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GOODWIN: We can't sacrifice security for transparency
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GOODWIN: We can't sacrifice security for transparency

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“Mr. Chair, I move this bill be sent to the 41st day.”

I remember five years ago, my first week in the legislature. I had this great bill. It was going to allow anyone who had a military ID card (not a dependent ID) the right to have an adult beverage. This was targeted at our 18-20-year-old service members, old enough to get deployed overseas and fight and die for our country, but not old enough to make an alcohol decision. In my mind, this was a lay-up bill as far as passage and surely would make it out of State Affairs Committee and on to the House floor where it would have unanimous support.

Wrong! It was moved to the 41st day by an 11 to 2 vote!

My co-sponsor was also an Army veteran who was in his third year in the legislature. I looked at him and asked, “What the heck just happened?” and, “What happens on the 41st day?” Remember, this is my first week in the legislature. He explained that our legislative session, by state statute/law, can only meet for 40 continuous days each year. The 41st day will never happen, so our bill was dead.

Fast forward to five years later. Last Friday, February 5, in the same committee (except this time I’m on it), I moved to have House Bill 1089 sent to the 41st day. The procedure was exactly the same that happened to me five years ago. Of course, the bill’s subject was totally different.

House Bill 1089 “To authorize the disclosure of protection and security expenditures for public officers.”

What is it about?

Gov. Kristi Noem has a security detail provided by our Highway Patrol. This bill was asking for the Highway Patrol to divulge expenditures of what was spent on security, not just for our Governor, but Supreme Court Justices and any other state representatives or employees who require security. The Secretary of Public Safety, who oversees the Highway Patrol, testified that if security budget details were released, someone wanting to cause harm to whomever the Highway Patrol was protecting could see trends by expenses, thus compromising security.

Once proponent and opponent testimony was heard, we had committee discussion and/or action. So, I moved to have HB1089 moved to the 41st day. The vote was 11 yeas to 2 nays and the bill was sent to the fictitious 41st day.

My thought when it comes to security is that if we are going to err, we should err on the side of caution. I also believe we absolutely need to listen to our professionals and not in any way second guess their security detail judgment. If this bill was introduced to show transparency in government by tracking tax dollars spent, then fine. In this case, “no can do” if it comes to compromising security. Now, if this bill was filed to embarrass our Governor and give discredit to her ambitious schedule which has included campaigning for our last President and congressional races around the nation, well that’s just wrong and, in my opinion, mean-spirited. Also, my take is that it is an absolute honor that our Governor was asked to campaign on the national spectrum. Gov. Noem is a political “rock star” around the entire country. We should be proud of that fact and make every effort to support her. I can attest every day she serves as our Governor she is looking out for the best interests of all the citizens of this great state.

I know Gov. Noem. History will show what a tremendous job she has done during the worst possible time to serve as Governor of South Dakota. You can look up any bill at any time at www.sdlegislature.gov

Tim R. Goodwin serves District 30 in the State House of Representatives.

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