What if the vote for expulsion is 23?
It will take a two-thirds vote if South Dakota senators decide a Flandreau Democrat should be expelled for inappropriate behavior, under rules released Monday.Read it all here.
The rules, proposed for the special session scheduled Nov. 27 to investigate allegations against state Sen. Dan Sutton, say it would take 60 percent support of senators to discipline or censure the lawmaker and a simple majority to exonerate him.
The rules also state that if a written resignation by the senator being investigated is received before the investigation has ended, the head of the committee may terminate the meetings.
As chairman of the Legislative Research Council Executive Board, Olson is the official responsible for signing any subpoenas the committee might issue. He said he has never seen a similar situation in 20 years of legislative experience.
"Nothing like it," he said.
The proposed rules must be adopted as soon as the Senate convenes, Olson said.
While the rules were written specifically for the special session, Schoenbeck said, "I assume they would provide a starting point for the obvious work the next legislature has to do in drafting a better set of rules for dealing with discipline and ethics issues."
But what happens if the vote for expulsion falls short of the 24 votes needed? What if it's 23? You can't tell me that the same people would then turn around and exonerate the accused Senator.
That would set up a tough situation come the next session in January. Because what would happen if this occurs? I doubt that the new Senate would change the results given stronger Democratic numbers. It might still be a majority of Senators, but not enough to expel.
So how would the Senate protect it's employees from harassment and itself from the possibility of massive liability in the case of an accused Senator found not guilty and not innocent ? Would they draft new rules this next spring limiting the contact that the Senator would have with any male employees? The last thing that the Senate would want to do is to set itself up for a huge lawsuit.