Who holds positions of power in Legislature
By: Staff reports, Republic Capitol Bureau
Presiding officers: Speaker of the House Brian is Gosch, R-Rapid City. Senate president is Lt. Gov. Matt Michels. Senate president pro tem – aka No. 2 – is Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg.
Gosch and Michels generally run the House and Senate action. Gosch and Brown make the committee assignments and decide which committee will handle each bill. Those duties give Gosch and Brown a significant level of power.
The speaker pro tem in the House is Dean Wink, R-Howes. Wink sometimes presides, like Brown. Wink is in line, under long-time House tradition, to be selected as House speaker for the 2015-2016 term if he’s re-elected.
The speaker, speaker pro tem and Senate president pro tem are selected in secret caucus elections. They later are ratified in perfunctory open elections in their respective chambers. The lieutenant governor is Senate president by directive of the state constitution and doesn’t get to vote except in case of a tie on final action.
The majority leaders: Republicans have majorities in the House and the Senate.
The House Republican leader is David Lust, of Rapid City, and the assistant Republican leader is Justin Cronin, of Gettysburg.
The Senate Republican leader is Russ Olson, of Wentworth, and the assistant Republican leader there is Tim Rave, of Baltic.
They are selected in secret caucus elections after the November general elections. They preside over their respective members, participate in setting strategy, work with the governor, advise the House speaker and Senate president pro tem in decisions on assignments, and on occasion meet with Democratic leaders.
The minority leaders: Democrats are in the minority in the House and the Senate.
The House Democratic leader is Bernie Hunhoff, of Yankton, and the assistant Democratic leader is Julie Bartling, of Gregory.
The Senate Democratic leader is Jason Frerichs, of Wilmot, and the assistant Democratic leader is Billie Sutton, of Burke.
They are selected in caucus elections and preside over their members. They too participate in setting strategy from a Democratic perspective, occasionally receive briefings from the governor, and sometimes meet with Republican leaders.
The whips: These are the lieutenants who oversee subgroups of their caucuses. They serve as a link between the leaders and the individual legislators in their groups. They participate in strategy setting with their leaders.
The House Republican whips are Kristin Conzet, of Rapid City, Jon Hansen, of Dell Rapids, Scott Munsterman, of Brookings, and Jacqueline Sly, of Rapid City.
The House Democratic whips are Peggy Gibson, of Huron, Scott Parsley, of Madison, and Jim Peterson, of Revillo.
The Senate Republican whips are Dan Lederman, of Dakota Dunes, Ryan Maher, of Isabel, and Larry Rhoden, of Union Center.
The Senate Democratic whips are Jim Bradford, of Pine Ridge, and Angie Buhl, of Sioux Falls.
Appropriations chairmen: The Legislature has separate appropriations committees in the House and the Senate, with nine members each, but in most instances the 18 operate as a single unit called the Joint Committee on Appropriations. The House chair is Fred Romkema of Spearfish. The Senate chair is Deb Peters, of Hartford. Last term, the chairmen were Wink and Brown, who now are part of the top leadership.
State Affairs chairmen: The House and the Senate have similar committee set-ups. The most powerful typically are the State Affairs committees. Usually most, if not all, of the chamber’s leadership are members. Often the majority leaders are the chairmen. This year, the House chairman is majority leader David Lust, while the Senate chairman is Larry Rhoden, who previously served in the House where he was majority leader.
The committee chairmen: They are all Republicans, and their main duties are setting the hearing schedules for each piece of legislation assigned to their committees and then presiding over those hearings.
Agriculture and Natural Resources – Rep. Charlie Hoffman, R-Eureka; and Sen. Shantel Krebs, R-Renner.
Commerce and Energy – Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown; and Sen. Ried Holien, R-Watertown.
Education – Rep. Jacqueline Sly, R-Rapid City; and Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls.
Government Operations and Audit – Rep. Dan Dryden, R-Rapid City; and Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings.
Health and Human Services – Rep. Scott Munsterman, R-Brookings; and Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton.
Judiciary – Rep. Brian Gosch, R-Rapid City; and Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City.
Legislative Procedure – Rep. Gosch; and Sen. Brown.
Local Government – Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre; and Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City.
Retirement Laws – Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls; and Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, R-Rapid City.
Taxation – Rep. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark; and Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel.
Transportation – Rep. Mike Verchio, R-Hill City; and Sen. MikeVehle, R-Mitchell.