Rep. G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) must be tired. During Tuesday’s House debate on Senate Bill 69, the main petition reform bill, he got two facts wrong about the bill.
After proposing three successful amendments, Rep. Mickelson spoke to the merits of SB 69 as a whole. He said SB 69 gives the Secretary of State the “authority but not the obligation to go do random sampling” of nominating petitions.
Rep. Mickelson’s confusion is understandable; I get these bills mixed up myself. But it is important to remember that (1) random sampling of nominating petitions is addressed in Senate Bill 68, not SB 69, and, more importantly (2) SB 68 obliges the Secretary of State to use that petition-investigation authority:
The secretary of state shall examine each nominating petition for statewide office upon being received by the Office of Secretary of State….
The secretary of state shall verify the signatures received pursuant to section 1 of this Act by random sampling… [Senate Bill 68, current draft, passed by South Dakota House, 2015.03.10].
Rep. Mickelson then said that SB 69 relaxes campaign finance filing requirements for candidates who don’t face primary challenges. I could be wrong, but I don’t think SB 69 says anything about campaign finance filings. SB 65 changes campaign finance requirements.
Rep. Mickelson’s errors were minor, and did not appear to affect SB 69’s bumpy ride toward approval. More on the votes and the final form of SB 69 in the morning!