J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California                                       February 12, 2006
The Inherent Right of ALL People to Alter or Reform Abusive Government.
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South Dakota Legislators Create Carnival Atmosphere Over J.A.I.L.
Bill Stegmeier, proponent of Amendment E going on the ballot this November 7, has created a real stir of concern among the State's Legislature. Out of fear they are conducting very bizarre tactics, including "passing" a supposed "Resolution" inferring that it had legality against Amendment E. This is a heretofore unheard of, and unconventional measure on the part of any Legislature in this country.
Under the guise of "arriving at the truth" regarding Amendment E, the Senators invited Stegmeier to speak, setting no rules, bounds, conditions, or parameters. Stegmeier delivered what he had prepared, and informed them that they would have to reduce their questions to writing, at which time he would respond to each and every question. Not answering their questions immediately incensed theses Senators, and wounded their pride.
But, nonetheless, this is precisely how government has been known to operate to eliminate surprises. For example, J.A.I.L. attended an announced forum that said, "Come Meet and Cross-examine Your Judges in a Panel Discussion." Upon J.A.I.L.'s arrival, 3 by 5 cards were distributed to the audience and they were told that they would have to write their questions on the card and pass them down to the isle where they would be collected.
We penned our questions and passed our questions down to the isle, but it turned out that the unpleasant and embarrassing questions were all filtered out by the monitor, and the remaining sterile questions were passed on to the judges where they were again filtered by the judges to only those questions they were comfortable with answering. They had the audacity to pass this event off as a "cross-examination." But here, Mr. Stegmeier was neither instructed nor apprised of any expectations upon him.
The humor of Stegmeier's experience is that these State Senators are so befuddled about Amendment E, that they are beside themselves and do not know what to do. Therefore, they are flying around by the seat of their pants, blaming Stegmeier for "perpetrating a fly-by-night operation" in placing Amendment E on the South Dakota ballot.
Branson, having heard the particulars, compared the event to a carnival complete with clowns carrying umbrellas and walking tight-wires, with carnival music, and cotton candy for sale. He is looking forward to the future months ahead as we approach November 7th. There is a saying, "If you're not having fun, you are not doing it right."
It is obvious that these South Dakota Legislators already know they are done for on the November ballot, so they are willing to do absolutely anything screwball, including threatening to serve a subpoena on Stegmeier and even arrest him in order to advance their anti-Amendment E sentiments. Such activity would only propagate Amendment E.
To these Senators, Amendment E is as if it were a life-and-death situation, to wit, the end of government. Branson says that if J.A.I.L. is as detrimental to government as the government is claiming it to be, then the Communist Party, seeking the overthrow of America, missed an excellent opportunity to overthrow America. They could have simply propagated J.A.I.L. throughout this country where the citizens would have had no defense against it. But, the good news is that we no longer have any Communists in this country -- do we!     -Ron Branson
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JAIL backer may get subpoena
By Celeste Calvitto, Journal Staff Writer

PIERRE - State legislative leaders said Friday they may subpoena the promoter of a controversial ballot initiative to force him to answer questions about it.

Senate Majority Leader Eric Bogue, R-Faith, and Senate Minority Leader Garry Moore, D-Yankton, expressed "shock" when a supporter of the proposed Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, or JAIL, read a written statement at a meeting of Senate State Affairs Committee, then refused to answer questions posed by committee members.

The committee, which Bogue chairs, was considering a resolution in opposition to the JAIL initiative, which will appear as Amendment E on the November ballot. If approved by the voters, it would strip judges of immunity from lawsuits.

Most of the state Legislature's 105 members have signed on to the resolution in opposition to Amendment E, saying that the measure would extend to everyone from county commissioners to volunteers who serve on local boards.

They said the California-based JAIL movement chose South Dakota because it is easier to get initiatives on the ballot here.

Representatives of 19 organizations told committee members Friday that Amendment E would have far-reaching ramifications, citing things such as a negative impact on the state's economy and an inability to attract people to public service.

After that testimony, Bill Stegmeier of Tea, who led the South Dakota drive to get the measure on the ballot, read a five-page statement to the committee.

"Your accusation that the amendment will put all public servants at risk of being sued for doing nothing more than their jobs is ludicrous," Stegmeier said.

When he was asked after his testimony to respond to questions, Stegmeier said, "I respectfully decline to answer any questions. I do not feel I am prepared."

He said he would respond to written questions "at a later date."

"You were involved in putting this on the ballot," Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, said. "When do expect to be prepared to explain it?"

"At a later date," Stegmeier said.

"Before you decided to put the citizens of South Dakota through this, did it not occur to you to understand it and be ready to explain it?" Schoenbeck asked.

Stegmeier again declined to respond, saying that all of his comments were included in the statement he read to the committee.

Bogue then said that action would be delayed on the resolution opposing Amendment E until the committee considers its options.

Later, at separate press briefings, both Bogue and Moore said that may include a subpoena.

"We have had a shocking and unprecedented event where an individual appeared in front of a standing committee and refused to answer questions," Bogue said. "In my 10 years here, that has never happened."

He said the committee will decide whether to issue a subpoena.

Bogue said that appearing before a committee and refusing to answer questions is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a fine of $200, or both.

"This is something that is going to have a dramatic effect, whether you are a proponent or an opponent, on the constitution and procedures at every level of South Dakota government," Bogue said. "To have an individual who is a such a key component in putting this on the ballot read a statement and then claim to be unwilling and unable to answer questions, is appalling."

Moore said that during his 16 years as a legislator, "I have never seen anything similar to what happened in the State Affairs Committee today. It is going to be interesting to see whether a sheriff knocks on the door and subpoenas someone to testify next week."

Moore said South Dakotans were "hoodwinked" when the initiative got on the ballot.

"I would be ashamed to let anybody know I was a part of that when they can't answer the questions," he said.

Contacted later, Stegmeier said the written statement covered what he intended to talk about.

"I did not care to debate five or six attorneys (on the committee) on the amendment itself," he said.

When told the committee may issue a subpoena, Stegmeier said, "That's fine. A subpoena will tell me what I need to be prepared for."

Contact Celeste Calvitto at 394-8438 or


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 * * *
To read J.A.I.L.'s point by point reponse to this resolution please see: * * * South Dakota Legislature Forfeits Their Public Trust * * *

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