PIERRE — Voter-approved Initiated Measure 22, which was meant to ensure more oversight of and transparency in state government, is off the books.
Actually, because of a court injunction, it never made it onto the books.
Now it never will be, barring some kind of legal maneuver.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1069 Thursday afternoon, wiping out IM22.
“The circuit court enjoined Initiated Measure 22, finding it unconstitutional ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ It has not been in effect, and it is extremely unlikely that it would ever come into effect,” Daugaard said in a release. “For that reason, it makes sense to repeal this unconstitutional measure.”
In the release, he said that he would work with state legislators on bills that will “honor the will of the voters” and will address gifts from lobbyists, ethics reform and campaign finance.
Republican lawmakers raised concerns about IM22 almost immediately after it was approved. They said that its poor wording prevented them from, among other things, attending constituent events at which food was served and working some nonlegislative jobs.
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A lawsuit was filed against IM22, leading to the injunction. Eighteen Republican legislators were plaintiffs.
The law, the former House Bill 1069, has an emergency clause, meaning it may not be put to a public vote.
Also Thursday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 27, which would increase the maximum penalty for public officials involved in self-dealing of taxpayer money for personal benefit.
Self-dealing is currently a misdemeanor, no matter how much money is involved. With the bill, the more money involved, the more severe the charge. Under state law, theft of more than $1,000 is a felony.
With the 33-0 vote, the measure moves to the House.
The bill was proposed by Attorney General Marty Jackley.
“Public officials that illegally take taxpayer money that has been entrusted to them violate the public trust and should be held responsible and treated as any other criminal thief,” he said in a release, referencing the recent EB-5 immigrant investor and GEAR UP scandals.