Saturday, January 21, 2017

Manning The Barricades In Pierre: South Dakota Government Is Revolting Against The People.

     In  a rarely--if ever--displayed act of collective petulance and rejection of reality, the South Dakota legislature has made a strong push to repeal a law that was passed by voters last November.  That
And Our Political Class
Can't Stand It.
(photo from Twitter)
law was Initiated Measure 22, which contained a package of campaign and governing reforms deemed unacceptable by those who are most affected by it--elected officials in the State of South Dakota.  The law imposes strict limits on lobbying, creates an independent ethics commission and provides for public financing of campaigns.  That last point made me vote against the Initiative, but the rest of it is just fine with me, along with a whole passel of South Dakota voters who were satisfied enough with all the elements of the measure to approve the Initiative by a 53% majority.      

     Supporters are justifiably fed up with South Dakota government's lax oversight of its operations. That laxity was embarrassingly and expensively exposed in the past  few years by scandals (EB-5, Gear Up) that resulted in suicide, murder and the loss of millions of dollars of public money. It's little wonder that South Dakota government gets an "F" from the Center For Public Integrity, which places us 47th worst in the country in the corruption sweepstakes. IM 22 is swamp drainage, South Dakota-style.
   A lawsuit against it is now in the court system, where it is properly being scrutinized for constitutionality.  We should all be fine with the legal process it's undergoing.  But, surprising as it isn't, the law is also being attacked by the legislators who are most affected by it, which is unseemly and transparently self-serving.  Spurred on by Governor Dennis Daugaard, who has already condescendingly and dismissively written off the voters' will by saying they were "misled" and "deceived" by supporters of the measure, the legislature is moving to repeal the law altogether.  76 House and Senate Republicans (no Dems) are sponsoring House Bill 1069, which basically guts the
A Status Quo 
That Has To Change
law, provision after provision.

    Considering that IM 22 has already been deemed unconstitutional in its first court test, mainly in anticipation of a final judgement at the state supreme court, I'd say the odds favor the whole thing being thrown out.  If so, a more constitutionally-conforming version will probably surface. Considering the legislative panic this thing has already provoked, unsympathetic voters ready for reform will likely approve a revised version in even greater numbers.  In their cavalier presumption that they know what's best for South Dakotans despite a voter mandate that says otherwise, our stubborn political class can't grasp that the public is ready for some serious change.  


  1. YOU are so right on, John. Current legis' reps that support this attack on citizen rights are despicable! Arrogance! We know better on lawmaking than do 'those' people! HYPOCRITES!

  2. They have to get a stake in its heart so it doesn't spread throughout the land.

  3. George Bernard Shaw insisted "all professions are conspiracies against the laity," whilst a Babylonian monarch named Hammurabi averred the "first duty of government is to protect the powerless against the powerful." I'm after thinking our citizen legislators aren't so amateur. Meantime, they would, if made aware of same, dismiss the observations of Hammurabi as 'so 18th Century BCE'.

  4. It's about the money. No way should the taxpayers' money be spent funding political campaigns.

    1. That was the deal-killer for me too. But the people were well-informed and they voted it in. I support the people.

  5. I'd love to see the poll of people that knew their tax dollars would be funding political ads! Make an ethics committee composed of politicians to pass judgement over other politicians fine do it. its just another layer of bureaucracy for the working class to pay for because you all know politicians will want to be paid for being apart of this committee! I've never given a dollar to a politician, my time yes to a few but never a monetary donation and now I don't have a choice, part of my tax dollars are going to be used to fund an account to pay for someones mud slinging. Wrong! Don't tread on me.

  6. I actually voted for it because of the tax funding of political campaigns, for the same reason I've always checked that box off on my income tax form that lets a little go into public financing. Public financing means that candidates have some money they can tap into without being beholden to special interests and lobby groups. As written, IM22 also would have let low-income people who generally don't have the money to donate to candidates of their choice have more voice in who they wanted to support financially.

    That aside, most of us are concerned with the undue influence lobbyists may wield, and all of us I think have looked askance at the legislature's lack of oversight that continues to unravel in scandals such as Gear UP and EB5, not to mention their rejection of the recent bill forbidding sexual relations with interns and pages in their employ. Given all that, their refusal to police themselves in light of all this looks questionable at best and downright scummy at worst. Why refuse to have ethics oversight unless you know you're doing something unethical in the first place?

  7. Campaign finance was the only thing in the measure that I did not like, but I voted for it in spite of that fact, because the rest of it was just too important to pass up. There is no way that I thought it would pass, so since it did, Majority whip Arch Beal and all of the legislators who have had the unmitigated gall to vote to overturn it less than three months after it passed and with little to no discussion, should be ashamed of themselves and should either be recalled or turned out on the next election.