The J.A.I.L. initiative was drafted by a person from North Hollywood, Calif., who was twice unable to put the initiative on the ballot in California, and has now decided to bring it to South Dakota in an attempt to hoodwink the unsuspecting citizens of this state. I am not interested in becoming an experiment site for an issue that is completely unrelated to South Dakota; furthermore, I'd think seriously before amending the constitution of this state.
Although supporters of J.A.I.L. claim this amendment covers only judges, my research has found that it goes much further than that. It would subject county commissions, school boards, city councils, township boards and a host of others to frivolous legal action if the supporters of J.A.I.L. did not like a decision that is contrary to their belief. Amendment E would allow convicted felons, murders, child molesters and others to sue the prosecutors who prosecuted them, the jurors who convicted them and the judges who sentenced them. The initiative goes all the way to the legislative process at the local level, as well. If a decision is made at the local level that an individual does not agree with, the frivolous legal action can and will be instituted against individuals involved in that process.
The J.A.I.L. initiative is the most absurd proposal I have seen brought forward in our state's history. Paid petition circulators from outside of South Dakota attempting to initiate their philosophy through lies, half-truths and distortion of the fact should be appalling to those of us who reside here.
Amendment E creates a special grand jury with a $3 million budget. The South Dakota Supreme Court currently corrects mistakes made by judges; in addition, we have a Judicial Qualifications Commission that investigates intentional misconduct. It costs the taxpayer $13,000 annually. Maybe California can throw money at problems that don't exist, but that isn't how we operate in South Dakota.
In addition, our legal system would be so tied up in civil action, there would be no time or place for criminal trials. That, it appears is what supporters of J.A.I.L. want.
The people who initiated this proposal were invited to testify in the House State Affairs Committee, but refused to do so. Instead, they lied and said they were not notified about the hearing. Unfortunately for them, they got caught in that lie.
A supporter of J.A.I.L., Bill Stegmeier of Tea, did appear in the Senate State Affairs hearing and read a statement written by an individual from outside South Dakota. Bill did a nice job of reading, but refused to answer any questions of the committee, stating he was not prepared to answer questions at that time. He couldn't and wouldn't answer a simple question on clarification to a written statement. In addition, he did not know when he would be prepared to answer questions.
That being said, it should make South Dakotans wonder what this sinister, out-of-state plot is all about. Supporters should have been ready to answer questions when the petition was circulated and filed, and they weren't. They still are not ready or able to answer questions, and will unlikely be able to do so in the future. That type of out-of-state influence begs of anarchy, and I am deeply troubled by the plot being brought forward by this totally unresponsive, out-of-state group.
This group does not like government of any type. What they want is anarchy, and that has become apparent by the frivolous lawsuits Mr. Stegmeier has been involved in against the federal government in the past.
HCR1004 passed the House on a 67-0 vote and I expect it to pass the Senate unanimously, as well. HCR1004 urges all South Dakotans to educate themselves on Amendment E (J.A.I.L.), and I am confident that after doing so, you will also be convinced that Amendment E would be awful for South Dakota.
As we enter the final 11 days of the legislative process, your comments, questions and concerns are still important to me.
I can be reached by calling the Senate lobby (605) 773-3821, by calling my home (605) 665-2301, or by e-mailing me, email@example.com.
Senator Moore wants letters. Give him letters. His home telephone and email address he proudly displays. Let him hear from you on his above article. Frankly, I don't think he knows what he is facing, but we shall soon find out. All I can say, Senator Moore, is that I am sure you will be writing me in a few days. God bless. -RB
Webmaster's Note: To read Bill Stegmeier's five page statement he read to the committee please see: * * * Stegmeier's Speech Before The Senate Today * * *