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Legislators Promise to Honor Voters; Two Task Forces Signal Delay

On my front step this morning:

Aberdeen American News, 2017.02.04, page 1A.
Aberdeen American News, 2017.02.04, page 1A.

We’ll honor you voters, say our Republican legislators, after overturning a law we voted on and approved less than three months ago.

I love you—I’ll never do it again, says the abusive husband after giving his wife the back of his hand.

The implication of this headline promise may not be realized this Session. Opposite a whole bunch of replacement bills is Senate Bill 171, a proposal with bipartisan sponsors to create a “Government Accountability Task Force to study government, campaign finance, lobbyist restrictions, and ethics” and propose legislation for the next Session.

In the past, task forces have been used to delay action… in this case, action that a majority of voters demanded be taken yesterday. SB 171 could be a failsafe—if all else fails, we at least get a task force—but it could also signal that even in the face of a popular vote and big protests in Pierre, legislators still haven’t found the political will to take action that could curb their perks and power.

They also haven’t found the will to listen to and empower the voters. The GATF would have thirteen members: four Republican legislators, two Democratic legislators, two picks by the Governor, two by the Secretary of State, two by the Attorney General, and one by the auditor general.

Hmmm… twelve members chosen by the foxes, one chosen by an office more generally concerned with guarding the henhouse.

Shall we talk about peopling a task force on domestic abuse with a majority of wifebeaters?

House Bill 1141 proposes another task force to study revisions to the initiative and referendum process. I wouldn’t mind if that task force delayed every bill proposed this Session revising initiative and referendum, because so far, every bill proposed this Session revising initiative and referendum attacks and weakens the power of the people to propose and vote on legislation directly. Honoring the voters would mean killing every I&R measure except for this task force…

…but watch out: HB 1141 thinks the people on that task force should be the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, two House members picked by the Speaker, two Senate members picked by the Senate Pro-Tem—all Republicans!—and one representative of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber?!? Are you kidding me?!? You (you! prime sponsors Lust and Curd!) pick just one non-Capitol critter to sit with six insiders to discuss what’s good for the power of the people, and you pick one special interest lobbyist from a group that has fought numerous initiatives and referenda? Noooooooo way! I’ll spot you the Secretary, the A.G., and one member of each chamber, each of opposite parties, but then you need to place nine regular citizens not holding elected office who have petitioned for ballot measures in the last three election cycles. The I&R task force should have a majority of members whom the I&R process is meant to serve, not a majority of those whom the process rankles.

I might take the HB 1141 I&R task force over passage of any of the anti-I&R bills in the hopper right now, but if the I&R task force is to promote honest reform (if any reform is needed), we’re going to need a different bunch of people on that task force.

Honor voters? How about putting us on your task forces to tell you what we know, instead of packing the task forces with your pals from the top?


  1. David Newquist 2017-02-04

    The dominant party thinks “honor” is a synonym for “screw.”

  2. Donald Pay 2017-02-04

    As we chanted at our Wisconsin legislators: SHAME!!!!! SHAME!!!!!! SHAME!!!!!!!

    Don’t the Legislators understand that all their “deform” bills and this Government Accountability Task Force is like letting Donald Moeller write the child rape laws? The people spoke, the Legislators silenced them. The Legislators, all of them, should resign. But that would

  3. Darin Larson 2017-02-04

    If they don’t think there is an ethics problem, which they clearly don’t, why would the GOP pass anything of substance? Honor the voters!?? Please, Stahhhhhhhhp!

    Oh, perfect, a blue ribbon ethics commission made up of the foxes guarding the hen house that will advise the hens on how to keep themselves protected. This is one party government at its inevitable conclusion.

  4. scott 2017-02-04

    I wondered how long it would take to come up with the idea of a task force. In SD task force is just a way to delay doing something.

    I think we the people need to change how our legislator functions. We could start when the legislators actually meet. First off there is so little time between the general election and when the legislators first meet that it is not really possible for legislators to properly develop bills. We see that ever year. Session should not start until after Presidents Day to allow for more time for legislators to better work through potential bills they want to introduce.

    Secondly if they delay and form a task force, action should be taken in the fall and not delayed another year, when it is possible to have lost the legislators who were on the task force.

  5. Douglas Wiken 2017-02-04

    Republican legislators make the dumbest, most ignorant voter look smart by comparison. It is time to get rid of every concrete-brained GOP nut case in the legislature in order to get South Dakota government back out of Hoover days and into a real future.

  6. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04

    South Dakota is USA’s LAUGHING STOCK! Allowing unlimited gifts to public officials able to grant unlimited favors to whoever “comes with the cash” makes the state invalid in anything it does, says or any laws enacted. Whether it happens yet or not, just the opportunity invalidates anything about the once proud state of the people. Remember when SoDak was a great place to raise kids? What a shame. ???

  7. Mark Winegar 2017-02-04

    We reject the GOP’s empty promises and rigged task forces.

  8. Chuck-Z 2017-02-04

    So will these task forces be an even mix of voters and people who know better?

  9. moses6 2017-02-04

    Right the Dell Rapids golden boy is going to do well by the voters.Come to dennis wear you a great deal on hoodwinking.

  10. grudznick 2017-02-04

    No we should not have regular people who have petitioned. We should have regular people who have not petitioned. It is the petitioners who game the system and create all these sloppily written unconstitutional measures that cost the taxpayers so much money and wreck our laws and also rile up the ignorant from both in and out-of-state. They get riled, yes they do.

  11. Tim 2017-02-04

    Any sane liberal would leave this toilet and let them have it, just not worth it any more.

  12. Bob Newland 2017-02-04

    I do not understand why the moderator allows the absolutely irrelevant and stupid comments of a coward commentor, a pos which calls itself “grudznick.”

  13. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04

    Grudznik … You are a masterful satirist. Your humor is so dry many here believe you’re being serious when you’ve often told us you’re just trying to get a comical reaction. Thank you. You’ve become the Jane Austen of The Free Press.

  14. Darrell Solberg 2017-02-05

    grudznick, and who riled you UP? The opponents of IM22 say it would cost taxpayers money because of the public financing, which is true. BUT THE COST IS NO WHERE NEAR WHAT CORRUPTION IN S.D. IS COSTING THE RESIDENTS/TAXPAYERS OF S.D. The Task Force is a farce, as the majority party hopes to delay action, so the public forgets about it. THEY ARE MASTERS AT SWEEPING THINGS UNDER THE RUG!!! If you don’t believe me, do we have all the answers on EB-5, Gear-Up, pay to play, no bid contracts, Anderson Seed Co,. and on and on?

  15. bearcreekbat 2017-02-05

    Today (Sunday) the RC Journal’s editorial board wrote on page E5:

    “If we are to trust the sincerity of the Republican leaders, who now proclaim they will honor the intent of IM 22 with several bills in the coming weeks, we need to believe them first and statements made by the governor and Greenfield make it difficult to do that.

    . . . statements made by Republican leaders that seem to create an alternate reality while justifying their opposition to the measure.”

    When the conservative RC Journal calls the governor and Greenfield out for making false statements it just might be time for Democrats or moderate honest Republicans to speak out.

  16. mike from iowa 2017-02-05

    She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
    “But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
    She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
    Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite
    “Take me in, tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake
    “I saved you,” cried the woman
    “And you’ve bitten me, but why?
    You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
    “Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
    “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
    “Take me in, tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake

    Wingnuts be snakes. Never forget.

    (thanks to Johhny Rivers for the lyrics)

  17. Charlie Richardson 2017-02-05

    Task forces=republican delay tactic. These corrupt jokers have no intention of honoring the will of the voters. Condescending arrogance is their game.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-02-06

    Even the Blue Ribbon K-12 Task Force has a couple of teachers on it.

  19. marvin kammerer 2017-02-06

    the stench of the body politick , sd. legislature,smells like a lightning struck cow in 1oo degree will take a boatload of wallpaper to cover up the past 2 governors legislative control & smell.

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