Due to the Presidents Day holiday Monday, the sixth week of session was three days long instead of the typical four.

HCR6003, the appointment of Russell Olson of Pierre as Office of Auditor General, recommended in June by the S.D. Legislature Executive Board, was heard in the State Affairs Committee. This concurrent resolution must be approved by the full House and Senate to appoint Olson to the position vacated by former Auditor General Marty Guindon in early 2020.

The Department of Legislative Audit, under the direction of the auditor general, performs financial and compliance audits for the State of South Dakota, as well as for some local governments, including counties. It also approves all audits of local governments conducted by independent public accountants. The DLA works closely with the Government Operations and Audit Committee, an interim committee to which I have been appointed the Senate chairman. Audit reports for cities, schools and counties are published on the DLA website, which is a great resource for those interested in the finances of state and local governments. Guindon has provided tremendous leadership to the Department of Legislative Audit, and I am confident this will continue to be the case with the new auditor general. HCR 6003 passed out of State Affairs unanimously.

SB124 protects the exercise of religious freedom. SB124 states that the government cannot treat religious conduct more restrictively than any other activity. For example, some states or localities have closed or limited attendance at churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, but haven’t applied the same rules to other establishments. The practice of religious freedom is a constitutional right that needs to be respected. SB124 passed the Senate unanimously.

At the time of this writing, there are three weeks left of session and a number of big topics are yet to be discussed and important votes to be cast.

As always, if you have any concerns about the issues facing the Legislature, I can be reached at 605-660-6468 or kyle.schoenfish@sdlegislature.gov.


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