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Attorney General’s Six Bills Get Tough on Killer Drivers, Corrupt Pols, Pimps…

…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:

  1. 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.
  2. SB 25 lets the police release mugshots. We bloggers can’t wait!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!


  1. Roger Elgersma 2017-01-09

    A whistle blower will never get justice by reporting to the same chain of command that retaliated in the first place. Jackley is smarter than that, just as I was starting to think he was switching from coverup artist to being for justice, now he shows his old wrong thinking again. Either it takes people to long to change their thought process when they are wrong or he never changed. Even the Bible says ‘do not make a new convert into your leader’.

  2. Mike Henriksen 2017-01-09

    The “mug shot” part just sounds like click bait. As long as the actual arrest reports are available, why get more tabloid with news coverage?

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2017-01-10

    As you can tell, Mike, I’m not very good at click bait or the basic “rules” that everyone preaches for blogging—always include a picture, use lots of numbered lists, etc. But are images inherently tabloid? If so, is TV inherently tabloid?

  4. John 2017-01-10

    It would appear Mr. J is learning in his position. His ‘learning’ is good for all of us.

    Consider amending the mugshot bill to allow release only in cases of “wanted” suspects, or post-conviction. The presumption of innocence of all of us must be superior to arrests and mugshots fostered by false accusations. Court dockets are filled with jailing of innocent people subject to liars and their lies. The presumption of innocence, once pieced, is irretrievably harmed in the court of public opinion; it ruins lives, families, and careers almost as ruthlessly as does a conviction.

    Roger @ 13:39 – In cases alleging retaliation – such cases must be removed from the alleged retaliator, but not necessarily from the agency unless the alleged retaliator is also the agency leader or sanctioned (by commission or omission) the retaliation. While it is a bit of the ‘fox watching the hen house’ the agency deserves the first crack at resolving a whistle-blower complaint – unless of course the complaint is against the agency head. Agency leads cannot possibly know all the decisions and actions made by subordinate managers. Agency leaders should have a shot at ‘getting what right looks like’. Appropriately addressing whistle blower complaints invigorates agency morale and the institutional integrity. The converse is devastating for an agency – in which case the agency needs new leadership imposed from top-down or from the courts, or both. The way the proposal reads tells the agency leads to do the right thing, the right way, or risk meeting appealed grievances in court.

  5. Mike Henriksen 2017-01-10

    Not all photos. But let’s say a friend is arrested and the mugshot is out there for public consumption. The person is found not guilty. But that won’t keep the mugshot from having a life of it’s own, especially on social media. It can perpetuate a story that no longer exists. No matter what happens in Gary Busey’s life, for instance, he will always have that mug shot following him around. (And yes, I know he was guilty, but you see my point!)

    I agree with John’s suggestions.

  6. troy 2017-01-10

    I’m with John and Mike.

    Even for the people who do something terrible, were caught red-handed, and are almost certain to be convicted, I’ve never been comfortable with the “perp walks” on TV when they leave the jail or are on way to courthouse as that face becomes indelibly on my mind as the face of a criminal, even if they are never convicted.

    In short, I think with the internet and ease to take/distribute pictures, the “innocent until proven guilty” principle is true in a court of justice but not in the court of public opinion. We should aspire for them to be more concurrent.

  7. Porter Lansing 2017-01-10

    If ideas from “out of state” thinkers are as horrible as Pat Powerless and GrinchNick profess then this proper law from Britain should really pull their drawers over their ears.
    -If the police or another agency is investigating a person or the person is under arrest, this makes them a crime suspect. Media organizations, though, must be careful not to publish the identity (name or another detail identifying him/her) of a suspect at this stage, if they have been able to discover such information. This is because if the police investigation does not lead to a criminal prosecution then the suspect would be able to sue the organization for libel.
    -This remains the case for reports or broadcasts which make it very clear that no prosecution has yet taken place (and thus the suspect could still be completely innocent). This is because such an, albeit factually correct report, creates an inference that the person might be guilty and so is defamatory to that suspect. Such an inference may turn out to be unfounded and the media organization may be unable to defend it in a subsequent libel case.

  8. Porter Lansing 2017-01-10

    I apologize, Pat and Grudz. I usually don’t make funny names for people and these two just slipped out. I’ll be better. I promise.

  9. gregg spindler 2017-01-25

    SB 24, a bill to classify Vehicular Homicide as “a crime of violence” was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 19, with a vote of 6 yea, 1 nay.

    On January 23, the full Senate voted down SB 24 with a vote of 16 yea, 19 nay, with bipartisan support against it.

    Governor Do-nothing opposed the bill. Even though he’s a lame duck he can still peck hard, apparently.

    So drunk drivers that disembowel innocents, as happened to my daughter, can rest well, knowing that with “presumed parole”, they only have to serve 30% of their sentence. Ronald Fischer will serve 4.5 years for killing my daughter.

    Another Fischer clan member was indicted on Vehicular Homicide charge last year in Charles Mix County. Some things never change…

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-25

    Was that vote any closer this year? Why does the Legislature resist this simple law-and-order measure? Are they just mad that it’s being promoted by someone from out of state?

  11. mike from iowa 2017-01-25

    Call me cynical, but what good does more rules do if the top law enforcement agent won’t investigate/prosecute wrong doers?

    From where I sit, Jackley does not have a stellar record of pursuing the real law breakers.

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