Representative and Speaker Pro-Tem Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls) appeared on South Dakota Public Radio last week and said his “primary interest” is “strengthening the Legislative body” against “the Governor and the bureaucracy out there.”
If Rep. Haugaard really views the Governor and bureaucracy eating into his body’s power (and he may have a case for that), it is interesting that his party is spending more time this election focusing on beating back the check on Legislative power imposed by the people through ballot measures. Amendment X, Amendment Z (both placed on the ballot by Haugaard’s Legislature), and Initiated Measure 24 (placed on the ballot by Speaker G. Mark Mickelson’s petitioning) all seek to weaken the power of citizens to put laws to a direct vote. I suspect there are plenty of citizens who feel the Legislature is already more than powerful enough and should give back some power to the people and local governments.
Incumbent Haugaard also claimed that term limits have weakened the Legislature:
It’s nice when you’re on the outside looking in and you’d like to get elected, but once you get there, you realize the eight years in each house is maybe not as much time as would be best [Rep. Steve Haugaard, interviewed by Lori Walsh, SDPB, 2018.10.02].
I appreciate Haugaard’s agreement with me that term limits are a bad idea. However, his elitist incumbent attitude (signaled by his use in this interview of republic-not-a-democracy rhetoric that is really code for, the legislator’s Club is smarter than you rabble) smells terribly self-serving for a guy salivating at the prospect of wrapping his hands around the gavel.
Haugaard wouldn’t hit his current House term limit until 2022.