State Officials Of All Stripes Upholding IM 22 Promise – UPDATE – Daugaard Signs IM 22 Replacement Measures

March 10. 2017   

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard this morning signed five measures to replace concepts of Initiated Measure 22 which were supported by the public.

“State officials of all stripes undertook the difficult work of replacing Initiated Measure 22 with constitutional, workable legislation that meets the goals advanced by the IM 22,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Public servants from West River and East River, on the right and the left, and in the legislative and executive branches came together on these bills.”

Among the bills signed was House Bill 1073, the lobbyist gift ban bill brought by Speaker Mark Mickelson. HB 1073 prohibits legislators, statewide elected officials and heads of Executive Branch agencies from accepting pricey gifts from lobbyists.

“Proponents of IM 22 sold the measure by promoting a perception that state lawmakers are receiving expensive gifts from lobbyists. The speaker’s bill addresses that concern by helping to ensure a legislative process which allows lobbyist influence only through their arguments,” the Governor said.

Gov. Daugaard also signed House Bill 1076, Rep. Karen Soli’s bill to establish a government accountability board. The board is made up of four retired judges and has the authority to turn issues of concern over to the Division of Criminal Investigation. Rep. Soli worked with her colleagues across the aisle and Executive Branch officials to form the proposal.

In addition to HB 1073 and HB 1076, the Governor also signed:

HB 1052 – An Act to provide certain protections for public employees.

HB 1165 – An Act to provide for annually updated financial interest statements for any person elected to statewide or local office.

SB 131 – An Act to revise certain provisions concerning the period of time certain persons are prohibited from lobbying after leaving office.

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A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

 March 10, 2017

PIERRE, SD – During the first few weeks of the 2017 Legislative Session, Initiated Measure 22 dominated the headlines. The 14,000-word initiated measure became the center of attention because of the constitutional problems it posed and the bizarre unintended consequences it would create. For example, IM 22 could have been read to say that a teacher in Sioux Falls would be a criminal if her husband is a state legislator.

Leaving Initiated Measure 22 in place was not a viable option, due to its constitutional issues and other problems. It could not be enforced as written. Another option was to repeal Initiated Measure 22, and return to the old laws. That was also not a good option, because it would have ignored the will of the voters.

I joined legislators in following a middle path. Together we repealed the unworkable law and made a promise to honor the voters’ intent.

Legislators brought forward proposals aimed at the citizens’ expectation of honest government, an open and transparent campaign finance system, and a legislative process which allows lobbyist influence only through their arguments. As I write this, four of these proposals are on their way to my desk.

Democratic Rep. Karen Soli’s House Bill 1076 creates a government accountability board to hold formal hearings on state government matters. The board is made up of four retired judges who will have the ability to consider allegations against state officials and turn issues of concern over to the Division of Criminal Investigation. Rep. Soli worked with her colleagues across the aisle and Executive Branch officials to form this proposal which was widely supported.

The lobbyist gift ban bill proposed by Speaker Mark Mickelson is also on its way to my desk. This bill prohibits public officials from accepting expensive gifts from lobbyists.

Two other measures, House Bill 1052 and Senate Bill 27, have passed both houses. House Bill 1052 expands whistle blower protections for state employees and Senate Bill 27 deals with conflicts of interest and increases the penalty for illegal use of public funds.

I support all of these bills, and by the time you read this, the measures may already have been signed into law. As I write this, there are other IM 22 replacement bills dealing with ethics and campaign finance which will likely pass also.

State officials of all stripes undertook the difficult work of replacing Initiated Measure 22 with constitutional, workable legislation that meets the goals advanced by IM 22. Public servants from West River and East River, on the right and the left, and in the legislative and executive branches came together on these bills. As session comes to a close, I’m pleased with these accomplishments.

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