Both Sides Of Amendment W

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South Dakota is getting ready to elect new leaders next month, but that’s not all voters will be deciding.

You also have to answer five ballot questions, including Amendment W, which aims to fight government corruption. 

Supporters of this amendment say it’s an answer to the repeal of the voter-approved Initiated Measure 22. 

In 2017 lawmakers repealed IM 22, saying they would pass replacement bills to fulfill some key wishes of the voters. 

That’s why they established the Government Accountability Board. 

The board can review and investigate any person holding a statewide office and employees of the executive branch. 

But amendment W supporters say it’s not enough. 

“When lawmakers came out of the 2017 session they tried to create an oversight board, but legislators exempted the legislative branch from its oversight, so once again, we’re kind of left with inches ahead of where we were at before 2016, which was not a good place to begin with..,kind of bottom of the list when it comes to accountability,” Amendment W Supporter Doug Kronaizl said. 

Amendment W calls for about $389,000 in state funds each year for an Ethics Law Enforcement Fund.

Supporters say this money would help fund the board’s mission. 

But opponents say this is unnecessary. 

“The criticism that they didn’t include the legislature under that ethics commission is fairly legitimate, but you don’t need a $400,000 independent tribunal that swallows the rest of the constitution to fix that. We ought to place the legislative branch under the authority of the ethics commission that was created in a bipartisan vote two years ago,” Amendment W Opponent David Owen said. 

This amendment would also bring other changes related to campaign finance and lobbying laws. 

You can read the full amendment here

We’ll dig deeper into Amendment W during our ballot special on KELO-TV. 

You can watch it on October 28, right after our late local news. 

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