(SD)-Apology And Forgiveness But SD House Investigation Continues
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -One of the two Rapid City-area Republican lawmakers whose verbal altercation on the House floor Wednesday evening led to the creation of a special House investigation committee says she forgives the other state lawmakers.
Representative Lynne DiSanto of Box Elder posts on Facebook that she's accepted a private apology from Representative David Johnson of Rapid City for the confrontation that made her fear for her safety. Johnson apologized publicly Friday, saying his emotions got the better of him.
The apology came during the creation of a committee on discipline and expulsion to investigate Johnson's actions. Committee chairman Timothy Johns says it plans to meet for the first time Wednesday and he wants members to be able to see video footage from security cameras in the House.
The Associated Press wants to see the footage, too, but a state agency spokesman cited an exemption in public records law in denying access.
A report by the South Dakota Broadcasters Association says eyewitnesses reported a heated exchange between Johnson and DiSanto that escalated into raised voices, foul language, and finger-pointing. Johnson was restrained by a fellow lawmaker and a complaint was filed with law enforcement.
Rapid City State Senator Phil Jensen, also a Republican, told KOTA news that House leaders tried to sweep the incident under the rug but that a group of conservative female lawmakers demanded action.
Jensen said the move to form the disciplinary committee followed a 2-hour meeting between the women and House leaders, adding that he thinks it's going to be a "kangaroo committee" because no conservatives were named to it.
The last time the South Dakota House formed such a committee was in January of last year to investigate a Republican representative who admitted to sexual contact with two interns and later resigned.
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