Threatening vetoes, Noem spars with legislative leadership

Noem offered scathing critiques of both House and Senate leadership.
Governor Noem is sparring with legislative leadership about legislative priorities this past session, and still threatening to potentially veto certain bills.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 8:21 PM CDT
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MITCHELL, S.D. - It took just about ten weeks for the relationship between new legislative leadership and Governor Kristi Noem to deteriorate.

On Wednesday at a bill signing event for HB 1090 in Mitchell, Noem took members of state legislative leadership to task for disagreements over legislative priorities, putting the future of the budget and a temporary sales tax cut in flux.

Noem has already threatened to veto both items on a number of occasions.

“The problem with the budget is how much more it spends above and beyond what we had in there for revenue originally,” Noem said to reporters. “And as far as ongoing commitments, I think if they are going to spend that much money, than they should be palms up and say that the taxpayers should get to keep a little bit of their money too.”

Noem laid these concerns squarely at the feet of House and Senate leadership, taking aim at both House Majority Leader Will Mortenson (R-Pierre) and Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown).

”All Will Mortenson had to do as Majority Leader was walk down those stairs. He said it takes two to tango? I was waiting right downstairs, offering to help him get a permanent tax cut, and he chose not to,” Noem argued.

Last week on The Dakota Scout podcast, Schoenbeck laid into the Noem administration, going on to call her the most ineffective governor he had ever worked with.

”She can’t keep staff. She’s got these people from Ohio and Florida who have no clue about what they’re doing. So it’s the people you surround yourself with that will define your talent and ability. She has no talent to pull on,” Schoenbeck said.

Noem was asked to respond to those comments Wednesday.

“That’s the thing with this guy, he can be your biggest fan one day, then the next day he is 180 degrees the opposite, ripping your face off. If you guys could see some of the text messages that he has sent me over the years, I don’t think that he would ever get elected again.”

But it’s political squabbles like these that could ultimately bring lawmakers back to the drawing board, potentially forced to negotiate pieces of the budget with the executive branch.

”I know the Senate did not want to do a tax cut, I did,” Noem continued. “The Senate did not want to do paid family leave, I was disappointed in that. They also did not want to help foster kids. I was disappointed that with all the things they did in this budget, cutting taxes and helping families was not a higher priority.”

State lawmakers will return to Pierre for Veto Day, to consider any vetoes the Governor might still make, on March 27th.