To the Editor:
South Dakotans pride ourselves on our independence and common sense. We don't spend money without good cause; don't create unnecessary bureaucracy; don't allow other states to dictate how we run our own. That's why we should vote No on Constitutional Amendment W.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment W seeks to add 3,329 words to the South Dakota Constitution - nearly eight pages of text to the founding document of our state. Creating a new, fourth branch of government - not elected by the people.
The out-of-state authors of this amendment have drafted it so it trumps all language in the existing Constitution, stating that "In any case of a conflict between any provision of this Article and any other provision contained in this Constitution, the provisions of this article shall control." Amendment W seeks to change our state constitution, purportedly making government more accountable but creates far more problems than it solves.
Amendment W is wrong for South Dakota. It appropriates $389,000 each year to fund a new branch of government, ignoring two newly created governmental entities that perform the same function: Board of Internal Control and the Government Accountability Board.
The Board of Internal Control will establish and maintain guidelines for proper conduct by state agencies and employees and disclosing conflicts of interest. It must prepare and present an annual work plan and report to the Governor and the Legislature.
The legislature also recently established the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, four former judges, including one former state Supreme Court Justice. It has power to review and investigate any statewide office holder or executive branch employee for allegations of impropriety, theft, embezzlement, malfeasance, misuse of public funds or
resources, and other potential conflicts of interest or improprieties. Any citizen can file a report or complaint with this board, if they suspect potential wrongdoing.
The group pushing Constitutional Amendment W is a Massachusetts-based entity calling itself "Represent Us." This organization doesn't have South Dakota's best interests in mind and doesn't represent our citizens. This amendment is unnecessary, impractical, expensive, and misguided.
I urge you to vote No on Amendment W.