There have been some people questioning if Mayor TenHaken’s presser on IM 27 violated state law;
When Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken attended a news conference and shared his concern about recreational marijuana on Oct. 26, it caught Melissa Mentele’s attention. She was sponsor of the successful 2020 ballot measure which legalized medical marijuana in the state. Mentele herself held a news conference on Tuesday in Sioux Falls; she wants to know if TenHaken broke state codified law, which says that the state or a state agency can’t spend public money to influence the success or failure of a ballot question.
Technically you could say he violated state law; he used a public facility funded by the taxpayers of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County and he did it while he was on the clock. He also did not share FACTUAL information.
As for any 1st Amendment violations, I agree with TenHaken;
TenHaken sent KELOLAND News via text message: “Fortunately as an elected leader I don’t have to forfeit my First Amendment rights to say IM27 is terrible public policy and people should vote no.”
He is very much correct that elected officials don’t give up their 1st Amendment rights after taking office, but, this is NOT about constitutional or state law, this is about ethics.
As an elected official who may have to rule/vote on proposed law in the future, it is very unethical and conflicting to take a position on a ballot measure before it has been voted on. What makes it even more complicated is using money from a personal PAC to fund an opposition campaign, BTW, a campaign littered with lies and false information.
This should be questioned, but not on the basis of law, but on ethics.
“Laws without morals are in vain.” – Benjamin Franklin