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1998 Amendment C

1998 Ballot Question Pamphlet
Compiled by the Office of Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine

SDCL 12-13-23 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to prepare and distribute public information concerning constitutional amendments, initiatives and referred measures. This pamphlet is prepared by soliciting statements from the proponents and opponents of amendments and measures.

The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot question were provided by the Attorney General. No other statements on this pamphlet reflect the opinion of the State or the Attorney General.

The information was compiled by the Secretary of State as supplied by the writers, was not verified by the Secretary of State and does not reflect the position of the State regarding the legality or effect of the amendments or measures. The Secretary of State does not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by the proponent or opponent writers in this brochure.

Constitutional Amendment C

Title: An Amendment to Article III, Section 12 of the South Dakota Constitution concerning legislative conflicts of interest.

Attorney General Explanation

Amendment C removes some "conflict of interest" restrictions upon legislators. Legislators are currently prohibited from having a direct or indirect interest in state contracts and in some county contracts, during their term or one year thereafter. Amendment C would allow legislators to have a personal, indirect financial interest in state contracts, and a direct financial interest in any county contract.

Under current law, no legislator may be elected or appointed to a state or local office, if the Legislature created the office or increased its compensation during the legislator's term. Amendment C would allow such an election or appointment.

Under current law, legislators may not hold certain state executive and administrative offices during their term. Amendment C would allow legislators to hold these offices during their term, if they are not compensated.

A vote "Yes" will remove some "conflict of interest" restrictions upon legislators.

A vote "No" will leave the Constitution as it is.

Pro - Constitutional Amendment C

Constitutional Amendment C proposes to realign the South Dakota Constitution with today’s governmental reality. It will do so in two important ways: first, it makes possible the appointment of legislators to a variety of unpaid civil commissions and task forces, and, second, removes the disqualification of legislators who participate indirectly in any contract with the state.

The first issue of civil appointments calls for change because legislators are often called to service on many commissions to provide expertise, depth of experience, and leadership. These appointments are made today and have been for years - examples include recent prison and family law studies - and the state has received the benefit of legislative participation.

If the Constitution was enforced to the letter of the law, these commissions would lose the value of legislative expertise. The amendment does not allow for payment for services to legislators and it should not offer payment. Any legislator asked to accept a civil appointment will not receive a salary as a result of that appointment.

The second issue of indirect contractual partnerships between legislators and the state is also a matter of realigning the state constitution with today’s reality. Because the legislature is a part-time citizen legislature, and because today’s government engages in many public-private partnerships to accomplish efficient and successful public policy, more and more legislators find themselves associated indirectly with state contracts. Consider the many industries participating in government contracts: agriculture, education, transportation, insurance, real estate, financial services, health care - the list goes on and on.

As previously discussed, if the Constitution was enforced to the letter of the law, much of the legislature would be in violation. Amendment C does not allow for legislators to enter into contracts directly with the state, and it should not make such contracts possible.

Amendment C is necessary to preserve the practice of a citizen legislature and to align the Constitution with the evolution of state government and today’s legislature. Vote "Yes" on Constitutional Amendment C.

Submitted by: Rep. Pat Haley, 766 Utah Ave SE, Huron, SD 57350. Representative Haley represents legislative district 21.

Con - Constitutional Amendment C

As the constitution stands now, there is little incentive on the part of any elected person to make decisions based on loyalty to any other elected person regardless of which branch or branches of government are involved. This system helps to keep South Dakota's check-and-balance system intact.

Relaxing the intent of the constitution with Amendment C would move South Dakota closer to having a system where an elected official from one of the three branches of government could use his or her office to enhance the financial or personal well-being of a member the same or another branch of government, even if the original intent is to serve the best interests of South Dakota.

Interpersonal ties of the sort potentially allowed by Amendment C are powerful and would have the potential to allow undue influence in the decision-making of otherwise independent elected officials.

Submitted by: Rep. Jeff Monroe, PO Box 574, Pierre, SD 57501. Representative Monroe represents legislative district 24.