PIERRE, S.D.(WNAX)- A legislator has apologized for his use of words on the House floor yesterday. SB26, a bill to revise the definition of a practitioner for the purpose of medicinal marijuana was being debated. Representative Steven Haugaard of Sioux Falls was talking about girl he knew who started on drugs by using marijuana.
Governor Kristi Noem and other female lawmakers spoke out against his comments, calling it “misogynistic” and “aggression toward women.”
Statement from Governor Noem:
“I am disappointed and appalled by the inappropriate and offensive language used today on the house floor by Representative Haugaard.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he has used his position of power to demean others, especially women.
I am calling on the Speaker and the House to take a stand against this irresponsible and abusive behavior by formally reprimanding and censuring Mr. Haugaard.
I am hopeful the Speaker will set aside his personal friendship with Mr. Haugaard and use his office to send a clear signal to Mr. Haugaard and others that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”
Today’s comments from Rep. Haugaard are just the latest in a long pattern of demeaning and inappropriate comments and actions towards women:
During his brief and tumultuous tenure as Speaker, Haugaard enacted an anti-women dress code that may have been deemed outdated in 1889 when South Dakota first became a state, that mandated women in the state house to wear “hose,” skirts “below the knees,” and that no portion of their legs or their collarbones could show.
He was widely rebuked and then sued for singling out and banning a female lobbyist from the House floor, decided to settle, then asked Governor Noem to foot the bill and when she declined to have the taxpayers of South Dakota foot the bill for his mistakes, he ran to anyone else he could find to cover the legal fees that he would have been personally liable to pay.
Haugaard is challenging Noem in the republican primary for Governor.