Special session set on Ravnsborg impeachment

South Dakota News

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Enough South Dakota House members have reportedly agreed for a special session of the Legislature to start November 9 on the possible impeachment of state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

The Republican was driving the car that struck and killed pedestrian Joe Boever on the night of September 12, 2020, at the west edge of Highmore. State government investigators determined Boever was walking on the shoulder of US 14.

The Senate had already agreed to the special session that will look at whether impeachable acts occurred during the crash.

House Speaker Spencer Gosch said Sunday that he and Senate president pro tem Lee Schoenbeck will need to sign a proclamation to make it official. Gosch said he then will appoint a special committee of nine to investigate.

Ravnsborg never appeared in circuit court on the matter. He had his defense attorney enter pleas of no-contest to second-class misdemeanor charges of illegal lane driving and illegally operating an electronic device while driving.

Support from a two-thirds majority of members from each chamber is necessary for a special session. Those thresholds are 24 in the Senate and 47 in the House.

The Legislature has never impeached an official since 1889 statehood.

Should the House agree to formally move forward on impeachment, a simple majority of 36 representatives would be necessary to impeach Ravnsborg. At that point he would be suspended from his office. The Senate then would take up the trial and needs a two-thirds majority of 24 to convict and permanently remove Ravnsborg from office. If the Senate fails to convict, he could return to office.

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