Get your hand out of that cookie jar right now!

In today's Rapid City Journal, the Constitutional Revision Commission debates whether or not to reduce the conflict of interest provisions in the State Constitution:

A commission examining laws and constitutional provisions that deal with the Legislature is struggling with whether to recommend easing conflict-of-interest restraints on state lawmakers.

Some commission members believe that constitutional provisions unfairly prevent some people from serving in the Legislature. Others believe that relaxing the restraints would lead to trouble.

“People will not support a loosening of these things,” Pierre lawyer Ron Olinger, who has been involved in previous constitutional revisions, told other members of the Constitutional Revision Commission. He said he also would be hesitant.

Any recommended change must be easy to understand, another commission member, University of South Dakota political science professor Don Dahlin, said. “I think whatever we do, we have to be very clear,” he said.

Uncertainty about the language that the state’s founders put in the constitution has raised questions during the years. People have been prevented from running for the Legislature, and lawmakers have been prevented from doing business with the state government.

Voters have rejected four previous attempts to amend constitutional language on conflict-of-interest restraints on lawmakers. The most recent attempt was a 1998 ballot measure that 79 percent of the voters opposed.

Only a few ballot measures have been defeated by bigger margins in state history.

Now, I wouldn't mind a bit more laxness myself. I think county and University employees would probably be ok to run. Could that ever get past the elctorate on the ballot? Probably not.


Ever hear of the Hatch act ?

I am a federal employee, I work for the US Postal service and I cant even run for a Partisan office at the State level, fix that while your at it.

BTW, the postal service is an "off budget" department,,,no tax dollars to operate, but I still am considered a Fed and I am prohibited from running for office. However, I do retire in 7 more years,,,,thennnnn.

I dont think the hatch act will ever be "fixed" either.
Anonymous said…
I thought this group was going to look at changes that would affect Brock.
shaky jake said…
How about this, the biggest conflict of interest of all. Lawyers as legislators. They should be banned from holding public office.

Oh, let them be consultants to legislators and populate the judicial branch, by appointment or election, where they can continue to make bad precedent setting decisions that spawn the likes of amendment E.

"But they are educated , they have Degrees!!" No, that doesn't mean they are educated. It means they are trained. Trained to think like lawyers. It is the nature of their chosen profession. That is why they are unfit to hold legislative office.

It is as Molly Worthen wrote in her biography of Charles Hill. Soon after he enrolled in law school he realized "there was no greater mistake-if[one]had any yen for the life of the mind at all-than to go to law school."
Anonymous said…
Please tell me shaky jake, what the heck are you talking about. What decision of the judiciary in South Dakota led to Amendment E? Give me an example...

Was it that we went of the gold standard and your loans with the bank had to be paid back? Is it the global conspiracy aided by the SD courts involving the U.N. to station international troops in S.D. and take away your guns? Is the court tapping your phones (sorry, I know that's the Bush Adminstration)? Can the judges hear your thoughts? Redrum-Redrum!

While rage against the machine was a band, not a very good one in my opinion, it is not a stategy for political discourse.
PP said…
Rick -

I'd agree. You're not the only person who has been hosed by it. My wife was almost a candidate for statewide office, but because there was a hatch act question (because her state job dealt w/federal dollars) we had to wait for a decision, and by then it was too late. (despite her ultimately being ok)
Thanks PP

I find it hillarious that we (fed employees) can be appointed to a partisan office, but we just cant run for it,,lol
sorry bout your wifes shot, hope the opportunity comes back around for her.
Kelsey said…
You're way off shaky jake.

I don't always agree with the lawyers that are legislators, but at leas they know what they're doing. Doesn't it make sense to understand the *legal* process before you start making *laws*?

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