Reasons why W is Wrong:
Not the will of the people of South Dakota – Rather the will of the rich from Massachusetts
Represent SD is not a nonprofit organization in South Dakota – it’s a political campaign committee only
Amendment W does nothing to put “the people” of South Dakota in control of anything. In fact, “the people” of South Dakota have had very little to do with Amendment W at all. The effort to get the amendment on the ballot used professional signature gatherers, paid with money that came exclusively from out of state. Represent US from Massachusetts, along with other out-of-state people, contributed more than $360,000 last year to pay several contract lobbyists who hired the people that circulated petitions and gathered signatures from fewer than 10% of the registered voters in our state to get Amendment W on the ballot.
In fact, Represent SD which is the organization listed on the Amendment W campaign material and on advertisements, is not registered as a nonprofit organization or as a business with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office and only exists as a political committee – a ballot question committee.
“Represent SD has no members, does not have bylaws, has no officers or a board of Directors,” said David Owen, President of South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the W is Wrong Committee. He continued, – “This is a group attempting to inflict an East Coast experiment on people living in Elk Point, Groton and Philip and plenty of other places that they have never heard about and couldn’t find on a map” “This isn’t putting the people of South Dakota in charge of anything; it’s one more attempt to dupe South Dakota voters, and if successful, make an absolute mess of our Constitution.”
Represent US is the same organization that spent nearly $1 million to promote an extremely flawed ballot measure, IM-22 during the 2016 election. Another $800,000 came from a handful of wealthy out-of-state people – “the people” of South Dakota were not part of it.
Amendment W does nothing to return control to the people; it is 8 pages with 3,329 words. It creates 4th branch of government and declares the new article will OVERRIDE the rest of the constitution. The new branch of government is to operate outside the other three branches of government, with vast powers to conduct investigations and issue subpoenas and pass rules that could harass every elected official and public employee in the state, including teachers and law enforcement officers and county highway workers.
And while the proponents talk about cleaning up conflicts of interest, Amendment W ALLOWS members of the tribunal to vote on matters where they have an acknowledged personal conflict of interest, “if their vote is needed to break a tie” (from the text of Amendment W).
This fourth branch of government gets nearly $400,000 every year that increases by inflation every year and can go to court to ask for more money. The legislature has no control over the money and the Governor cannot veto the expenditure. This is ten times what the current ethics commission spends and there are much better uses for that money.
Represent SD doesn’t represent anyone in South Dakota which is just one of many reasons why their Amendment W is Wrong for South Dakota, and why voters should VOTE NO on AMENDMENT W.