Controversial state lawmaker resigns

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota lawmaker who came under fire two years ago when she shared an “All Lives Splatter” meme on Facebook has resigned.

Republican state Sen. Lyndi DiSanto of Box Elder submitted her resignation, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kristi Noem confirmed Tuesday. DiSanto posted a message on her personal Facebook page saying she’s planning to move out of state by Jan. 1.

The Dakota War College political blog on Tuesday shared an image of DiSanto’s Facebook post, which said she accepted a position with a real estate brokerage in Montana.

“This also means I have had to close some chapters here in South Dakota, but after some prayer and deep contemplation I believe this is where I am meant to be,” DiSanto wrote.

DiSanto confirmed in a text message to The Associated Press she is joining the Montana brokerage and will no longer be a South Dakota resident.

DiSanto, who was known as “Lynne” for most of her political career, was elected to the South Dakota Senate last November after serving two terms in the state House.

In 2017, DiSanto faced calls to apologize after she shared a meme on Facebook depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle — less than a month after a driver rammed through counter-demonstrators at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman.

Last summer, DiSanto was given a no-trespass order after a social media blowup with a constituent over her activism in a missing girl case. The constituent accused the lawmaker of using Serenity Dennard’s disappearance for personal gain. Serenity was 9 when she walked away in February from the Black Hills Children’s Home and remains missing despite multiple searches.

DiSanto launched a website and Facebook page about the case, prompting Box Elder resident Patricia Kassner to post messages accusing DiSanto of exploiting the girl’s disappearance. After DiSanto replied that she’d stop by Kassner’s to talk, Kassner obtained a no-trespass order from police. DiSanto told police her message was not meant as a threat.

Noem, a Republican, is considering potential appointees to serve the remainder of DiSanto’s term, which runs through the end of 2020.