Responsibilities of the Lieutenant Governor


The South Dakota Lieutenant Governor is chosen by a "Committee" of Delegates and Precinct Committeemen and Women at a Statewide Convention of both the Democrat and Republican Parties. Each party holds their own convention to choose their choice for Lt. Governor, of who then goes on the general election ballot, whereas the "voters" then vote for who they wish to elect as their Lt. Governor - a Democrat or Republican.

Many people have asked what role and responsibilities does the Lt. Governor have in the State of South Dakota. Those duties are laid out within the State Constitution under Article 4, Section 5:

The lieutenant governor shall be president of the senate but shall have no vote unless the senators be equally divided. The lieutenant governor shall perform the duties and exercise the powers that may be delegated to him by the Governor.

The Lt. Governor really has no real position within the Executive Branch, other than representing the Office of Governor as the "President of the State Senate, of which he gets to break any ties of any such legislation where there shall be a tie vote in the Senate. However, since the State Senate is made up of thirty-five (35) members, there is no means of a tie every occuring.

Therefore, unless the Governor delegates any such responsibilities and duties to the Lt. Governor, he or she may simply sit at home watching C.N.N or Fox News all day long until being called upon.

Because of the fact, the Governor controls what duties the Lt. Governor has, and sets the rate of pay to pay the second in comment, the Lt. Governor acts mainly as a gopher between the Governor, the Legislature, and all of the other State Officials, Officers, the Employees, or any state or local public officer.

For performing constitutional duties and duties assigned by the Governor, the lieutenant governor shall receive a salary to be determined by the Governor but not to exceed the amount appropriated by the Legislature and shall be reimbursed for actual expenses associated with public service. Such salary shall be in addition to the salary provided for in § 3-8-2.1. For purposes of this section, representing the Governor shall include, but not be limited to, investigating complaints of citizens regarding any administrative acts of administrative departments.

- S.D.C.L 1-7, 5.1

The Governor sets the rate of pay, recommending to the legislature what annual salary (if any such salary) shall be paid to the Lt. Governor, and as per such agenda of the governor, shall prescribe all duties, responsibilities of the Lt. Governor from year to year.

Basic Responsibilities of Lieutenant Governor:

  1. President of the South Dakota Senate (legislature) - as the president of the Senate, the Lt. Governor plays a huge role in promoting, lobbying, and representing the Executive Branch in front of the Senate, let alone the legislature itself. By placing the Lt. Governor, in this position, the governor can easily persuade and convey the message of the Governor's office directly to the Legislature, let alone represent all thirty-five legislative districts as the "at-large representative" of the people. The Lt. Governor becomes the lead role in effectively lobbying for legislation on behalf of all districts, in order to effect the vote of the Senate.
  2. Lead Investigator of all Complaints the Citizens may have on Administrative Acts as per Each Administrative Department - where the citizens file a complaint against any of the Departments, Agencies, Public Offices of the State, the Lieutenant Governor hereby is constitutionally responsible to conduct investigations on behalf of the Executive Branch, in order to audit, review, and determine what led to the complaint itself, in order to create a report, which shall be made public on behalf of the people, whereas directing the Governor of what actions to take going forward.
  3. The Governor of the Shall Prescribe Other Responsibilities and Duties - the governor of the state may on behalf of the agenda set forth by the governor shall prescribe to the Lt. Governor a list of other duties of which the Governor may deem important for any such year during the term being elected for. Such responsibilities may include: Meeting with the County Commissions, Mayors, City Councils at the local levels, let alone being placed as the "Chief Diplomat" held to lead any such State Task Forces, Committees across the State in order to help guide and carry forward any of the Governor's statewide agenda.
  4. Acting Governor Where the Governor Becomes Absent or Disabled - where the Governor must take a leave of absence, or becomes disabled, or removed from the Office of Governor, either temporary or permanently, the Lt. Governor fills the void, by stepping into the Governor's Seat for the remainder of the term, or whenever the "void" is lifted, and the Governor takes back the seat.

One can see, the Lieutenant Governor does in fact play an important role within the State Government itself, and depending on who happens to be the Governor at the time, may determine how big or small a role the Lt. Governor may or may not have.

But, in simple terminology, one could claim, the role of the Lieutenant Governor is nothing more than Chief Secretary of the Executive Branch, of which carries the official definition as stated below:

The Chief Secretary is the title of a senior civil servant in members of the State of South Dakota, and, historically, in the United States, the Chief Secretary is the second most important official in the state after the Governor, typically termed the 'Statewide Secretary' and often an office held by a Premier or a similar politically elected minister, and with a portfolio which were equivalent to what was later termed the Home Secretary's office.

The Lieutenant Governor basically represents the Governor in the Legislature, let alone becomes the lead "Chief Secretary" overseeing all of the Executive Branch Officials, Officers, as well as leading all of the Department Secretary(s) in Committee Meetings, let alone corresponding effectively with all of the County Commissioners, City Councils, and Mayors across the State, in order to effectively push, and guide the Governor's statewide policy throughout the State itself.

While the Governor is nominated, and elected directly by the People, and of the people at-large, the Lieutenant Governor is appointed and hand selected by the Delegates and Precinct Committeemen and women of all 687 precincts of thus more directly working with, and corresponding with each of the precincts more closely with the people, in order to help educate, inform, and represent the people more closely, than the Governor who has the task of representing the State At-Large, across the United States of American, acting as part of the Board of Governors in charge of operating the United States of America.

"In 2000, Larry was elected to the state legislature. During his time as a citizen legislator, his peers repeatedly selected him to serve in leadership, and he's shown an aptitude for getting things done. Larry has served as House Majority Leader and has chaired both the Senate and House State Affairs Committees. Larry worked with Governor Noem to reform South Dakota's tax code, led efforts to repeal the so-called "Trucker's Tax," and shaped legislation to limit the government's eminent domain authority. His work earned him the American Conservative Union's highest ranking in 2017. He served as Interim Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture from May 2020, to September 2020."

One could make the argument, that the Lieutenant Governor may be even more powerful than the Governor herself, for it is the Lieutenant Governor who is tasked with leading the State Senate, influencing legislation, leading the charge who may or may not sit on legislative committees, to traveling the State and working closer with the people, let alone their county commissioners, the city councils, let alone working with the Delegates and Precinct Committeemen and women more closely holding town hall forums across the State with the position the Lieutenant is in, as the "Chief Secretary" of the State of South Dakota, and being out of the spotlight, unlike the Governor, the Lt. Governor has more freedom to travel the state working more closely with local officials, officers, the people more hands on, whereas the Governor, Kristi Noem has the full responsibility of representing the State more so, across the United States, lobbying for, and establishing connections, coalitions with other Governors attempting to lead the Country as part of the "Board of Governors".

Together, both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor both play a huge role in representing the Citizens of South Dakota.