SD State Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Nepotism Bill

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. – South Dakota republican lawmakers have filed yet another bill that has people talking. It’s an anti-nepotism bill that would prevent government employees from hiring immediate family members.

Governor Kristi Noem and one her new hires share a lot in common, including their last name.

Noem recently hired her daughter, Kennedy, as a policy analyst. Kennedy just graduated from SDSU with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Public records show that Kennedy will earn $50,000 dollars a year.

”It is a form of governmental corruption,” said State Senator Stace Nelson. “It is – you know, South Dakotans have reacted very strongly against this in the past and as of recently, there’s been kind of a public outcry.”

Sound familiar? Noem isn’t the first governor to hire family. In fact, nepotism has a lasting tradition in the governor’s office.

Governor Dennis Dauagaard hired his son-in-law as his chief of staff. Daugaard’s children also worked for the state government.

Public records show that Governor Mike Rounds’ brothers and children have also worked for the state.

Nelson, a republican, just introduced Senate Bill 39 to put an end to nepotism in South Dakota. Under the bill, any employee – not just the governor – cannot hire, fire, discipline, or promote  a family member.

”Let’s think about the vast amount of state employees that must their butt everyday doing a good job for South Dakota,” said Nelson. “It is inherently unfair to them to have to compete with someone who is someone’s daughter, someone’s son.”

However, it would be okay if someone hired say, their fourth cousin. It would apply to immediate family members. This includes someone’s parent, spouse, child, stepchild, sibling, or in-law.

KDLT reached out to Noem’s office for comment.

“The governor is committed to filling her team with people who share her vision for building a stronger South Dakota for the next generation,” said the Governor’s office in a statement. “We haven’t yet analyzed the bill text, but as a principle, the governor should have the ability to develop a team with trusted public servants who will work hard and deliver results for the state – regardless of their last name.”

The state legislature is scheduled to discuss the bill this month.

Categories: Local News, News, News Top Story, Politics