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Latest News & Blog

The SDDP Responds to Noem Campaign Announcement →

The SDDP Responds to Noem Campaign Announcement 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Though Rep. Kristi Noem announced she was running for governor almost immediately after being reelected to Congress in 2016, she held a formal campaign launch event earlier this evening. In response, the South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson:

“Rep. Noem’s career in Washington is short on accomplishment, but long on votes where she put the wishes of the wealthy, big corporations, and powerful special interests above the needs of the people of South Dakota. Noem’s extreme record includes voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and voting to end Medicare as we know it in previous years, and voting to take healthcare away from thousands of South Dakotans, to give tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations at the expense of everyone else, and to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act this past year.

“The people of South Dakota deserve better; they deserve a governor who is on their side and will fight for them. That’s why we’re fighting to elect a Democrat as governor – and Democrats up and down the ballot – who will fight to make sure state government works for them and not just the wealthy and powerful special interests.”

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Revenue Projections →

Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Revenue Projections

PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference yesterday, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Assistant Democratic Leader Julie Bartling of Gregory responded to the revenue estimates adopted by the Joint Appropriations Committee this week for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year.

“Democrats recognize the need to live within our means, but we also believe we must continue to make smart investments in our people which will aid South Dakota’s short-term and long-term economic growth,” said Bartling. “We should use the better-than-expected funds to invest in important priorities, like education, affordable housing, and community healthcare providers, and in making sure state government employees receive a raise – something both parties recognize as necessary to retain a strong state workforce.”

Sutton said that Democrats were ready to work across the aisle to make sure the upcoming budget reflected the values and priorities of the people of South Dakota.

“We have a duty as elected leaders to make sure the budget choices reflect and honor the values of the people of this state, and to make sure those choices ensure that our state government and our state economy work well for every South Dakotan,” said Sutton.

“As we head into the remaining weeks of Session, and decide our budget for the next fiscal year, we will continue to fight to ensure this budget reflects these priorities,” Sutton continued. “We will do everything we can to make sure this budget makes the best possible use of taxpayers’ money and helps make our state an even better place to live for all people.”

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Pierre Republicans Deny Funding for Veterans →

Pierre Republicans Deny Funding for Veterans 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to Republicans in the Joint Committee on Appropriations defeating a bipartisan bill to provide funding to allow the Veterans Services Center in Sioux Falls to resume and enhance operational services on Saturdays:

“While the Republican establishment likes to talk about honoring and supporting our veterans, this vote in Joint Appropriations today shows that their actions don’t match their words. Only one Republican joined with Democrats to support this bipartisan bill to provide better services for South Dakota veterans, while every other Republican voted against it. Budgets are about priorities, and today’s vote reveals the low priority the Republican establishment in Pierre places on veterans’ services.”

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Pledge to Fight Against GOP Attacks on Ballot Measure Process →

Democratic Legislative Leaders Pledge to Fight Against GOP Attacks on Ballot Measure Process

PIERRE, S.D.  – At their weekly press conference this morning, State Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Sen. Troy Heinert of Mission and State House Democratic Leader Rep. Spence Hawley of Brooking discussed the efforts of Democratic Legislators to fight back against attacks on the ballot measure process from members of the Republican majority.

“I would have thought that our friends across the aisle would have learned their lesson from the public outcry that happened when they rammed their repeal of Initiated Measure 22 through the Legislature last year,” said Heinert. “Unfortunately, this Session they are not only rejecting Democratic attempts to honor the will of the voters by restoring the campaign contribution limits passed by the voters in I.M. 22, they are also attacking the ballot measure process itself through a raft of legislation.”

Heinert said that Democrats are willing to work across the aisle to make the ballot measure process better, and to make any needed clarifications in existing law. However, Democrats will fight back against any attacks against the ballot measure process and will fight to protect the right of the people of South Dakota to introduce and vote on initiated measures, referrals, and constitutional amendments.

“The ballot measure process has been around since the early days of our state. Unfortunately, the majority seems intent on chipping away at this right bit by bit until there is almost nothing left for people of South Dakota,” Hawley said. “Republican legislation to require every bit of personal information from someone circulating a petition but their library card, to require signatures from 5% of voters in two-thirds of State Senate districts for ballot measure petitions, and to end the people’s right to introduce constitutional amendment are all meant to kill the ballot measure process by a thousand cuts.”

While some of the worst of this legislation has been defeated, Hawley said, many more were still alive, and Democrats will do everything they can to defeat them.

“Democrats believe the people of South Dakota have the right to utilize the ballot measure process, and their voices should be respected when they do. We call on our friends across the aisle to end their attacks on this right, and work with us to defeat this legislation.”

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Republicans Again Vote Against Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Reform →

Republicans Again Vote Against Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Reform

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to Republicans in the State Legislature killing Democratic legislators’ efforts to increase government transparency and enact meaningful campaign finance reform:

“After state government scandals like EB-5 and Gear-UP, the need for more transparency and accountability in government and meaningful campaign finance reform is obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a vested political or financial interest in keeping the status quo in place. As was made clear by the passage of Initiated Measure 22 – The Anti-Corruption Act –  in 2016, the people of South Dakota see this need, and want real reform in our state government and the financing of our elections.

“Today, Democrats put forth three bills to help increase openness and accountability in state government and enact meaningful campaign finance reform. SB 192 would have made government correspondence, such as emails, public records under South Dakota law, so that documents produced using taxpayer funds would be available to taxpayers to review and investigate. SB 129 would have re-instated the campaign finance limits passed by the voters in Initiated Measure 22, which were repealed by the Republican majority in the 2017 Legislative Session.

“Finally, HB 1267 would have prohibited campaign contributions from certain government contractors and certain attorneys. This bill would have helped end any potential for “pay-to-play” in South Dakota. It would have helped ensure politicians and state officials do not reward their donors with government contracts and that contractors do not repay politicians with donations after being awarded contracts. It would also end potential conflicts of interest in the Attorney General office by prohibiting donations to candidates for Attorney General from attorneys who are part of legal action against the state. The need for this section of the bill is made clear by the fact that around the same time Attorney General Marty Jackley was tasked with defending state law in a case involving Initiated Measure 22, a political action committee benefiting Jackley received a $20,000 contribution from the political arm of the law firm Jackley was supposed to be fighting in court. Ultimately, Jackley’s office lost the case to the law firm that made the $20,000 contribution.

“While the Republican majority in Pierre continues to do everything it can to protect their political power, and the power of special interests and corporations to control our government and our elections, South Dakota Democrats will keep fighting for real reforms in government ethics and openness and campaign finance reforms. The people of South Dakota should be able to have confidence that their government is open and honest, and that their elections are determined by a battle of ideas, not of checkbooks. This November, voters will remember who was fighting for them.”

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