South Dakota

South Dakota

This week, Citizens in Charge Foundation President Paul Jacob traveled to Pierre and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to release an 18-page report on the prosecution of Dr. Annette Bosworth by South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, warning at a news conference in Sioux Falls that it may have “a chilling effect on political participation.”

“We want the law to be enforced and people held accountable,” said Jacob, “but the severity of this penalty goes too far and threatens to scare citizens away from getting involved in politics.”

Supporters of two ballot initiatives spent the last week gathering signatures at the North Dakota State Fair.

The Minot Daily News reports ( that petitions were circulated for one measure requiring North Dakota schools to start after labor day and another measure that would establish a trust fund for water, wildlife and parks projects.

The deadline to get an issue on the November ballot is Aug. 6.

Read More: here

A bill being considered in Pierre changes the way initiated measures and referendum petitions in South Dakota are verified.

Some critics say the change makes it easier for big moneyed interests to challenge a petition effort.

Under current law–someone who wants to bring an issue before voters in a statewide election must gather the necessary signatures and then have the petitions checked and verified by the Secretary of States office.  Anyone wishing to challenge the petitions has 5 days to do so.

Read more: here

Next November, South Dakota voters will decide the outcome of two initiated measures — one raising the minimum wage and the other limiting health insurance companies.

If history is any judge, both are likely to fail.

Only 13 of 51 initiated measures attempted since statehood have earned a majority, with an average support of 44 percent.

Some of those successful measures have reflected powerful sentiments among the state population: to keep nuclear waste out, to tax cigarettes more and, most popular of all, to impose term limits on members of Congress — though that was ruled unconstitutional.

Read More: here

Recall elections serve purpose

Thu, Sep 19 2013 — Source: Aberdeen News

I am not a big fan of recall elections. This example of direct democracy is largely an artifact of the progressive era in American politics, when it was assumed that state legislatures were corrupt gaggles of bought-and-paid-for politicians. Allowing the voters to send the rascals packing ahead of schedule was supposed to be a remedy for the said corruption.

It rarely works that way. It is the responsibility of elected legislatures to deal with genuine corruption, either in their own assemblies or in the executive branch of the government. When they fail to do so, it is the responsibility of the voters to remember that in the next regularly scheduled election.

South Dakota lawmakers are leery of a ballot measure that would boost the state sales tax by 1 percentage point to give extra money to school districts and the health care program for low-income people, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The billboard company Lamar is suing Rapid City over a citizen’s initiative that it says “effectively creates a ban on all types of new outdoor off-premises advertising.”


According to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Lamar received 94 sign credits for removing some billboards and replacing others with smaller signs. The credits were supposed to allow Lamar to erect new signs or convert existing signs to digital billboards.


But in a June 7 election, voters approved measures prohibiting digital billboards, increasing the required space between two signs, capping a company’s sign credits at 20 and limiting the life of unused sign credits to 20 years.

Two billboard initiatives plus races for mayor and city council are on the ballot in Tuesday’s election in Rapid City. The initiated measures would, among other things, double the distance required between new billboards and ban new digital billboards. Incumbent Alan Hanks is among four candidates running for mayor. There also are four contested seats for Rapid City Council.

Read the story from the Daily Journal

Voters in Rapid City will decide June 7 whether to ban new digital billboards and restrict the proliferation of other billboards within city limits, but opponents are promising a legal battle. The Rapid City Council on Monday voted unanimously to accept two resident-driven initiated measures and set them for a citywide vote to coincide with the municipal election in June.

Read the story from the Rapid City Journal

Voters looking to put a tax increase on a statewide ballot as a response to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed budget cuts might not have to wait until 2012. A bill endorsed Wednesday by the Senate State Affairs Committee would change the state’s election law temporarily by opening the door to initiated measures this November, one year before the next general election.

Read the story from the Argus Leader

Rosebud Sioux Tribe members are currently circulating a recall petition against tribal President Rodney Bordeaux, citing mismanagement of tribal affairs. While Bordeaux defends himself, the Rapid City Journal reports that tribal officials are hampering signature collection efforts:

Last week Citizens in Charge Foundation - a partner organization to Citizens in Charge - sent a letter to Secretaries of State and Attorneys General in 12 states asking them to stop enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on ballot initiative rights. In light of recent legal action in which Kansas officials agreed with petition advocates that the state’s law against petition circulators from other states was unconstitutional, Foundation President Paul Jacob asked officials to “do the right thing” and stop enforcing similar

LeafOne of the greatest strengths of the initiative process is that it allows citizens to deal with issues or present positions that politician are unlikely to every tackle. Among those issues is drug policy reform, and the legalization/decriminalization of marijuana in particular.

A labor agency goes to court today in Pierre as it sues state officials over a ballot issue in the November election. The South Dakota State Federation of Labor objects to how Attorney General Marty Jackley explains a constitutional amendment concerning how employees in a workplace may join a union. A hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. today before Circuit Judge John Brown in the Hughes County Courthouse.

Read the story from the Argus Leader

State senators changed legislation Thursday so that registered voters who have been inactive would still have the right to sign petitions to put a constitutional amendment, initiative or referendum on the South Dakota election ballot. The legislation, Senate Bill 13, contains a variety of changes in South Dakota election laws. It now heads to the House of Representatives for a committee hearing and possible action by the full House.

Read the story from The Daily Republic