Lawmakers seek to stop state officials from hiring relatives

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Several Republican lawmakers say they're seeking to block state officials from hiring relatives after GOP Gov. Kristi Noem's daughter was hired to work in her administration.

Republican Sen. Stace Nelson, the bill's sponsor, says outraged residents contacted him after the hiring. Noem announced in December that her daughter would be a policy analyst in the governor's office.

Nelson says state employment should be based on merit, not on "political family power." A spokeswoman for Noem says the administration hasn't analyzed the bill's text, but says the governor should be able to develop a team who will deliver results for the state "regardless of their last name."

Nelson's bill would prohibit state officials and employees from serving in a supervisory capacity over relatives including parents, spouses, children and siblings.

The 2019 legislative session starts Tuesday.

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