South Dakota lawmakers discuss repeal of Initiated Measure 22

Published: Jan. 11, 2017 at 4:55 PM CST
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It's week one of South Dakota's legislative session but many Republican lawmakers have already set repealing Initiated Measure 22 as one of their top priorities.

The measure on government ethics and transparency was passed by voters in November, but a circuit judge put it on hold over issues of its constitutionality.

Republican lawmakers in Pierre agree they want the measure repealed, and even Democrats say they're fine with some form of repeal as long as the state legislature can come up with an alternative that respects the will of the voters.

"We're going to have to repeal it all and start from scratch, and try to take into consideration the will of the voters," Republican Sen. Deb Peters said.

"Think its very clear that South Dakotans want an ethics commission, and I think that's one of the big sticking points in them passing this measure, and I think it's dangerous to pick and choose which pieces of it we like or dislike," Democratic Sen. Bill Sutton said.

Both parties believe pieces of the measure are important.

"The voters expect our campaign finance system to be fair, to be honest, and they expect lobbyist to use only their arguments to win our votes," Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in his State of the State address Tuesday.

But some Republicans say an internal audit by the Attorney General and Secretary of State already revealed some of these issues, something lawmakers say they were planning to address this season.

"That effort was already underway, so it's something we would have considered during our normal course of business in this session anyway," Republican Sen. Blake Curd said.

"They've had 40 years to come-up with an ethics bill, and I feel very strongly that we should not let the perpetrators investigate themselves," Yes on 22 representative Darrell Solberg said.

Whatever the law works out to be, both Republicans and Democrats in the state say their goal is to ensure some form of ethics legalization is passed in South Dakota this season.