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Daugaard signs Initiated Measure 22 repeal

PIERRE -- Voter-approved Initiated Measure 22, that put in place a series of regulations meant to ensure more oversight of and transparency in state government, is off the books.

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(The Daily Republic file photo)

PIERRE - Voter-approved Initiated Measure 22, that put in place a series of regulations 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 on the books.

Now, shy of some type of legal battle, it never will be.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1069 Thursday afternoon, wiping out IM 22.

“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 news release. “For that reason, it makes sense to repeal this unconstitutional measure.”

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In the release, he said that he will 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 state lawmakers raised concerns about IM 22 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 non-legislative jobs.

A civil lawsuit was filed against IM 22, leading to the injunction. Eighteen Republican legislators were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

HB 1069 has an emergency clause meaning it cannot be referred to a public vote.

The South Dakota Senate Thursday passed Senate Bill 27, which would increase the maximum penalty for public officials involved in self-dealing of taxpayer money for personal benefit.

Now, self-dealing is 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.

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“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 news release, referencing the recent EB-5 and GEAR UP scandals.

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