People For the American Way

South Dakota Lawmakers Declare ‘State of Emergency’ to Block Reform

State and Local Update

This week state legislators in South Dakota declared a ‘state of emergency’ in order to try and repeal a campaign finance and ethics reform initiative that won at the ballot box last November.

However, after significant public outcry and national media attention in recent days, the state senate delayed a scheduled vote to repeal the measure, and have yet to indicate how or when they plan to proceed with their repeal efforts.

The reform initiative, known as Initiated Measure 22, stops secret, unlimited gifts from lobbyists to politicians; requires increased transparency; toughens ethics laws enforcement to investigate lobbyists and politicians for breaking the rules; and creates a campaign financing system that allows average citizens to competitively run for statewide office, not just those with wealthy connections.

The measure, also known as the South Dakota Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act, was passed by a bipartisan majority at the ballot box, fueled by a grassroots effort co-chaired by former South Dakota legislators from both parties.

The ballot win in South Dakota was a significant victory not just for the people of the state, but for a budding movement for a more accountable government across the nation. All around the United States, people from both parties are demanding the types of reforms that were won in South Dakota, in order to create a political system accessible to all Americans, not just those with the deepest pockets.