Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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As the state attorney general pointed out in an Argus Leader story today (and we pointed out in a post yesterday), state law gives the governor special dispensation on the use of state airplanes, and other conveyances of his choice.
South Dakota Codified Laws give a lot of special dispensation to officials and their cronies. On some days, if it weren't for the climate, you could believe you are in Aruba.
If you are a rat, South Dakota Codified Laws look like a huge hunk of Swiss cheese. They provide a lot of fodder for legal palavering, but are full of holes that let those who wish to take advantage of their fellows to do all manner of things without being held accountable.
Using a state-owned airplane as one's personal craft is a case in point. The Governor is taking advantage of taxpayers and exercising exorbitant privileges of office because the law allows him to do so. If South Dakotans wanted to live in a democracy where its officials had to observe the same rules as other people, they would not tolerate laws that give such broad and arbitrary privilege.
South Dakota is a banana republic in the wheat belt. Its laws are deeply rooted in the traditions of special privilege for some and denial of basic democratic processes for others that characterize republics run by dictators.
If South Dakotans want fair play and to live in a place where citizens have some basic rights of equality, they need to insist that some laws be upgraded to meet the standards of equality, justice, and freedom set in our founding documents.
Here are some areas where laws need severe revision:
- Labor laws do not require real, good faith bargaining on the part of "management." They give management totalitarian control of the process. The state supreme court pointed that out in a decision that came down this June. Laws on binding arbitration have been introduced and rejected many times over the years. South Dakota just does not like fair play in collective bargaining.
- If you as a citizen are the victim of extortion by a state official, you have no way to get the law enforcement system to investigate and prosecute in your behalf. The laws are on the books against such actions, but there is no procedure that can operates on your behalf. The procedures are stacked in favor of officials.
- You have no way of knowing about the relationship of corporations and state officials or if they are colluding to enrich some personal coffers and discriminate against some citizens. The state has a gag law that makes it a crime for any state employee to let the public know that cause for an investigation is present or an investigation is going on.
- Law enforcement in South Dakota habitually fails to inform people when something they say may be held against them and result in their arrest. The only Miranda in South Dakota is Carmen.
These are a few places where the law could be brought up to standards that assure equal justice and freedom from oppression. At present, if you want these things guaranteed to you as a citizen, you have to move to another state.