It took eight legislative days to eliminate a voter-approved campaign finance and ethics law in South Dakota. The fast-tracked effort to gut the law that would have established an independent state ethics commission, set strict new limits on gifts to lawmakers and create publicly financed campaign credits drew scorn from some of the nearly 52 percent of voters who supported the proposal. It also thrust the state in the national spotlight as Republican lawmakers rejected and rolled back the will of the voters. At the Capitol, Republican lawmakers and Gov. Dennis Daugaard were the subject of protests this week as they took the final steps to strike the law set in statute as Initiated Measure 22. Opponents of the repeal efforts chanted “shame on you” and “respect our vote” as lawmakers approved House Bill 1069, which instantly erased the law from state statute when Daugaard signed it Thursday.
Now, facing a deep distrust from some voters, legislators said they’ll spend the final 21 days of the session patching together a set of replacements for the initiated measure that many of them voted against.
“In the end, the process shouldn’t matter so much to the voter so long as the substance is achieved,” Daugaard told reporters Friday. “I fully expect we’ll have better transparency, better law in this arena … It might have been in a painful way to get there, but that’s the way it goes.”