Rebecca Terk points out we have our own need for some Arizona-style, federal-authority-usurping legislation right here in South Dakota. She noted that on the Missouri River near her home, people break the law regularly by running jet skis in the restricted waters of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. The National Park Service banned personal watercraft from WSRA-designated stretches of the Missouri in 2000, citing damage to wildlife, oil pollution, conflict with other more mellow recreationists, noise pollution (hear hear!), and high accident and injury rates. But the jetskiers keep rop-rop-roaring along the protected waterway in flagrant violation of federal law.
Terk says she has contacted the local heat to go after these lawbreakers. Their response: yup, they're illegal, but we can't touch 'em. Only a federal agent can enforce federal law, and the National Park Service hasn't even stationed a ranger in the area.
Well, who are we to let a little thing like federal jurisdiction stop us from enforcing the laws of the land? South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is filing a friend of the court brief supporting Arizona's effort to usurp federal authority on immigration law. AG Jackley justifies our state's involvement by saying illegal immigration "is really a public safety issue." GOP House candidate Kristi Noem favors expanding state government power to enforce laws when the feds fail to do so.
When the 2011 South Dakota Legislature gets on its high horse and puts off working on the budget to pass grandstanding legislation on immigration (and they're already chomping at the bit to do so), they should consider expanding any such proposal to a general declaration that South Dakota's sheriffs, city cops, Highway Patrol, and game wardens will gladly enforce any law that the federal government isn't... including the ban on jet skis on the Missouri downstream from Yankton.
After all, our support for Arizona's immigration law isn't just about those darned Mexicans. It's about our unwavering support for the rule of law and strong government... right?
Bonus Fun Fact: Congressman John Thune was outraged when this ban was announced in 2000. He demanded the National Park Service reopen the issue for public comment. NPS did so. 82% of the folks who commented supported the ban.
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