To the Editor:
In a startling rejection of the people's will, South Dakota's legislators and governor in 2017 overturned the anti-corruption measure that voters in 2016 had initiated and approved. Not content with straightforward repeal, our elected officials attached "a state of emergency" declaration that blocked any citizen referendum to restore the original measure.
In response to public outrage, legislative leaders promised to create "better" legislation. In actuality, they enacted markedly weaker limits on lobbying access and campaign finance, replaced the measure's independent ethics commission with a board crafted by legislators, and then - read carefully - excluded themselves from that board's oversight!
Angry yet? There's more. Determined to avoid further threats of citizen demand for accountability, legislators attacked involvement itself, introducing in 2018 an unprecedented number of bills to curtail and complicate our direct democracy rights.
Still angry? We have recourse. Amendment W is on the 2018 ballot.
Amendment W restores the core of anti-corruption measures originally enacted by South Dakotans. It bans personal use of campaign funds. It prohibits lobbyists' gifts to public officials. It established an independent accountability board with power to investigate possible violations and to impose sanctions subject to judicial review.
Amendment W returns power to the people. It requires automatic referendum on any legislative repeal of voter passed laws. It limits legislators' power to curtail initiative and referendum rights.
Amendment W if passed, cannot be overturned by our elected officials without giving voters final approval. Vote YES on W.