Adelstein’s first secretary of state reform bill dies

The Senate State Affairs Committee killed a proposal to bar political activity by employees of the secretary of state’s office.

Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, had proposed banning the secretary of state or any employees of that office who oversee elections from endorsing, supporting or advising any candidates for political office.

He said he modeled his bill on the federal Hatch Act, which prevents most federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

But the committee voted 7-2 to kill his bill, saying they saw this as a question of ethics for those employees but not something that should be legislated.

Sen. Dan Lederman and Sen. Craig Tieszen, both Republicans, voted for Adelstein’s bill.

A second reform proposed by Adelstein, making the secretary of state a nonpartisan position, will be heard by the committee at a later date. Adelstein said he’s preparing amendments to the bill.