KSFY reporting on Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion

KSFY is reporting that a special committee is going to be set up as part of the rules set forth for the special session being convened this month for the purpose of determining whether or not State Senator Dan Sutton is guilty or innocent of violating joint rules:

When 35 South Dakota state senators meet in Pierre in two weeks, it will be a first. Never in anyone's memory has the body meet for the purpose of investigating, and possibly expelling one of their own. Senator Ed Olson of Mitchell is the chairman of the Executive Board. "Certainly the seriousness of what we're about the do will weigh heavily on all the members of the South Dakota Senate."

A nine-member Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion will be created to hear testimony against, and in defense of Sutton. The committee can subpoena evidence and witnesses, force them to testify under oath and punish anyone who refuses to testify or lies to the committee.

After hearing the evidence, the select committee will vote to expel, censure, discipline or exonerate Senator Sutton. Senator Olson says, "I would think that it would act a lot like a court hearing."

Read it all here.

The statement about the committee having the power to "subpoena evidence and witnesses, force them to testify under oath and punish anyone who refuses to testify or lies to the committee" is no big deal. I believe they have the power to do so now with any legislative committee if they choose to exercise it.

This will probably be the start a long series of articles on the upcoming session, along with the short term and long term ramifications of what the Senate is going to do. Not the least of which is to set the standard of public expectations for legislative behavior somewhat lower.

That, and it's not impossible that while this is the first time allegations have been brought forth on a senator or house member, it's likely it won't be the last in a new hypersensitized legislature who won't hesitate at the drop of a hat to bring public charges.


Anonymous said…
Who appoints the nine member committee, Daugard or Schoenbeck? And what is the party makeup?

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