Democratic Legislative Leaders Highlight Efforts to Help Working South Dakotans and Honor the Will of the Voters

February 13, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings marked the midway point of this year’s legislative session today by releasing the following statement highlighting Democratic effort to pass legislation to level the economic playing field for the working families of South Dakota and to honor the will of the voters by fighting to pass meaningful reforms in government ethics, lobbying rules, and campaign finance reform:

“Democrats recognize that even though South Dakota’s unemployment is low, many families are struggling to get by, and we believe that as elected representatives of the people, we have a moral responsibility to help working families get ahead. Therefore Democrats have introduced our ‘Opportunity Agenda for Working Families.'”

“While several of the bills in this package of legislation are still awaiting a hearing, those that have had a hearing – guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers in large corporations, establishing an early childhood education pilot program, establishing an Early Learning Advisory Council , and repealing the sales tax on food – were defeated in committee on largely party-line votes. These four commonsense proposals received only one Republican vote between them. It is unfortunate that while we Democrats are doing everything we can to help level the economic playing field for the working families in our state, our friends across the aisle have so far done everything they can to stop us.”

“Further, Democrats believe that as the people’s representatives, it is our duty to listen to their voice when they speak through their votes. That is why, while Democrats were willing to work across the aisle to make any need clarifications to Initiated Measure 22 (the Anti-Corruption Act passed by the voters), we were opposed to any repeal of it without a replacement in place. However, now that it is repealed, we will work to honor the intent of the voters by passing legislation to reform government accountability, lobbyist rules, and campaign finance. Democrats have introduced legislation along these lines for years; it’s up to the majority party to show that they are serious on these issues.”

“Even if our friends across the aisle are content with politics-as-usual, Democrats will continue to do all we can to help restore trust in Pierre by advocating for this type of fair, common-sense legislation to help the working families of our state and bring accountability back to state government – and make sure state government works as well for you as it does for big-money special interests and the political establishment. We call on the majority party in Pierre to stop playing partisan games and start working with us. South Dakotans will remember who is on their side in 2018.”

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