Republican State House Majority Leader pleased with session thus far

Workflow is moving efficiently through the legislative process, and Republican legislators are having a good relationship with Gov. Kristi Noem this session.

That’s according to Republican House Majority Leader Will Mortenson from Fort Pierre.

“She (Noem) put out a roadmap, and it matched up pretty well to the priorities of our caucus,” Mortenson said. “We’re getting along with her better than I’ve seen, really, in the four years that I’ve been in there. That’s to her credit and to Noem and her team.”

Mortenson said the Republican leadership consults with Noem and her team “quite often.”

“So, it’s been a good relationship this year,” Mortenson said.

With a week of significant bill deadlines, particularly Wednesday’s “Crossover Day,” where bills need to pass the house of origin, Mortenson said he didn’t want a repeat of his first term in the House.

“I think we had 37 different bills to vote on, on Crossover Day,” Mortenson said. “It’s just no way to run a railroad, and we were there until 12:30 in the morning. I thought if I ever get this job, I’m gonna make sure that if a bill’s not ready to go, we don’t defer it and kick the can down the road, we just kill it.”

Wednesday, he says they should leave the House by 3 or 4 p.m.

One of the other significant deadlines is Friday’s appropriations committees’ deadlines to get funding bills out of the house of origin.

“We go in there, and we tussle for nine weeks in the legislature and create headlines and fight over all kinds of stuff,” Mortenson said. But there’s only one most important thing. We do one thing that impacts the most people, and that’s the state budget.”

He said that includes funding education, paying state employees, and reimbursing Medicaid providers.


The South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)