…Leaves Ethics Commission to Krebs
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced his 2017 package of legislation last week. With these six bills, Jackley proposes more practical legislation for South Dakota than his opponent in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, has passed in her entire time in Washington. (Marty, feel free to use that line.)
A.G. Jackley’s bills, in order, would do the following:
- Senate Bill 24 makes vehicular homicide a crime of violence. That’s the legislation Gregg Spindler has been campaigning for in memory of his slain daughter Maegan.
- SB 25 lets the police release mugshots. We bloggers can’t wait!
- SB 26 updates the Statewide Automated Victim Information Notification (SAVIN) system to allow victims to register directly for access and to provide automated notices of where defendants lock-up location and status.
- SB 27 tells the Legislature they haven’t done enough to fight corruption (remember, Marty’s running for Governor) and defines using public office to “obtain any personal benefit or pursue any private interest” as a “direct criminal conflict of interest.” SB 27 calls that theft and throws these public thieves in prison instead of giving them probation as Class 5 and 6 felons usually get.
- SB 28 knocks more felons out of that presumption of probation: convicted violent felons and drug dealers caught possessing a firearm (NRA? Any issues here?), inmates throwing poop, and pimps.
- SB 29 adds mobile breath testing to the 24/7 sobriety monitoring program.
Wait a minute—where’s that ethics commission that Jackley said we need? Well, keep your pants on—that appears to be Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s job:
Krebs says she’s already drafted legislation establishing a state ethics commission for lawmakers to consider.
…“I’ve said for a long time that I do think South Dakota needs an Ethics commission, specifically when it comes to campaign finance laws or lobbying laws, so that there is some kind of oversight and checks and balances,” Krebs says. “When you look at state government as a whole, there would be room for that in the campaign finance area. And I would be in favor and support and be willing to work with language that the legislators are going to be proposing” [Lee Strubinger, “Secretary of State Krebs Favors State Ethics Commission,” SDPB Radio, 2017.01.03].
A.G. Jackley may leave the ethics commission to SOS Krebs, but he does take one more swing at corruption with a seemingly minor new provision in Section 3 od SB 27:
An employee may file a grievance with the appropriate governmental entity if the employee believes that there has been retaliation, because of reporting a violation of section 2 of this Act through the chain of command of the employee’s department, to the Office of the Attorney General, or to the Department of Legislative Audit. If no grievance process exists, a civil action may be filed in circuit court [Senate Bill 27, Section 3, posted 2017.01.05].
That doesn’t create a new place to report the corruption SB 27 tackles, but it at least clarifies that whistleblowers have the faint protection of being able to file a civil suit over retaliation for whistleblowing. Come on, Marty—you can do better than that! Tell the Judiciary Committee to hold this bill until Shantel’s bill goes through, then amend this bill to authorize Shantel’s ethics commission to hear whistleblowers’ retaliation complaints directly!