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Democrats Respond to Marty Jackley Cheering on Discrimination Against Transgender Children →

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Democrats Respond to Marty Jackley Cheering on Discrimination Against Transgender Children

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement in response to South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley’s statement cheering on the Trump administration’s decision to roll back protection of transgender students:

“It is painfully clear the most extreme elements of the Republican Party are in control of it, both nationally and in South Dakota. There is no one, no matter how vulnerable, whom they will not target. The issue is about more than bathrooms, it is about the safety of transgender children. A recent study has shown that the suicide attempt rate for transgender people as a population is between 30 and 40%, and the attempt rate for transgender people who have been bullied at school jumps to more than 50%. The president’s decision declared open season on these at-risk children to be bullied – and Marty Jackley is cheering it on.”

“Our country decided in the Civil Rights era that states do not have the right to discriminate against certain kinds of students. Unfortunately, Donald Trump and Marty Jackley want to take our country and our state back to the time when states could discriminate without interference. Democrats stand against this discrimination and bullying and for the equal rights and safety of all South Dakotans and our children. Any public official or candidate who cheers on discrimination and bullying is not fit to lead our great state.”

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Progress Made in Respecting the Will of the Voters →

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Progress Made in Respecting the Will of the Voters

PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference today, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings responded to the the progress made this week in their efforts to honor the will of the voters by advancing campaign finance reform and government ethics reform this Legislative Session. These efforts continue years of Democratic efforts to reform government ethics and campaign finance in South Dakota, and were made more urgent after the Republican majority in Pierre overturned Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act passed by the voters in November, without a replacement in place.

“After the majority party in Pierre repealed Initiated Measure 22 without a replacement in place, Democrats in Pierre have been doing everything we can to fulfill our moral obligation and responsibility to honor the will of the voters and pass meaningful campaign finance and government ethics reform this session,” said Hawley. “This week, we did see some significant progress on the goal of reforming government ethics. Unfortunately, there was also a big setback in the efforts to reform campaign finance laws and reign in the influence of big money on South Dakota politics.”

“The good news is that HB 1076, which creates a Government Accountability Board, passed through the full House this week. We’re pleased that this bill – very similar to bills brought in the past by Democrats which were killed by the majority party – passed the House with some strong bi-partisan support, and has bi-partisan sponsors in the Senate,” Hawley said.

Sutton said the news was not so good in the area of campaign finance reform.

“Last week, Democratic efforts to amend SB 54 to reinstate the contribution limits passed by the voters in IM22, were defeated along party lines in the Senate State Affairs Committee.  Not only did the majority party defeat these efforts to respect the voters’ wishes to limit the influence of big money on South Dakota politics, they also railroaded through the committee several last-minute amendments which raised the already lax contribution limits proposed in the original bill,” Sutton said.

Sutton also noted that when Democrats tried to bring the amendment to reinstate the contribution limits of IM 22 on the Senate floor the Republicans tabled the amendment, allowing no debate.

“Democrats believe the will of the people on campaign finance deserved to have a debate on the Senate floor. I guess the majority party didn’t feel the people’s voice deserved to be heard. In its current form SB 54, doesn’t just ignore the will of the people, it opens the flood gates once again for big money to influence our elections,” said Sutton.

Despite this setback, Sutton and Hawley pledged Democrats would continue to work to respect the will of the voters and do whatever they could to pass meaningful campaign finance legislation.

“We Democrats have introduced bills to reform government ethics and campaign finance laws for years, and we will continue to make good-faith efforts to work with the majority party to make the kind of reforms in campaign finance and government ethics called for by the voters in November,” Sutton said. “We call on our friends across the aisle to do the same.”

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Democrats Respond to the Progress Made in Democratic Efforts to Honor the Will of the Voters →

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Democrats Respond to the Progress Made Today in Democratic Efforts to Honor the Will of the Voters on Campaign Finance Reform

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement in response to the passage HB 1076 through the House State Affairs Committee and the passage of SB 54 through the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning:

“Democrats in Pierre continue to do everything they can to honor the will of the voters and pass meaningful campaign finance and government ethics reform this session. We’re pleased that HB 1076, which creates a Government Accountability Board, was passed unanimously through the House State Affairs Committee. It is gratifying that after years where similar bills brought by Democrats have been killed in committee on party-line votes, the Republican majority in Pierre has finally decided to work with Democrats to make state government more open, transparent, and accountable.”

“We are also pleased that due to Democratic efforts, SB 54 now contains a provision stating that funds in a campaign account can only be used for purposes related to campaigns or contributed to another candidate, campaign committee, or nonprofit or charity, not a candidate’s personal use. This is a major step forward in campaign finance reform in South Dakota – you shouldn’t get rich by being a politician, and the people who donate to a candidate’s campaign expect the money they donated to be used for campaign purposes, not a politician’s personal use.”

“Unfortunately, with that step forward, there was a big step back. Republicans on the Senate State Affairs Committee, on a party-line vote, blocked Democratic attempts to amend SB 54 to reinstate the campaign finance limits contained in Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act passed by the voters in November. Even more troubling was the last-minute amendment rammed through by the Republican members of the committee to increase the contribution limits even further than the lax limits found in the original bill.”

“During their rush to overturn the will of the voters and repeal IM 22 with no replacement in place, Republicans promised good replacements would be forthcoming. With a Thursday deadline to get bills out of their chamber of origin, time is running out for that to happen. Democrats will continue to make good-faith efforts to work with the Republican majority to make the kind of reforms in campaign finance and government ethics called for by the voters in November. We call on the Republican majority to do the same.”

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Democrats Respond to Congressional Delegation Not Holding Public Town Halls →

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Democrats Respond to Republican Congressional Delegation Not Holding Public Town Halls 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement in response to South Dakota’s Republican congressional delegation not holding any public town halls during the current congressional recess:

“Why do Senators Rounds and Thune and Rep. Noem have no public town halls scheduled? Are they afraid to answer questions from their constituents about why they have voted to take away health care from tens of thousands of South Dakotans? Or why they supported all of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, no matter how unqualified? Or why they have not supported a bi-partisan, independent commission to investigate foreign interference in our elections?

“Whatever their reasons, our congressional delegation has a responsibility as our representatives in Congress to meet with their constituents, answer our questions, and give reasons for their votes and actions in Washington. There’s such a great interest in attending town halls that citizen groups have scheduled town halls themselves and invited our delegation to show up. If Kristi Noem, Mike Rounds, and John Thune are afraid of tough questions, they have no business representing the people of South Dakota in Congress.”

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Low Revenue Projections →

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Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Low Revenue Projections

PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference Thursday, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings 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, which are a combined $53 million below previously expected growth.

“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 Hawley. “We should use our rainy-day funds to make sure we do not cut planned investment in important priorities, like education.”

“In the words of an old saying, ‘We shouldn’t eat our seed corn.’ For too long our state has eaten our seed corn and failed to make the needed investments in people to give our state a larger and more stable economic foundation,” Hawley said.

Sutton and Hawley noted that Democrats had introduced the “Opportunity Agenda for Working Families” this Session, a package of legislation which would have helped level the economic playing field for working families through legislation guaranteeing paid sick and family leave for workers in large corporations, creating a pre-K pilot program and restoring childcare assistance, fully funding the Building South Dakota Program, fully funding a needs-based scholarship program, and repealing the sales tax on food.

“These commonsense pieces of legislation would have put money in the pockets of working families which they would have spent in their communities – which would be a boost for our state’s revenues,” Sutton said. “As a state, we have a moral obligation to support the economic liberty and freedom of the working class in South Dakota. Unfortunately, the six pieces of legislation advancing this agenda which have been heard in committee so far have been killed in committee on largely party line votes. We don’t think helping the working people of our state should be a partisan issue, but apparently our friends across the aisle feel differently – the six pieces of legislation heard in committee have only received 2 Republican votes combined.”

“As we head into the remaining weeks of Session, Democrats will continue to advocate for working-class families and to support legislation that respects the voters’ intent,” Sutton continued. “We will also continue to fight against budget cuts to education and healthcare providers by prioritizing available dollars in our budget.  We all have a moral obligation to invest in people, not pet projects.”

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