In the Tea Leaves Department, Attorney General Marty Jackley may have given a hint of a ballot initiative coming to the petition trail at a Deadwood forum last Thursday:
He finished by asking for input on several ballot issues coming up, including marijuana, petitions to outlaw alcohol and tobacco, minimum wage limit, the legislature’s ability to change ballot initiatives, and others [Jaci Conrad Pearson, “Jackley Talks Gaming, State Stats at Deadwood Meet ‘n Greet,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2015.05.09].
The press hasn’t mentioned any ballot initiative dealing with the Legislature’s ability to tinker with measures voters approve at the polls. South Dakota law prohibits local governments from amending, repealing, or revisiting issues decided in municipal initiatives (SDCL 9-20-5.1) and referenda (SDCL 9-20-17) for one year, but no such prohibition exists against Legislative action on statewide ballot measures, as evidenced by the Legislature’s quick passage of the youth minimum wage just two months after the voter initiative setting the minimum wage at $8.50 for everyone took effect on January 1.
Perhaps activists are looking to copy the ballot measure protection clause from Nebraska’s constitution, which requires any legislative effort to tinker with a voter-approved law to obtain a two-thirds vote.
Is a ballot measure on this topic brewing? South Dakotans, what do you think? Would you prefer a time limit, a higher vote requirement, or some combination of those protections for ballot measures?