Press "Enter" to skip to content Signals Legal Action Against Legislature’s Bogus Emergency Clauses

I’m not the only one who thinks the “emergency clause” Republicans are using in House Bill 1069 to repeal Initiated Measure 22 is unconstitutional. Rick Weiland and Drey Samuelson, leaders of, say this ploy by Republicans to insulate their repeal from a public vote is bogus:

“This is completely outrageous,” Weiland said, “not only because the Legislature obviously believes its judgment is superior to that of the people of our state, but also because they are arrogantly—and improperly—applying the ‘emergency clause’ to this legislation when there obviously is no emergency present.”

…“It is highly ironic,” Samuelson said, “that the South Dakota Legislature not only has chosen not to listen to the expressed will of the people of our state, the very people who pay their salaries, but the Legislature is not even listening to the legal experts in its own Legislative Research Council. What is also ironic is that members of the Legislature charge that the South Dakota Anti-corruption Act is unconstitutional, when it is their own remedy that is clearly unconstitutional!” [, press release, 2017.01.24]

And if Republican legislators insist on using the emergency clause to quash a referendum drive, is signaling it’s ready to lawyer up and fight:

“This needs to be challenged in the courts, and almost certainly will be,” Samuelson concluded [, 2017.01.24].

Represent South Dakota provides this sampling of negative press that House Bill 1069 has earned the South Dakota Legislature on the national stage (not that anyone will notice, since the President of the United States is destroying America’s reputation by threatening to go to war against an ally for oil):

If and Represent SD do litigate, they should throw SB 67 into court as well. The only way voters can put their will into law without the Legislature undoing it is to amend the state constitution, and the Legislature is using emergency-claused SB 67 to make it 88% harder for South Dakotans to make such amendments.


  1. Donald Pay 2017-01-24 13:40

    The Legislature is making a huge mistake. But I love it!!!! Because of their arrogance, this is about to hit full-on national media coverage. When that happened with the sewage ash scam, Gov. Mickelson was fielding questions non-stop from the national media about how South Dakota officials got snookered. It made them look really, really dumb and corrupt. I loved I!!!!. The humiliation of having these corrupt officials having to explain away their corruption on 60 Minutes will almost be worth them bringing these emergency clauses. Uh–haa, haa, haaaaa! Love it!!!!!

  2. Darin Larson 2017-01-24 14:07

    Why is it that Republicans lecture us about the need to uphold the Constitution all the time and then see fit to make a mockery of our SD Constitution by declaring a false emergency for political expediency?

    Is the emergency the people might refer their legislation and vote it down again?

  3. Jana 2017-01-24 14:22

    The only emergency I see is a legislature with too few ethics and an overabundance of disdain for the citizens of South Dakota.

    Funny that there is no SDPB recording of the vote at 3:00…or am I not looking in the right place.

  4. o 2017-01-24 14:50

    Why is there such a disconnect between legislators and the people who elect them? The whole point of IM22 was that there is a feeling that there is a question as to the ethical standards in Pierre (maybe the wording is imperfect, but evaluate what motivates so many to vote for 22 as an idea). The legislature seemed tone deaf in its fervor to repeal what the citizens put in place, but worse yet, to ignore the seed of doubt that the electorate holds. The inclusion of an emergency clause now doubles-down to further this disconnect to say that not only shall the will of the people be ignored, but so also shall the ability to articulate that will. Most of us know many of the legislators in Pierre and if we are honest, many are friends, good people, people who surprise us when they take this stand once away from home. Is that it? Has this become a Pierre culture? Is it the water?

    Is it that somehow our legislators have disdain for those who elected them? That is how it is how it is beginning to feel.

  5. Curt Jopling 2017-01-24 16:07

    Kudo’s to for taking this on. Where do I sign up? Please attend your cracker barrel sessions and let them know that this is bulls*#t.

    This issue needs lots of national attention. Our local shopper just published an article titled “Tourism Department Posts Record Numbers in 2016”. Lots of people going to see the “Shrine to Democracy” I assume. The legislature should not forget North Carolina? National groups pulling their money out of the state. Business canceling expansion plans.

  6. Porter Lansing 2017-01-24 17:26

    In politics perception is everything. USA’s perception of South Dakota is falling like a landslide.

  7. Billy Baroo 2017-01-24 17:33

    The only disconnect between voters and the winners is that democrats are being told to pound sand.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-24 18:14

    Billy Baroo
    It is not only Democrats being told to sand pound, it is every South Dakota voter that voted for IM22

  9. DellS 2017-01-24 18:42

    Folks, up in N. Dakota thugs hired by local cops and corporations threw grenades (flash bang sounds cute, it’s a grenade, know how you can tell, one exploded on an unarmed woman, and blew the flesh off right down to the bone, on her whole upper arm, she is now crippled). No ones experimented on humans to see what they can take like that since Hitlers Nazi’s. If you think S Dakota gov’t won’t do just the same to any trouble makers who won’t let the chains of slavery be slapped on them by their “betters”, you’ve got a rude awakening coming.

  10. gtr 2017-01-24 20:15

    Glad to see Take It Back.Org willing to take legal action on this. This is no emergency except from the group that’s fighting this, they may even be more corrupt than all of us that voted for this measure may have imagined. And no Governor we were not hoodwinked.

  11. Linda Lockwood 2017-01-24 20:27

    I’m so disgusted about this.Something has to be done.If Trump thinks he’s going to sit back and wave his magic wand so that everything goes his way,he is sadly mistaken.

  12. grudznick 2017-01-24 20:39

    The IM #22 was bad. It was bad. And now Ms. Bartling and Ms. Wismer and Mr. Sutton and that Hawkley fellow have all admitted it and under a debate they lost admitted it was unconstitutional and sloppily written, the row is hoed.

    This is the sloppy mess that comes from poor law bill writing and out-of-state sloppy dark money interests hoodwinking the South Dakota electorate.

  13. Porter Lansing 2017-01-24 20:47

    Nope, IM22 is good. It’s just what the people wanted and it’s ?% constitutional.

  14. o 2017-01-24 20:58

    Grudznick, How exactly were SD voters “hoodwinked?” What were they lead to believe that is not true?

    To your first point, if it was written poorly, then shouldn’t our legislature take those ideas and themes and write them correctly? You know, represent the will of the people. . .

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2017-01-24 22:16

    Roger C makes a very important point. This issue doesn’t have to be partisan. It evidently wasn’t partisan at the polls, where IM 22 received a far larger percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate and than the percentage Democrats make up of registered voters. I could probably find you some Democrats who opposed IM22. I can also point to the bipartisan committee that promoted IM22 (Frankenfeld! Solberg!). It’s Republican legislators and the Koch brothers who seem most incensed by IM 22 and most determined to wipe it from the books by unconstitutional means that shut out public input in every way they can manage from Pierre.

    And I haven’t heard anyone yet produce logic or case law that shows how the use of the emergency clause on HB 1069 or SB 67 is constitutional. Rick and Drey can win this fight if it goes to court.

  16. Ed from Iowa 2017-01-25 03:32

    Right-wing trolls love to mindlessly recite their mantra: “We are a republic, not a democracy.”  Nonsense!  The US is both a republic and a democracy.  Citizens democratically elect representatives to carry out their wishes in a republican framework.  Usually, this works relatively smoothly, in that elected representatives bend to the wishes of their voter base.  When the voters perceive that this is not working, they change their support.  What is happening in SD now is a rare but clear example of republican government in direct conflict with democracy.  In an exercise of pure democracy SD voters (including very many Republicans) voted to support ethics in government and root out corruption.  The legislature’s Republicans are furiously scrambling to overturn the people’s expressly stated wishes.  This is a mind-boggling and egregious affront to democracy.

    Also, can not comprehend how those who are trying to push this legislation can avoid feeling any sense of shame or embarrassment, specially when declaring an “emergency.” OMG, they are trying to make me act ethically!

  17. Ray Tysdal 2017-01-25 09:44

    I sent the following message to my Representatives: Craig Teiszen and David Lust:
    “HB 1069 is totally unnecessary…if it is unconstitutional let the courts decide…then sit down with your constituents (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) and ADDRESS THE PROBLEM. But for elected officials to decide to challenge the vote of South Dakota citizens without input is misguided and speaks to the reason that IM22 was passed in the first place. Case in point…the legislature has a habit of trying to rewrite many of the initiatives passed by its citizens.
    You owe it to your constituents to be a leader, and a leader listens to all sides before deciding to act. The citizens have spoken and we see the “emergency” clauses to be premature when the issue has not been declared by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.
    To pass HB 1069 makes South Dakota’s legislature look (even more) out of touch on this issue.
    Please vote against 1069 and ask ALL South Dakotans for help in drafting a law that will address the problems of lobbying and undue influence peddling by out of state interests. ”

    They both voted “NAY”. Both are Republicans.

    Keep up the advocacy…hold the rest of the Repulican legislators feet to the fire…give them facts…propose alternatives…educate them. Do not let them get away with this!

  18. Jon H 2017-01-25 12:23

    If you represent the people of South Dakota– no matter the party–ethics in government should be a no brainier. This is something all people want. Maybe if you are a dishonest person you might not want this. If that is the case maybe you should resign from representing the people of South Dakota.

  19. Jana 2017-01-25 12:39

    Please remove the Seal of the Great State of South Dakota from all public property. “Under God, The People Rule.”

    The People no longer rule and I don’t think God is going to happy about nuancing corruption.

  20. John W. 2017-01-25 15:23

    I have every confidence that this thing will sail through the senate and be signed by the governor. The population of this state has never shown a memory long enough to remember this sort of legislative sloth and show that it has electoral consequences. Never. The arrogant reasoning that the entire issue is “unconstitutional” before the Supreme Court has even had an opportunity to consider the arguments and merit is demonstrative of that confidence. We will be fighting this sort of corruption for decades, both in the courts, and the legislative chambers just because of our own failures to find, encourage and support candidates that place stewardship, the public trust, and governance above partisanship.

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