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Senate Delays HB 1069 Until Wednesday; Opponents, Keep Those Calls and E-Mails Coming!

Plus Bonus Advice for Machiavellian Republicans!

Supporters of IM22 and direct democracy, your calls and letters to your legislators may be working.

After three days of swift Republican action on House Bill 1069, the repeal of the Anti-Corruption Act that voters approved just eleven weeks ago, the Republican-dominated Senate said whoa, horse! and put off debate on HB 1069 until next week Wednesday.

Prime Senate sponsor Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) opened debate on HB 1069 with brief remarks. He avoided details of the repeal and simply said passing HB 1069 will allow bipartisan discussions and “upgrades to the law” to “embody the spirit of the vote of the people.”

Senator Ryan Maher (R-28/Isabel) then offered Amendment 1069wd, a retention of a definition and an insertion of an interpretation that appear to have no practical effect on the repeal or the resulting law. Senator Maher spoke for just few seconds, calling his amendment “clean-up.”

Majority Leader Senator R. Blake Curd (R-12/Sioux Falls) then rose to invoke Joint Rule 5-17, which delays consideration of an amendment until a full legislative day has passed. (That’s the stalling tactic some House Republicans used last year to delay the sales-tax-for-teacher-pay bill.)

Representative Spence Hawley tried a Rule 5-17 delay in the House on Tuesday but couldn’t get the required support of one fifth of the members. Today, Dana Ferguson reports a majority of Senators stood in support of Senator Curd’s 5-17 motion.

The Legislature is taking a four-day weekend and does not reconvene until Tuesday, January 31. That means Senators head home tonight, spend four days back home at crackerbarrels hearing from constituents, and don’t resume debate on HB 1069 until Wednesday, February 1.

IM22 backers, you now have six full days to keep up the pressure.

*     *    *

This delay intrigues me. Republicans, you have the votes and the Governor’s support. Whatever pressure you’re hearing, crankiness over ballot measures has never turned into voter revolt against their favorite candidates. It’s a fair bet you can repeal IM 22 and still keep your jobs in 2018 (I’ll argue that we’ll change history, but we’ll get to that next year). Why wait?

Permit me to put on my old Republican hat and make a purely Machiavellian suggestion. Republican friends, maximize your return on HB 1069. Use the long weekend to show you care. Come back Wednesday swearing that you have heard the people’s concerns. Respond to those concerns by amending HB 1069 (as Minority Leader Sutton tried yesterday in committee) to remove the emergency clause that prevents them from referring your decision.

Then pass HB 1069, sit back, and laugh. Voters won’t refer HB 1069. Even if they do, the referral will collapse under the complications of the impending Supreme Court ruling (which you are confident will find the whole thing unconstitutional, right?) and the new campaign finance and ethics and lobbying laws that you’ll pass (and you are committed to those bills, right?). You’ll gain points for acting in the public interest without doing any harm to your agenda.


  1. grudznick 2017-01-26

    Mr. H, methinks you are overthinking this. The law bill had been changed by one of those change orders which made it vulnerable to this rule #5/17. Perhaps the legislatures want to put more head-bashing speakings together to really hammer why The IM #22 is so sloppily written by out-of-state dark-money interests that it is completely unfixable and hopelessly unconstitutional and just insaner than most.

    Plus, with people like Mr. Nelson siding with the libbies this lets the good and sane guys pull the rule #5/17 on themselves instead of letting the libbies pull it on them. Then they get their head-bashings in even more order, don’t have to explain their vote this weekend, and then crush the Immense Monstrosity next week.

    It is very swell entertainment, indeed.

  2. Nick Nemec 2017-01-27

    You don’t quite know what you’re talking about grud. The bill hasn’t been changed, the amendment is pending.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-27

    Maher’s proposed amendment is also rhetorical fluff, so even if passed, it won’t really change HB 1069.

    Actually, Nick, there may be a kernel of truth in Grudz’s circumlocutions. The GOP leadership may just be stringing us along, creating an appearance of concern while giving themselves time to peddle their rationalizations and (like last year on the sales tax) jerking IM 22 supporters around by making them drive to Pierre for another day.

  4. grudznick 2017-01-27

    Mr. Nemec, did not the law bill change? Amendment 1069fa? Perhaps I am in the wrong on that but this is about preventing the libbies from taking credit for any delay. Mark grudznick’s words.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-27

    Grudz, you know legislative procedure better than that. Joint Rule 5-17 can only be invoked on a pending amendment, not a bill as amended.

    However, I concur that Curd’s move is about taking credit away from Dems and from Stace Nelson, who actually moved Rule 5-17 first, right after Maher’s amendment was recognized, but who was not recognized by President Michels.

  6. Mark Winegar 2017-01-27

    I spoke with GOP representatives over a beer Wednesday evening and they are feeling the weight of your emails. They are worried but they have been forced to drink the Governor’s “unconstitutional flavored” kool-aid. This is the argument you are going to hear if you do get a response. However, there has not been a judgement on IM 22 constitutionality yet. The injunction is based upon a preliminary opinion and the case has yet to be heard.

  7. Porter Lansing 2017-01-27

    How about we Machiavellian Liberals? I believe, when facing overwhelming opposition numbers, it can be advantageous to “join ’em if ‘ya can’t beat ’em”. There can be ample opportunities to advance your agenda once you’ve appeared to join their team. However, if you languish outside the tent, you’ve no docket except to clean up after the elephants.

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