South Dakota Codified Law 10-45D-2 imposes a tourism tax of 1.5% on gross receipts at “any lodging establishment, campground, motor vehicle rental, visitor attraction, recreational equipment rental, recreational service, spectator event, and visitor-intensive business.” Visitor-intensive businesses—defined by SDCL 10-45D-1(7) as “any antique shop, book store, candy store, flea market, gift shop, indigenous arts and crafts shop, jewelry, lapidary shop, leather goods shop, marina, novelty shop, pottery shop, rock shop, souvenir shop, and tee shirt shop*” that makes the majority of its money from June 1 through September 30—pay that tax only during those tourist months; all other businesses subject to the tourism tax pay that 1.5% year-round.
One might scan the tourism tax definitions and think the Falls Park Farmers Market could qualify as a “visitor attraction.” But Spokesperson Susan Randall estimates that folks from outside of Sioux Falls make up less than 5% of the market’s customers. Besides, the tourism tax chapter defines “visitor attraction” not as any place that attracts visitors (in which case the Sioux Falls Hy-Vees and Kesslers in Aberdeen would have to pay tourism tax for attracting so many visitors from surrounding small towns) but as “any business establishment that offers recreation, entertainment, or interpretation of natural or cultural history.” The Farmers Market isn’t putting on a show; it’s selling groceries.
The Department of Revenue has one rusty nail on which to hang its taxing hat in this case. SDCL 10-45D-1(3) says, “A visitor attraction includes any business which is being conducted on the site of another visitor attraction.” If we consider Falls Park to be a visitor attraction, then the Falls Park Farmers Market is conducting business on the site of another visitor attraction, and the Farmers Market has to pay tourism tax.
But wait: that same definition begins by saying a “visitor attraction” is “any business establishment….” Falls Park is not a business establishment; it is a city park. So even that rusty nail doesn’t hold Revenue’s hat.
Statute does not justify charging the Falls Park Farmers Market or any other farmers market the tourism tax. Farmers markets aren’t tourist traps; they are important local businesses providing healthy food and local economic self-sufficiency. Raising their costs gives an unfair advantage to the big corporate grocers who do not have to pay such a tax.
If the South Dakota Legislature can call a special session just to adjust the law dealing with flooded landowners and fishing fans, it can certainly add to its summer agenda a quick amendment to the law that clarifies that farmers markets, which take place in communities around the state, are not tourist attractions subject to tourism tax.
*SDCL 10-45D-1(7) is the only South Dakota statute that mentions the term “tee shirt.”
Among the do-nothing puffery from the White House this week is Donald Trump’s executive order telling Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to review education policies and get rid of anything that doesn’t comply with federal law.
Hmm… groundbreaking, or simply restating the status quo?
In an executive order, Trump granted DeVos authority to get rid of K-12 education regulations that don’t comport with federal law. A top U.S. Education Department official admitted, however, that DeVos already has this authority.
…[DeVos advisor Rob] Goad said Wednesday’s executive order “puts an end to this overreach,” giving DeVos the power “to modify anything that is inconsistent with federal law,” though he admitted that she is already empowered to do that [Greg Toppo, “Trump Orders DeVos to Get Rid of ‘Overreaching Mandates’ in Schools,” USA Today, 2017.04.26].
Trump’s order that the Department of Education follow federal law suggests another Trumpian governing philosophy: the rule of law is subordinate to the rule of man, so Trump’s people should follow the law only when Trump tells them to.
As we know, Attorney General Marty Jackley has charged Ehab Jaber with one count of making a terrorist threat. Being a Muslim gun owner’s lawyer will likely be a thankless task… but it may also be an easy win. Let’s review the charge, the law, the arrest affidavit, and the evidence, and see just how flimsy the terrorist threat charge may be.
In his April 21 complaint, Attorney General Marty Jackley says the defendant violated SDCL 22-8-13:
Highlighting the key language from the relevant statutes, the Attorney General contends the defendant “threaten[ed] to commit a crime of violence… with the intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Making such a terrorist threat is a Class 5 felony—five years, $10K fine, max. The Attorney General’s invocation of the language about “chemical, biological, or radioactive material, or any explosive or destructive device” seems out of place; Jaber displayed none of those items, only firearms, which SDCL 22-1-2 distinguishes from “destructive device” and “explosive.” The more language in SDCL 22-1-2(9) that might describe the defendant’s allegedly threatened crime of violence is “murder, manslaughter,… or any other felony in the commission of which the perpetrator used force, or was armed with a dangerous weapon….”
In the following affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, Sergeant Sean Kooistra of the Sioux Falls Police Department explains what he saw during his interaction with the defendant on April 9 and his subsequent review of three videos on the defendant’s Facebook page.
In paragraph 2, the officer describes the subject entering a parking lot, parking, backing out, driving quickly (but not, apparently, illegally) toward another lot, and parking. The officer deems this behavior “suspicious” but cites no threat.
Paragraph 3 describes no threat, only legal exercise of First and Second Amendment rights.
Paragraph 4 indicates the defendant was evasive about his name but not about the fact that he was armed or that he was recording the event. The officer says the encounter ended without incident.
Paragraph 6 describes on online video in which the defendant makes no threat.
Watch that video at the bottom of my Monday post. “If you really want to be scared,” the defendant says before displaying any of his weapons, placing his entire display in the conditional. He does not point any of the weapons at the camera. He does not hold any of the weapons in a ready-to-shoot gesture. He displays ammunition but loads none of it in his weapons; instead, he places the ammunition back in the storage compartment in his vehicle.
His final words on the video are “This is f—ing bulls—.” He conducts this entire tirade while wearing a t-shirt that (as acknowledged by the officer in paragraph 8) clearly says, “I am only dangerous if you are stupid.”
The defendant says not one word in this video that indicates an intent to fire any of his weapons at anyone at the anti-Islamic event from which he was ejected or at anyone else. Simply, the defendant issues no threat, either verbal or physical. Rather, the defendant mocks those who would consider him a threat.
Paragraph 9 describes a third video in which the defendant describes his perception of the fear felt by the people attending the April 9 event and by the whole of “white America.” This video makes no threat; it shows the defendant’s belief that fear already runs rampant in society and his perception that such fear deserves mockery.
That’s all the evidence the affidavit presents. No evidence shows the defendant engaging in a crime of violence or preparing to commit a crime of violence. The evidence shows the defendant engaging in entirely legal conduct and expressing disdain for, if not disbelief at, the fear his legal conduct and his mere presence appear to arouse in other citizens.
If the above evidence is all the state has, the state had better drop the terrorism charge fast and focus on the meth charge.
I have a hard time getting excited about stories involving professional athletes. The particulars of why privileged sports millionaires commit heinous crimes get enough discussion elsewhere and don’t advance much understanding of public policy or economics or the general welfare.
If Hernandez had committed his crime and his suicide in South Dakota, he’d still be guilty. In 2008, the South Dakota Legislature approved House Bill 1271 wrote abatement ab initio out of state law. If a defendant dies before sentencing, the court enters a judgment of conviction and can impose a sentence collecting restitution, court costs, and costs of prosecution (SDCL 23A-27-49). A representative of the defendant’s estate may carry on appeals (SDCL 23A-27-50). That representative has thirty days to file that appeal (SDCL 23A-32-20). A representative of a deceased defendant may continue a pending appeal by filing a motion for substitution within sixty days of the defendant’s death (SDCL 23A-32-21).
Rep. Rich Engels sponsored 2008 HB 1271; the only people to vote against it were Reps. Jim Bradford, Tom Hackl, Roger Hunt, Tim Rave, and Manny Steele.
By killing himself, Hernandez won the same legal result as a successful appeal. In South Dakota, his death would not have put him or his estate beyond the reach of the long arm of the law.
Other emergency situations and natural disasters? Come on—such events are not the intent of the law. As we discussed before Daugaard removed the martial-law provisions of the original draft of SB 176, the Governor already has extraordinary powers to deal with emergencies and disasters. The watered-down SB 176 only allows the Governor to kick people off public land and harass folks stopped along a road. ***Update 09:05 CDT: SB 176 does add the ability to charge individuals who enter a disaster area without authorization with Class 1 misdemeanor criminal trespass, but that only adds subsequent punishment to the immediate disaster-area powers the Governor has to forcibly detain and evacuate individuals.***
Don’t let the Governor buffalo you: SB 176 doesn’t enhance public safety in emergency situations. It seeks to turn public protest into “emergencies” that warrant police crackdowns.
[Sara DeSmet] just recently started a petition to repeal SB 149, and is hoping to rack up enough signatures to get the Governor’s attention. DeSmet is a supporter of the LGBT community and believes the new law is discriminatory.
“That’s not fair. It’s preventing them from moving forward, especially as far as they’ve come already,” Sara DeSmet said.
Along with dozens of supporters online, Laurie DeSmet and her husband are planning to join the fight.
“The state of South Dakota could come into the 21st century. They’re capable of loving children, of providing them good homes, and education, safety, things that they don’t have for whatever reason they’re in the foster care system,” Laurie DeSmet said [Calah Kelley, “Woman Starts Petition to Repeal Adoption Bill,” KELO-TV, 2017.03.12].
I agree wholeheartedly with the DeSmets’ sentiments. I am pleased to see that, thanks to press coverage, the Change.org protest has drawn (as of 07:07 CDT) 1,722 supporters.
But we understand that an online petition has no force of law. The people to whom this Change.org protest is addressed—Governor Dennis Daugaard, who signed SB 149 last Friday, and Senator John Thune and Representative Kristi Noem, who had nothing to do with the passage of this state law—have no power to repeal this law (not to mention little desire and no formal obligation to respond to this online protest).
Prepare a form that petition circulators can hand out to signers “containing the title of the referred law; the name, phone number, and email address of each petition sponsor; and a statement whether the petition circulator is a volunteer or paid petition circulator and, if a paid circulator, the amount the circulator is being paid” (this is a new onerous requirement foisted upon petitioners by the Legislature last year).
Get the petition and handout approved by the Secretary of State.
Get copies of that petition, the handout, and the rules for circulating in the hands of all of the adult South Dakota residents on your list.
Once those circulators get all the signatures they can, tell them to take their signed sheets to a notary public (go to the courthouse or your favorite bank) and get the notary’s seal on each sheet.
Collect all of those sheets and submit them to Secretary of State by Monday, June 26, 5 p.m. CDT with at least 13,871 valid signatures (if you get 1,000 volunteers from your Change.org protest, and if each one collects 20 signatures, you should have a safe 20,000 signatures, a good cushion target for any referendum drive this year).
Online petitions are good organizing tools, but if we want to repeal SB 149, we need to break out the pens and paper.
A couple weeks ago, Senator Stace Nelson [R-19/Fulton] and eleven Legislative colleagues raised a stink about carcass bills and vote-trading. In a Valentine’s Day letter to Marty Jackley, Nelson and friends requested an official Attorney General’s opinion on the legality of trading votes on legislation.
“Vote trading,” also known as “horse trading” or “logrolling,” is not prohibited by existing law. It is defined as “[t]he trading of influence or votes among legislators to achieve passage of projects of interest to one another.” American Heritage Dictionary Second College Edition 403 (1983). Those acts are “the swap of one official act for another.” United States v. Blagojevich, 794 F.3d 729, 735 (7th Cir. 2015). For example, “Representative A agrees with Representative B to vote for milk price supports, if B agrees to vote for tighter controls on air pollution.” Id. The Blagojevich court explained, “Governance would hardly be possible without these accommodations, which allow each public official to achieve more of his principal objective while surrendering something about which he cares less, but the other politician cares more strongly.” Id. Our Legislature implicitly recognizes the propriety of “vote trading” as its Joint Rules do not prohibit such conduct [Attorney General Marty Jackley, Official Opinion 17-02: “Whether ‘Vote-Trading’ and ‘Vehicle Bills’ Are Prohibited,” 2017.02.23].
“Vehicle bills” are constitutional in South Dakota. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate may freely amend bills that are passed by the other chamber. S.D. Const. Art. 3, § 20. In South Dakota, an amendment is defined as “to change ‘by modification, deletion, or addition.’” Taylor Properties, Inc. v. Union County, 1998 S.D. 90, ¶ 17, 583 N.W.2d 638, 641 (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 81 (6th Ed. 1990)). A special type of amendment, known as an “amendment by substitution,” may occur during the legislative process. That special amendment is undertaken “by striking out and inserting [language] that replaces an entire main motion or a paragraph or other readily divisible part within a main motion[.]” Black’s Law Dictionary 98-99 (10th Ed. 2014). As the Georgia Supreme Court recognized, amendment by substitution is a universally accepted parliamentary procedure. Shadrick v. Bledsoe, 198 S.E. 535, 543 (Ga. 1938) (citing Mell’s Parliamentary Practice, § 136; Jefferson’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice, § 467; Manual of the General Assembly of Georgia, 1935–36, p. 159, Rule 95).
Our Legislature, like Georgia, recognizes amendment by substitution. South Dakota Legislature’s Student Guide: Glossary of Legislative Terms (“Student Guide”). Joint Rule 6E-2 allows “hoghouse amendments:” “Any substitute bill shall be treated as an amendment and shall be governed by the rules governing amendments.” Reference Book. “Hoghouse amendments” are “a procedure used in the Legislature whereby a committee or a member from the floor will move to strike everything after the enacting clause of a bill and insert in lieu thereof the substance of an entirely new bill.” Student Guide. [Jackley, 2017.02.23]
If you’re a Jackley fan, you give the A.G. bonus points for rebuffing Senator Nelson by citing the Student Reference Series twice. If you’re a Stace fan, you are steamed that Marty whacks your query by citing Legislative info written for kids.
But hey! Roll those logs! Trade those horses! That’s what makes the Legislature hum!
After hearing numerous supporters doggedly avoid stating the real anti-LGBT intent of SB 149, Libby Skarin, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, intelligently explained how SB 149 uses “broad and sweeping language” to “allow religion to be used to discriminate against loving, qualified parents who wish to open their homes to kids without them” (start listening at 79:20 of the SDPB audio). She said SB 149 would allow any child placement agency (not just faith-based or entirely private agencies—read the definition!) to turn away prospective parents based on “explicitly religious criteria” excluding “not only same-sex couples, but also people who have a different religion [from] the agency, single parents, interfaith couples… families that don’t attend church weekly, servicemembers or gun owners… based on the agency’s moral conviction regarding pacifism, all while children in need of homes languish in foster care and await permanent families. This bill even authorizes agencies to deny a child placement with a close relative and instead place that child with strangers if that relative is of the wrong religion….”
As the smartest, clearest speaker in the room Wednesday, Libby Skarin also pronounced her name clearly at the beginning of her testimony: the last name is /skreen/.
Demonstrating at the very least that they weren’t listening closely to testimony, Senator Neal Tapio and Senator Phil Jensen both mispronounced Skarin’s name (Tapio: /SKAR-kin/; Jensen: /ka-RIN, KA-rin/).
Senator Tapio asked Skarin (104:08) if an adoption agency can discriminate against prospective parents with a religious belief in female genital mutilation. Senator Jensen asked Skarin if a known pedophile should be allowed to adopt a child. Skarin said neither such placement would be in the best interest of the child. Senator Jensen said such denial is a “judgment call.” Yet both Senators miss a crucial point: the behaviors they describe are felonies under state law (female genital mutilation: SDCL 28-18-37; pedophilia, Chapter 22-22). Tapio and Jensen are equating felony behavior with behaviors the state cannot punish, like not going to a certain church or any church or not being married to a person of the opposite sex.
In other words, Tapio and Jensen are saying that if you don’t fly right with their church, you might as well be a criminal.
SB 149 passed committee 5–2 (thank you, Chair Deb Soholt, for joining Senator Kevin Killer in voting nay). On the floor Thursday, Senator Billie Sutton invoked Rule 5-17, delaying consideration of SB 149 until this Wednesday, February 22, which gives decent folks plenty of time to e-mail Tapio and Jensen to misspell their names, then contact other, more sensible legislators and get them to vote no on this attempt to wedge Sharia for Jesus into our adoption laws.
Senator Stace Nelson has rounded up some fellow cranky conservatives to challenge the practice of “vehicle bills” or “carcasses.” Nelson and eleven other Republican legislators* have asked Attorney General Marty Jackley for an official opinion on the legislative practice of filing and passing empty bills as placeholders for policies they’re still brewing.
Improper influence of legislation or legislators as misdemeanor. Any person who threatens, harms, offers to make bribes of money or other inducements, offers or gives gifts or other types of consideration to any person for the purpose of obtaining sponsorship or introduction of legislation, influencing the form of legislation, attempting to influence any member of the Legislature to vote for or against any measure pending therein, or for or against any candidate for any office to be elected or appointed by the Legislature, attempting to influence any officer of either house of the Legislature in naming of members and officers of committees, or in the performance of any of his duties, or attempting to influence or control the action of any member in relation to any matter coming before the Legislature, or any of its committees is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. [SDCL 2-12-9, with misdemeanor penalty restored by 2017 HB 1069 repeal of IM 22].
I’m a little surprised: I thought vote/horse-trading was standard operating procedure in any legislative body. I’ll vote for yours if you vote for mine—that’s how work gets done in Pierre, Washington, and every other seat of democracy, isn’t it?
But other inducements… other types of consideration… do the Nelson Twelve have a point? And if they do, what are they and the Attorney General willing to do to stop it?
Two Republicans voted against HB 1069, Senator Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) and Senator Lance Russell (R-30/Hot Springs). Immediately after the Senate’s vote Wednesday to overturn the will of the people, Senators Nelson and Russell filed a formal dissent and protest, placing on the record arguments they made during floor debate that HB 1069 violates the U.S. Constitution by infringing on anonymous campaign speech and violates the South Dakota Constitution by addressing multiple subjects. They also contend that the seventeen Senators suing the state to overturn IM22 violated Legislative Joint Rules by voting on a bill that would allow them to escape further legal costs:
Pursuant to Joint Rule 1-10, we, the undersigned Senators, do hereby respectfully dissent from, and protest against, the rulings of the President of the Senate, Lt. Gov. Matthew Michels, in ruling against Senator Nelson’s point of orders that 17 Senate members be excused from voting due to their personal conflict of interest in the legislation to overturn IM22 due to their admitted public record of personal pecuniary interest in a lawsuit to overturn IM22, violating Joint Rule 12-1 and Section 521 (2)(3) & Section 522 (1) of Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure (enacted as SD Legislative Joint rules via Joint Rule 11-3). Lt. Gov. Michels’ ruling, in the face of such conflict of interests, promotes a practice that undermines the very foundation of our State Constitution, weakens the rule of law, and besmirches the reputation of the South Dakota Senate. Furthermore, we, the undersigned Senators, do hereby respectfully dissent from, and protest the passage of House Bill 1069 in that it clearly violates Article III, Section 21 of the South Dakota Constitution (which 17 Senators acknowledge in section 10 of their lawsuit contesting the mirror image of HB1069, IM22 was unconstitutional for violating this constitutional provision) states: “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.” Members voted to pass House Bill 1069 knowing that provisions of it contained sections which require citizens to declare their names, address, etc., on campaign material, which the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled explicitly violates persons’ 1st Amendment rights (see McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334 (1995)). We therefore believe that the passage of House Bill 1069 is in contravention of both the United States Constitution, South Dakota’s Constitution, and is therefore null and void. We thus dissent from, and protest against, the erroneous rulings, the unconstitutional aspects of House Bill 1069, and the appearances of improprieties used to pass House Bill 1069. We respectfully request that this dissent and protest be printed in the Senate Journal as required by Joint Rule 1-10 [Sen. Stace Nelson and Sen. Lance Russell, Dissent and Protest to Passage, Senate Journal, 2017.02.01].
Democratic Senators Billie Sutton (D-21/Burke), Troy Heinert (D-26/Mission), and Jason Frerichs (D-1/Wilmot) followed suit but took a little longer to type. Their dissent and protest appears in yesterday’s Senate Journal:
Joint Rule 1B-2 states the legislators must comply with all Constitutional and statutory requirements regarding conflicts of interest. Voting upon HB 1069 presents a conflict of interest because the legislators currently in litigation against the implementation of Initiated Measure 22 would thereby receive a pecuniary interest due to the passage of HB 1069. Thus, they will no longer have to pay to continue the lawsuit and will thus receive a financial benefit with the repeal of IM 22.
In addition, the South Dakota Constitution, Article III, Section 1 has been used by the courts as the standard to determine when an emergency exists. Article III, Section 1 of the South Dakota Constitution allows a referral of a legislative act to a public vote before going into effect unless it is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety or the act is necessary for the support of the state government and its existing institutions. Since this law is enjoined we contend that no emergency exists, and the use of the Emergency Clause is unconstitutional in HB 1069. We therefore believe the passage of this act is in contravention of the Constitution of South Dakota and the Joint Rules and is such null and void.
We respectfully request this dissent be printed in the Senate Journal.
Nelson and Russell’s argument about anonymous speech is not really an expression of support for IM22. Both IM22 and current campaign finance law require disclaimers and disclosure of sources of campaign communications. The 1995 Supreme Court case they cite said that Ohio’s ban on anonymous speech was too broad but still allowed states and the federal government to impose disclaimer and disclosure requirements tailored to meet overriding state interests. For over two decades, states and the FEC have done just that, and the courts have not thrown out “Paid for by….”
The conflict-of-interest argument tantalizes but probably gets nowhere. Passing HB 1069 appears to end the lawyer bills for Novstrup and the other IM22 plaintiffs, but HB 1069 was not the only vehicle at their disposal for reaching that goal. They could have dropped their lawsuit at any time.
The state constitutional arguments on multiple subjects and the bogus emergency clause are the most solid. The IM22 plaintiffs themselves agreed in their anti-IM22 brief that IM22 addressed multiple subjects; they are logically bound to agree that a bill doing the exact opposite of IM22 also addresses multiple subjects. And for all their rhetorical gymnastics, not one Republican has addressed the 1996 LRC Issue Memorandum that clearly explains the funding requirement for the emergency clause HB 1069 invokes.
But are those two constitutional arguments worth taking HB 1069 to court? Get a court to overturn HB 1069 on the multi-subject argument, and we grant the court grounds on which to overturn IM22.
Get a court to overturn the emergency clause, and we may only delay enactment of HB 1069 until July 1, like a normal bill. IM22 would still be enjoined, and the South Dakota Supreme Court might not rule on the IM22 case before July 1, so even for the next few precious months, we’d still be laboring under the status quo that HB 1069 affirms.
The only impact of a no-emergency-clause delay is the opportunity to refer HB 1069 to a public vote. But that referral would be a disaster. We would place the exact text of HB 1069 (the inverse text of IM22) on the ballot. The South Dakota Supreme Court would then rule a line or two of IM22 unconstitutional (and I’m confident the plaintiffs will win at least one of their claims). Our campaign would then be in utter confusion, as we’d be voting on a Swiss-cheesed bill that includes provisions that we cannot constitutionally enact.
A key part of that pivot is for Nelson Republicans and Sutton Democrats to look for ways to turn their cooperation in protesting HB 1069 into practically constructive and/or obstructive collaboration.
Update 11:26 CST: Senator Stace Nelson expands on his dissent with this op-ed, circulated today:
February 1st was a “dark day” for the South Dakota legislature. The passage of House Bill 1069, brought to repeal the voters’ enacted Initiated Measure22, culminated the ugliest partisan bums-rush of legislation since Obamacare. I publicly opposed IM2 during the election for many reasons. The solution to bad government is not more government, and IM22 did nothing to combat the ugly corruption of the last two governor’s EB5, and Gear Up scandals. Circumstances made me a grudging opponent of HB1069.
Early on I encouraged Senators to go slow repealing IM22. We govern at the permission of the people. While the people give us permission to act on their behalf by electing us, we shouldn’t be so arrogant as to act rashly with out proper respect for their will. I suggested 5-6 single subject constitutional bills to review IM22 and afford the many subjects the proper, respectful, deliberate public hearings that voters deserved. That sage advice was cast aside and HB 1069, the mirror image of IM22 (which they contested was unconstitutional because it was multi-subject), was brought forth to repeal IM22. Immediately streams of dishonest rhetoric was pushed spinning the repeal and claiming a contrived “emergency” demanding the immediate passage of HB1069. Politicians who blithely voted for unconstitutional multi-subject bills previously, now claimed they must repeal IM22 to protect the people’s constitution, from the people!
Despite 24 legislators being personally involved in the lawsuit against IM22, they refused to recuse themselves from the obvious conflict of interest of pushing HB1069 through the legislature. They did everything possible to bend to breaking every rule possible to rush HB1069 through. To add injury to insult, Senators voted to knowingly keep unconstitutional provisions within HB1069, which require personal identifying information the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled explicitly violates persons’ 1st Amendment rights (see McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U.S. 334(1995)). IM22 was allowed on the ballot by the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. That tacit support, in my opinion, removes blame of unconstitutionality from citizens who brought IM22. Legislators brought the unconstitutional HB 1069 mess. They were obligated to abide by legislative ethics rules and our US & SD Constitutions. The inappropriate conflicts of interests, the gross appearance of improprieties used to pass HB1069, and the provisions of HB1069 which were in explicit contravention of both the United States Constitution, and South Dakota’s Constitution, showed who was the real threat to our Constitutions. Principle demanded that I was duty bound to oppose HB1069, which I did.
The manner in which HB1069 was passed was disgraceful, and a “dark day” as Senator Lance Russell (R-Hot Springs) appropriately lamented. Politicians claimed there is no corruption in SD, in support of their rush to pass HB1069. The EB5 corruption and death of Richard Benda; the Gear Up corruption and deaths of Scott, Nicole, Michael,Connor, Jaeci, & Kailey Westerhuis; the recent scandal of a two year legislative cover-up of a legislator sexually preying on pages & interns; and, the same legislators repealing the will of the voters in such a corrupt fashion, refute those assertions upon utterance.
In that “dark day” there was a ray of principled sunshine. The honorable gentleman, Senator Lance Russell (R), stood tall on the Senate floor and opposed the partisan stampeding herd. In the end, we earned the wrath of politicians for refusing to compromise the ethical principles of your government in their demands we go along to get along. The good news is, Senator Russell and I sleep like babies at night and we can look each one of our constituents in the eyes when we go home.