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NELSON: HB 1203 violates SD’s constitution

By Stace Nelson, R-Fulton

Remember the rightful scorn and derision pointed at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for saying Congress needed to pass Obamacare “ … so you can find out what is in it”? South Dakota legislators have sunk even lower than that. They are passing bills that you have to wait to find out what is actually going to be in them.

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HB 1203, “An act to improve the financial practices of the state of South Dakota.” The body of HB 1203 simply states: “The financial practices of the state of South Dakota are hereby improved.”

The bill as it passed the House has no substantive effect, except that it circumvents Chapter 17 of the Joint Rules relating to the deadline for the introduction of bills and House Rule 4-1 and Joint Legislature Rule 11-1 relating to the suspension of rules, which would have allowed the introduction of a bill after the deadline.

Consideration and passage of the bill in this form relinquishes the legislative power and authority of the House of Representatives and cedes such power and authority to the Senate, and deprived you, the people, an opportunity to address the actual intent of the bill in a House committee hearing. Article III, Section 21 of the South Dakota constitution states: “No law shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”

Since the intended effect of HB 1203 is not clearly stated and is unknown, the title does not accurately express the purpose or effect of the bill, since its intent is to place substantive legislation into the bill in the Senate. About nine legislators took a stand against this perversion of your legislative process and voted against passage of HB 1145 and 1203’s empty “vehicle bills.”

These bills clearly did not meet the requirements of Article III, Section 21 of the South Dakota constitution, and their passage contradicts the substantive provisions of House Rule 4-1, Joint Rule 11-1 and Chapter 17 of the joint rules. For those reasons, we believe the passage of those bill was in contravention of South Dakota’s constitution, and were injurious to the rights of you the people of South Dakota. I spoke and voted against both on these grounds, and drafted and filed dissenting reports on both, which were to be printed in the House Journal as required by Joint Rule 1-10.

Another bill that I fought last year, on similar unconstitutional grounds, was the multi-subject omnibus new economic development programs, “Build SD,” 2012’s SB 235 that passed last year and is now being pushed for funding over education, caregivers and other infrastructure needs.

So, when you hear politicians claiming they balanced the budget from 2008 to 2010, as required by our South Dakota constitution, realize the proof of those violations of our constitution are in the current, accepted practices of violating our constitution, and in the 2011 $127 million deficit mess they left us to clean up.

Please contact me at Rep.nelson@state., by the legislative fax number at (605) 773-6806 or by message on the floor at (605) 773-3851 on these or other issues you may be concerned with.

If you do write, please include your town in the subject line so I can immediately see that you are a constituent, since we get hundreds of emails a day from all over the world. I attempt to reply to every message. If you do not receive an answer, assume I did not get your message and re-contact me.

God bless and semper fidelis.