all brought in,” Bordeaux said, noting that he wanted to have the Legislature consult on in-state call-outs. “We would want to weigh in as a Legislature.”

Rep. Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, made a motion that the bill be moved to the 41st day of the session, a tactic that effectively kills legislation. 

The way the bill is written, Gosch said, “Means we can’t attack Nebraska.”

The legislation was killed on a 13-0 vote.


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