DFP Poll: Strong Support for Referring Petition Reform and Youth Minimum Wage

DFP Poll: Refer SB 69 and/or SB 177
Dakota Free Press Poll, conducted March 20–24, 2015

Dakota Free Press readers are spoiling for a fight… or two! The first Dakota Free Press poll asked, “Should voters refer SB 69 (petition reform) and/or SB 177 (youth minimun wage) to the 2016 ballot?” Out of 225 voters, 69% said refer both. 14% prefer to focus on reversing the Legislature’s attack on voting rights and ballot access. 6% prefer to focus on reversing the Legislature’s attack on young workers and the initiative process. 10% say we should leave both measures alone.

Racing boldly past the standard DFP online poll margin of error just slightly smaller than David Novstrup’s go-cart shed, let’s specualte what could happen if we mobilized these poll takers to circulate petitions. We have 188 people willing to refer petition reform and 170 willing to refer the youth minimum wage. We need 13,871 signatures to place one measure on the ballot. Add a 20% cushion (and some organizers say that’s pretty thin), and referrers better aim for 16,646 signatures.

188 circulators would each need to collect 89 signatures to safely qualify SB 69 for a public vote.

170 circulators would each need to collect 98 signatures to safely qualify SB 177 for a public vote.

I once gathered about that many referral petition signatures in a weekend. When I helped refer HB 1234, Governor Daugaard’s education package, in 2012, I collected over 500 signatures over two and a half months.

Of course, in 2012, collecting signatures for HB 1234 was easy. That awful bill had been all over the news. I didn’t have to do much explaining; the majority of my signers just heard “Governor’s education bill” and reached for the pen.

This year’s Senate Bill 69 is more obscure. Getting signatures will require explaining wonky provisions affecting signature thresholds and qualifications for signing. Circulators referring SB 69 will need to refine their talking points more than I had to for 2012’s HB 1234.

This year’s Senate Bill 177 may be a harder policy sell. Among those who voted for last year’s Initiated Measure 18 to raise the minimum wage, we will find plenty of folks who will say, “Yeah, but now that the Legislature offers the chance, I’m willing to pay kids a lower minimum wage.” Economic justice (a 17 year old’s sweat and sacrifice deserves the same respect as a 19 year old’s, or a 60 year old’s) won’t persuade every signer. The other main reason for referring SB 177, the need to respond vigorously to the Legislature’s and the Governor’s affront to the voice of the people expressed in the initiative process, is more esoteric and not directly related to the language of the bill itself. Selling that argument will further slow down any petition push.

DFP readers overwhelming want two referrals. Now will they walk the petitions to realize those referrals?

 


11 Responses to DFP Poll: Strong Support for Referring Petition Reform and Youth Minimum Wage

  1. Dave Baumeister

    Members of the South Dakota legislature think pretty highly of themselves when they pass bills that directly go against what the people have voted for and want. At some point, those same people have to start thinking more of themselves and stop electing the stooges that run the legislature. But just in the past few years, how many major pieces of legislation have been referred and voted down? Two abortion measures and an education bill come to mind immediately. So, of course, the legislators would move to pass a bill that limits the ability people have to challenge their work. How absolutely conceited and elitist is that? It’s funny, Republicans have said many time that the Democrats are “elitists,” but, at least in South Dakota, that is obviously untrue; the current crop of Republicans are the ones telling the voters at large that their opinions and knowledge are inferior to their elected officials. Their actions are nothing but self serving, their work should be referred, and they should be recalled!

  2. Roger Elgersma

    Minimum is supposed to be minimum. Not, you can lose your job to another good worker just because they can get paid less. That defeats the whole purpose of the minimum wage. That is what they want to do.

  3. These need to be referred if for no other reason than to let them know their crony corrupt politics will not be accepted, Cory.

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with a council member years ago. Sometimes the public just doesn’t know what is best for them. While that could possibly carry some truth at times, it is not the way it is supposed to work.

    I don’t approve of either bill.

  4. In the mischief department, I need to admit the I voted “refer both.” My partisan interest got the best of me. :)

  5. Cory Heidelberger wrote:
    >”Of course, in 2012, collecting signatures for HB 1234 was easy. That awful bill had been all over the news.”

    I’m holding out hope that SB 69 will be too. :)

    >”This year’s Senate Bill 69 is more obscure. Getting signatures will require explaining wonky provisions affecting signature thresholds and qualifications for signing.”

    Maybe we could say something like:
    “Last year there were [number] legislative elections in South Dakota in which only Republicans were able to qualify for the ballot, so that citizens had no alternatives in the general election.”
    -OR-
    “Last year our tax dollars paid for primary elections that included [number] Republican races, [number] Democratic races and zero races in the Libertarian and Constitution parties.”
    -AND-
    “This year our Republican legislature passed Senate Bill 69, which will make it even more difficult for Democrats, new parties and independent candidates to qualify for the ballot. If you’re registered with a party affiliation, the law would deprive you of the freedom to run an independent campaign or nominate and independent candidate.”
    -AND-
    “We believe South Dakota citizens ought to be offered alternatives and allowed to choose their leaders in free elections.”

    I’m open to other suggestions here.

  6. I’d suggested saying:
    >”Last year our tax dollars paid for primary elections that included [number] Republican races, [number] Democratic races and zero races in the Libertarian and Constitution parties.”

    Or maybe change “races” to “candidates” in that statement.

  7. So Troy, could you scratch that mischief itch even more by helping circulate petitions? Or inviting us over to your next dinner party so we can get you and your mischievous friends to sign? :-)

  8. Deb Geelsdottir

    Speaking of legislators ignoring the will of the citizens, Wisconsin is apparently in the running with SD for most corrupt state government. Read this. It sounds just like the SD Republican Party.

    http://libertywisconsin.com/2015/03/24/why-i-am-leaving-the-republican-party-of-wisconsin/

  9. Les, I do appreciate that sentiment. We can justify the referral on the merits of the policies themselves as well as the assault on democracy that the two statutes represent. That latter issue is more esoteric, but I don’t mind taking a swing at it in the sale spitch.

  10. Douglas Wiken

    This has more to do with EB-5, but did the SD legislature pass a law to protect the reputation of the dead? If they did, that may have something to do with Benda, etc.

  11. Hope petition to Get rid of the “Youth” Min Wage gets signatures and on the ballot. No one wants to live on a Plantation. Should the young people of South Dakota feel it is OK that the “elders” (Cranky R Party) have the right to EXCLUDE them from the $8.50 an hour WE passed? The will of the People can not be disregarded. We allow these elected people (elected every 2 years) to ride rough shod over our Rights.

    Recalling legislators who REVERSED what the people voted for is a good idea.

    Somehow we need to INVENT a new way that is better and more Victorious than the Legislature. The D Party and Independents simply aren’t represented in the Legislature. 38% of Registered Voters are Dems, but only 11.1% of legislators are Dems? Independents are 12% of the voters but 0 % in the Legislature. This is democracy ? Yes, our Goal is to Defeat all the legislators who voted against what the People voted for in November. That can happen over time. But in the short term, blogs are OK, but we need to Better Sooner.

    A 1 Party system is not delivering democracy. It gets what it wants only.

    We can invent better, yes? We can create something where we succeeed 365 times a year, and also, get people elected in the “Lag-islature” who will respect the will of the People.