Experimental. Un-elected. Harassment. Massachusetts. Four words that summarize the proposed Amendment W.
The South Dakota Corn Growers Association urges a Vote No on Amendment W. Amendment W is Wrong – and here’s why:
- Proposal Not Invented Here. Amendment W finds its roots with Represent US, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization with little or no connection to South Dakota. The organization was involved in a prior election cycle supporting Initiated Measure 22, which was ruled unconstitutional.
- Proponents Not Organized Here. Proponents of this amendment have not filed with the South Dakota Secretary of State. They are only a ballot question committee looking for someplace to plant a test crop they haven’t yet planted in their own Massachusetts fields.
- It’s Expensive. $400,000 a year is just a start. Amendment W sets aside almost $400,000 for an un-elected tribunal to act, and new government programs almost always cost more than advertised. South Dakota taxpayers would be stuck footing the bill to create another government agency, with payroll and facilities costs, and government staff creating more regulations.
- Harassment. South Dakotans pride themselves on volunteering, being involved in schools and their community, and serving on governmental boards and commissions. Over the years, many of you have served on the board of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association or the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. Amendment W subjects “any elected or appointed official” to the complaint process and the whims of an un-elected tribunal. Amendment W is Wrong because it will jeopardize our ability to continue to attract volunteer public servants due to the risk of harassment, legal fees and hearings.
- There Are Better Ways To Spend Limited Resources. Amendment W takes money away from other important priorities. Instead of creating a fourth branch of government, the constitutional annual appropriation (linked to inflation) could be better spent on schools, precision agriculture, property tax reduction, expanding ethanol delivery infrastructure or developing the next South Dakota value-added ag industry.
- Not Needed: An Experimental Fourth Branch of Government. Amendment W creates more government, a fourth super branch of government in fact—beyond the reach of the executive, judicial and legislative branches. And it puts this new experiment in our State Constitution. It’s too long, too confusing and too risky.
- Seven Person Tribunal Is Not Elected. Under Amendment W, a seven-person tribunal would be formed and would be appointed by the government. We don’t need more government regulations, especially from seven new regulators that are not elected by the public.
- It’s Too Broad. The tribunal created by Amendment W would review complaints about any elected or appointed official, judge or employee of state and local government—including local mayors, city councils, teachers, public swimming pool life guards, school boards, etc. Complaints can be filed by anyone, and the tribunal has unchecked power to conduct investigations, issue subpoenas, issue sanctions and other powers. Only three tribunal members would be needed to start an investigation and issue subpoenas.
- First of Its Kind. We are unaware of ANY state that has an ethics commission with a mandated appropriation in its constitution. Two states do mention a commission in their constitutions, and both legislatures would control the budgets of those commissions—and thus, their powers.
The South Dakota Corn Growers Association proudly joins a long list of nearly 40 other South Dakota organizations that oppose this amendment, including:
- South Dakota Farm Bureau
- South Dakota Bankers Association
- South Dakota Agri-Business Association
- South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
- Associated School Boards of South Dakota
- South Dakota Grain and Feed Association
- South Dakota Rural Electric Cooperatives
For these reasons, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association strongly urges South Dakota voters to vote NO on Amendment W.
Vote No on W – W is Wrong for South Dakota.