Rep. Karen Soli was excused from the first two weeks of the 2018 legislative session and there isn’t a sure prediction in general circulation about when she might be back.
Soli, D-Sioux Falls, has been receiving treatment for cancer.
A member of the clergy, she represents District 15. It’s one of the few areas of South Dakota with three Democrats in the Legislature.
Also from District 15 are Rep. Jamie Smith and Sen. Reynold Nesiba.
Soli, now in her sixth year as a House member, has served three times longer than they have. The men are in the second years of their first terms.
Many legislators from both parties greatly respect Soli for her wisdom and experience. She turns 70 on July 15.
She speaks from the perspective of a long-time church leader whose congregations have spanned so many political, and even apolitical, viewpoints.
Her lead contribution during the 2017 session was prime sponsor of the law establishing the State Government Accountability Board. The lead sponsor in the Senate was the chamber’s president pro tem, Brock Greenfield, R-Clark.
The final version created a four-person board of retired judges and justices who screen complaints about conduct of state employees and work with the office of state attorney general.
Soli then served on two interim panels the Legislature’s Executive Board appointed last year. One was on government accountability. The other was on ballot measures.
Both produced proposals now making their way through the 2018 legislating process. It was enjoyable and enlightening to watch her work and think. Many lawmakers who know her will welcome her contributions again upon her return.