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SD Supreme Court rules that legislators cannot receive COVID-19 Relief Fund grants

The court weighed in on Thursday, Oct. 22, after Gov. Kristi Noem requested an opinion on the matter earlier this week as to whether or not state legislators who are also business owners could receive relief funding.

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PIERRE, S.D. —The South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday, Oct. 22, that current state legislators are not eligible to receive funds from the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Gov. Kristi Noem requested the high court weigh in on the matter earlier this week as to whether or not state legislators who are also business owners could receive relief funding.

South Dakota received $1.25 billion in relief funds from the federal government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Noem’s request, she asked, “Assuming all other criteria is met to qualify, does the South Dakota State Constitution or any state law prohibit a current state legislator from being eligible to receive funds from a Covid Relief Fund Grant Program?”

According to the state’s constitution, no current member of the state Legislature shall be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract passed during the term for which he shall have been elected.

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That part of the state’s constitution was cited in the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.

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