Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Republicans Overturning the Will of the Voters  

February 3, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference today, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings responded to the final passage in the State Senate of HB 1069 which repeals Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act approved by the voters in November’s election.

State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley

“Not only did the Republican majority pass a bill to repeal the will of the voters with no replacement in place, they used extraordinary measures to ram HB 1069 through the legislature as quickly as possible,” said Hawley.  “Even worse, several legislators are currently involved in litigation against IM 22 and are personally funding that lawsuit. That means they had a direct financial interest in the passage of HB 1069 as it would negate the need for further litigation.

Despite our pointing out this obvious conflict of interest, these legislators refused to recuse themselves from any votes on the bill and were not asked to by the presiding officers.”

“Perhaps the most disturbing aspect about HB 1069 and its passage, however, was the unnecessary and extraordinary inclusion of an emergency clause that would prevent South Dakotans from exercising their right to refer this overturning of their will to another public vote,” Hawley added. 

Sen. Sutton said the passage of HB 1069 was part of a larger troubling pattern of the majority party in Pierre disregarding the will of the voters. “The only votes our friends across the aisle seem to think should count are the ones for them or for ballot measures they like. The problem is bigger than the 2015 youth minimum wage and HB 1069 this year. The majority party in Pierre is trying to reduce the power of the voter’s voices by introducing bills this year which would either make it harder for citizens to utilize the ballot measure process or weaken the impact of ballot measures. Many of these bills have emergency clauses like HB 1069 did, making it impossible for the voters to refer these bills weakening their power,” said Sutton. 

State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton

“Your voice matters and we will continue to listen to you and respect your will at the ballot box, even if we disagree with the outcome.” Sutton continued. “We will always put the people of South Dakota first.” 

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