There are pluses and minuses to the term limits that South Dakota voters placed on the Legislature through the 1992 constitutional amendment.
We’re seeing again this election year that term limits don’t necessarily force a legislator to leave the Legislature, especially not forever.
The three senators are Democrat Jim Hundstad of Bath and Republicans Bob Gray of Pierre and Tom Hansen of Huron. All three are retiring from the Legislature rather than taking the option of running for the House instead.
Four of the seven House members who are term-limited are retiring too. They are Republicans Jamie Boomgarden of Chancellor, Thomas Brunner of Nisland, Roger Hunt of Brandon and Chuck Turbiville of Deadwood.
The three other term-limited House members are running for the Senate.
House Speaker Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City, is challenging Republican Sen. Tim Begalka of Clear Lake in District 4. Democratic Rep. Steve Street, formerly of Revillo and now with a Milbank address, is waiting to take on the winner there.
A change of address took place too for another term-limited Democrat recently. Redistricting placed Rep. Paul Dennert of Columbia into the redrawn District 1 with Senate Democratic leader Jason Frerichs of Wilmot lives.
Rather than retire, Dennert bought a home in Aberdeen that is in District 3, allowing him to challenge Republican Sen. Al Novstrup of Aberdeen.
Then there are Sen. Jim Putnam, R-Armour, and Rep. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland. They’re trying to switch places again.
Putnam was appointed to a vacancy in the state House in 1987 after the death of Rep. Gary Bender. Putnam has been in the Legislature ever since.