Eliminate South Dakota Legislature: Create A Task Force
Based on recent positive accomplishments of South Dakota task forces, I think it is time to use them in place of the elected legislature.
The overhaul of both the adult and juvenile criminal codes was done by task forces. Changes in sexual abuse of children laws are being done by a task force. Proposals for change by these groups sailed thru the legislature with few changes and high praise for the quality of the work.
Governor Daugaard is creating a "Blue Ribbon Task Force" to deal with a number of educational challenges in our state. Note, he is not asking the legislature to do that work.
The beauty of task forces are the people, their expertise, their brilliant minds, and their desire to make a positive difference. They are usually chosen by legislative, executive, and when appropriate, judicial leaders.
Contrast that with our elected legislature. Some of them have no expertise in any subject. Some of them run on just one issue, abortion, guns, no taxes, etc. They introduce bills which pander to their base, while ignoring the larger issues facing the state.
Remember the time and energy spent on whether students ought to carry guns on college campuses, or whether legislators can carry in the capital? Doctor and patient relationships were again interfered with by passing a law regarding payment methods for abortions. It took three legislative sessions to figure out how to deal with raw milk!
We deserve better. We can make it better.
Here is the plan:
First: Let's cut down the number of legislators. Seventeen senators and thirty four House members ought to be enough.
Second: Change the laws so that task forces are a recognized method of getting important things done.No more legislative summer studies. They rarely get their work approved by the larger legislative bodies.
Third: Cut the number of days the legislature meets. I am thinking 30 days each year should be enough.
Fourth: Require those elected to the legislature to attend no fewer than four cracker barrel sessions in their district each session. This should help keep them in touch and grounded with the people.
Obviously, there are details to be worked out. I recommend a task force.