As questions arise about state plane usage, Democratic lawmakers point to bills that would curb potential abuse.
Sioux Falls, SD (February 15, 2021) – As lawmakers discuss whether or not the governor’s request for a new $5 million plane should be approved, facts have come out creating questions about Noem’s use of the state plane for personal and political benefit. Democratic lawmakers say they have legislation coming up that will address the issue.
“We recognized this was going to be a concern. Several of us have had constituents reach out prior to the plane logs becoming public. The governor’s travel has become a central theme in the calls we’re getting. Both Senator Nesiba and I have bills that will create more transparency and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used properly.” – Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert
Heinert’s bill SB 153 is an act to require reporting on aircraft usage for state purposes. The bill outlines quarterly reporting for the Department of Transportation’s airplane fleet. He believes this bill would help appropriators make decisions about the air fleet going forward. It also would provide peace of mind for constituents.
“As a member of Joint Appropriations, the proper use of tax dollars is always a top priority. The public has expressed disappointment with the lack of information surrounding both use of the plane and the cost of the security detail that travels with the governor. We can have transparency and safety at the same time and that’s what my bill addresses.” – Senator Reynold Nesiba
SB 165 is a bill to disclose certain expenditures for safety and security. Democratic legislators supported a similar bill proposed on the House side. Nesiba’s bill tries to address some of the concerns that caused the prior bill to be sent to the 41st day.
“It’s our responsibility as legislators to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Both of these bills are scheduled for hearing this week. If you care about transparency in government, I encourage you to reach out to your legislators and ask them to support these bills.” – Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert
In 2006, South Dakota voters passed Initiated Measure 5 limiting the use of the state airplane fleet to state business.