As he shared the text of the five initiated measures (four laws, one really good constitutional amendment) with Dakota Free Press yesterday, Attorney General Marty Jackley cautioned that those initiatives are still drafts, not the final language that will appear on the ballot if approved by the Secretary of State. Initiative sponsors can still revise their proposals before final submission to Secretary Krebs.
However, revision at this point could cost a lot of time. I checked with AG Jackley, and he confirmed that if any of the sponsors change the language of the ballot measures currently on his desk, they must resubmit that text to the AG and start his review process anew. State law gives the AG sixty days to review those ballot measures and write his explanation of each measure for the voters. If sponsors submit new text, the sixty-day clock resets.
At this point, any revised text submitted might not emerge from the AG’s office for the Secretary to approve until July 15. That would leave the sponsors with just three and a half months to circulate their petitions.
That’s still a snudge more than we referendum drivers have to get the same number of signatures (at least as the initiated laws; the constitutional amendment will require twice as many signatures, nearly 28,000 instead of nearly 14,000). But that possible lost month is worth weighing against the value of tweaks to the proposals as currently written.