Legislators Jumping off the Fence

There must be something unusual in the air this year.

I was reading the papers today, and found yet another example of a legislator coming out and stating a position on a ballot issue. Senator Jim Lintz, in this weeks’ edition of his legislative column (in the Custer County Chronicle) has a big headline above his writings that says “STOP needs to pass.” I think John Koskan and several others were blasting JAIL as well.

The vote on the J.A.I.L. resolution today? Probably unanimous. STOP? There are legislators on either side of it. Taxing tobacco? There are several legislators who introduced that measure.

Why is this so darn unusual ? In previous years it was more typical that they would have ran like the wind to avoid taking a firm position on these measures. Because as long as I can remember, legislators have usually shied away en masse from stating a position on initiated measures. Their position was all too often to not take a position.

The old standard line had been “I think it’s up to the people to decide.” Which is little more than code for “I’m not touching that one with a ten-foot pole because I’m up for election too.” But this year there is no holding their cards close to their chests. Opinions are expressed and positions are being taken on these issues whether the sponsors like it or not.

Shall we venture a little out on a limb and suggest, right or wrong, that legislators are showing leadership?

Comments

Anonymous said…
wwwwoooowwwwww, I am surprised.
Lintz supports the STOP amendment.
I'm glad, but surprised, lol.
I had a good talk with Mr lintz awhile back. I tried to get him to understand that the STOP amendment would accomplish almost the same thing for ag that his "production" based assessment would. He has really put a tremendous amount of effort into his idea, He should be commended. I hope it is true that he now also supports the STOP amendment, he will be a great ally.

RICK KRIEBEL
Bob Newland said…
Leadership? You bet. Unanimously, the legislature has decried the proposition that judges be held accountable for their actions.
Will said…
Judges are already held accountable by the political process. If they want to remain judges at the end of their term, they have to run for the position. There are no life-tenured state judges in South Dakota.
Bob Newland said…
So who, among voters, knows anything about the judges in their districts? Almost none, that's who. So re-election can hardly be construed to mean anything like voter approval, since most voters don't know the names until they see them on the ballot.

On the other hand, people who have had experience with a judge who has demonstrated judicial malfeasance have no voice currently. You can complain to the SD Bar. That's like complaining to your guard at Guantanamo that you haven't seen your family for 4 years, and could I please have a weekend pass.
Will said…
So we should pass JAIL because the electorate is too lazy to learn something about their judges?
Bob Newland said…
We should pass Amendment E because judges deny due process to people regularly.
Anonymous said…
One Amendment at a time, Bob...

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