Heidepreim and his code of ethics

KELOland news is reporting that Democratic Senator and Minority leader Scott Heidepreim is going to propose "a legislative code of ethics..." Seriously. And that's not just an oxymoron:
South Dakota lawmakers are looking at ways to make themselves more accountable following allegations that Flandreau Senator Dan Sutton groped a page during last year's session. One plan being considered is drawing up a "code of ethics" that legislators would have to follow. It borrows a page from Arizona.


The South Dakota legislature currently does not have a code of ethics. Instead, lawmakers must abide by a series of separate rules concerning areas like bribery and conflict of interest. But Senator-elect Scott Heidepriem says the current system governing legislative conduct is too much of a hodge-podge. "We really don't have a code of ethics that goes to how one behaves toward one another or toward employees."

There are sexual harassment rules in place for state lawmakers... but Heidepriem believes they only apply to behavior within the capitol... and during business hours only. "I think the idea of sexual harassment should be broad and apply to all those situations."

But Heidepriem says a legislative code of ethics should not be too far-reaching. "There are some states, I think Wisconsin, is one in which they're so very restrictive that it's become a problem actually in what they do."
Read it all here. So, place those ethics on the books... But not too many of them. That would cramp their style.

The problem I see here is that creating such a document as Scott proposes would place legislative rules on them 24/7 as opposed to simply while they were in session. Think that's ok? Possibly. But give it some more thought....

The tradition of South Dakota is one of a citizen's legislature; where they come, get their business done, and go home. But with Heidepreim's code of ethics governing their behavior on a full time basis, does that mean they're on the legislative clock on a full time basis?

So what happens after session? Are they still governed by it? There's where it could cause problems, because if you're on the clock year round, you're going to want to be paid to be on the clock year round. Think I'm stretching things? Possibly. But there had better be hard and fast parameters as to when it does and does not apply.

Because if you're forced to follow rules all year, you're going to want to be paid for being on the clock all year. And one day we'll wake up and we'll no no longer have a citizen's legislature, in favor of a full time one.

Me? I'd rather leave what we have on the books there, and let the voters deal with any other problems.

Because that's who elected officials are ultimately responsible to.


Anonymous said…
You seem to think that working on the issues that the people elected them to solve and following a code of ethics are mutually exclusive - but they are not.
And, quite frankly, when the people elect our representatives, we expect and deserve their conduct to be exemplary all year round. They don't simply stop being legislators on the 40th day. Heidepriem's idea seems to simply be a way of saying that if you talk the talk you need to walk the walk. No more of "what happens in Pierre or Ft. Pierre, stays in Pierre or Ft. Pierre."

Good for Heidepriem. I would be surprised if this weren't a strong bipartisan effort.

And frankly, I'm surprised at your opporsition to this PP. Asking our legislators to live by example shouldn't burden their abilities to work on our behalf.
Anonymous said…
Before you come out against this PP maybe you should actually read the proposal. Just because the Senate Democratic Leader is the first to propose something doesn't mean you have to be against it. A code of ethics might actually be a good idea.

The argument that this would be the first step on the slippery slope to a full time legislature is a bit of a stretch. The citizens of South Dakota would never stand for a full time Legislature and the legislators know it. Are you afraid the GOP majorities in Pierre will use a code of ethics as an excuse to go full time?
Anonymous said…
I'm surprised the Scott smear team hasn't shown up yet attacking Heidepriem's idea.

Maybe it's because people who have been out in Pierre during the session realize that this is probably, at a minimum, a very proper first step to take.
Anonymous said…
I don't think it's such a bad thing...the rest of us normal citizens are expected to act like humans...not animals...(all year long) right???
Anonymous said…
5:32 AM "we expect and deserve their conduct to be exemplary all year round."

You’re kidding right? You have got to be kidding!

Way too many members of both Partys try to find every loophole, every crack that they can sneak by or slide under to get the advantage on the other. And then they prance around with their chests puffed out because they found a way to get around the regulation. They or the Party don't even try to hide what they have done.

They have to pass thousands of regulations to stop themselves from doing something! Yes, let’s pass more “ethics” regulations so we are forced to act ethical! What the heck!

Its like taunting "we found something you couldn't find, we found something you couldn't find"!

Of course each Party claims to be the one of “good character and high moral vales”. Wait a second, that’s only at election time.

And just think, some of these characters are the best we have to offer! They ARE the best ones that we can find to run for office. Says a lot about South Dakota doesn't it!

A few years ago the Rapid City Journal showed a poll as to individuals we trust. I can’t remember the exact place, but our politicians were listed way down at the bottom. I wonder why!

Some of our State politicians and big name College Football Coaches have two things in common. It’s all about “me” and they only lie when their lips move!”
Anonymous said…
Ethics?! We don't need no steeenking ethics!!!!
Anonymous said…
When is PP going to learn that you should not start a sentence with the word "Because"...

A. Today
B. Tomorrow
C. Next week
D. Never

Anyone care to venture a guess?

The smart money is on D.
Anonymous said…
Anon 9:40, I'm betting on D.

PP first needs to learn that the possessive form of "its" does not contain an apostrophe.

Do you suppose its chances of happening would improve if his readers provided a few examples, or do you think it's just not possible?
Anonymous said…
leave PP alone. his job is to cut articles out of newspapers for Building and Grounds, not write them!
PP said…
12:18, since when do I work for B&G?

Regardless, If you don't care for my writing style (grammatical errors and all), nothing compels anyone to continue visiting.
Anonymous said…
Real nice PP, and a microcosm of the fissures in your party. Rather than make the minimal effort to improve your grammar, you'll tell the other kids not to come to play in your yard. It's like the jokers who claim everyone is welcome in your big tent as long as you believe and do exactly as we say - otherwise bug off. Rise up PP, rise up and fight - fight to understand the difference between the conjunctive and singular possessive form of "its". And in doing so, perhaps others will consider the same and our collective intelligence, and use of our primary language will be improved ever so slightly. Maybe you just don't care about the english language? Which if true might have Sibb-dilly-ding-dong soon calling you, anti-american, thus anti-family, thus anti-God. You don't want to be one of the Sib's absurdly attenuated syllogisms. I call on people from both sides to show some level of unity by using "its" correctly as we bash each other.

It may take some effort, but it's worth it.


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