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The Latest: Lawmaker says Capitol should be safe workplace

February 28, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on a confrontation last week between two South Dakota lawmakers on the House floor (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

A South Dakota representative who feared for her safety in a recent confrontation with a colleague at the Capitol says she hopes Republican legislative leadership will take a “more serious look” at such allegations in the future.

GOP Rep. Lynne DiSanto said Tuesday the Capitol is her workplace, and everybody should be able to come to work there and feel safe.

The confrontation occurred last week on the House floor. Representatives started an investigation into Republican Rep. David Johnson’s conduct toward DiSanto, but later voted to end it with her support.

DiSanto said she accepted an apology from Johnson.

The House speaker released security footage Tuesday of the altercation. The silent video shows Johnson approach DiSanto several times before House Majority Leader Lee Qualm intervenes.

GOP Rep. Elizabeth May, a witness, says the video is missing Johnson’s words and “rage.”

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10:50 a.m.

South Dakota’s House speaker released security footage Tuesday of an altercation in the chamber after representatives ended an investigation into Rep. David Johnson’s conduct.

Members voted 64-1 Monday to disband a discipline and expulsion committee established days earlier to investigate Johnson’s actions toward Rep. Lynne DiSanto. She has said she feared for her safety during last week’s confrontation.

But DiSanto asked lawmakers to dissolve the panel, saying she accepted an apology from Johnson.

Speaker Mark Mickelson shared the short clip to be as “transparent as possible.” A Public Safety Department spokesman previously cited a public records law exemption to deny reporters the footage.

The silent video shows a heated one-minute verbal exchange between DiSanto and Johnson. Johnson approaches DiSanto several times during the confrontation, at times stepping away, before House Majority Leader Lee Qualm intervenes.

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