The Legislative Executive Board’s memo on pending initiatives indicates that ballot question committees Represent South Dakota and South Dakota Voter Protection may avoid circulating competing ballot measures.
As I reported last week, SD Voter Protection submitted three drafts of their Voter Initiative Protection (VIP) Amendment to the Legislative Research Council. Those three VIP drafts focus on limiting the ability of the Legislature to infringe on voter rights and mess with ballot measures. Those protections overlap with portions of Represent SD’s proposed Voter Protection and Anti-Corruption (VPAC) Amendment targeting Legislative monkeyshines with ballot measures. Having two amendments on the ballot addressing the same issue could create confusion for voters… not to mention the fun of figuring out which measure takes priority if both happened to pass.
Drafts #1 & #2
These drafts deal with the issues of bribery, campaign fundraising and limits, regulation of gifts, nullification of the legislatively-created State Government Accountability Board, and creation of a new State Government Accountability Board, with extensive powers. They also provide that initiated measures take effect 60 days after approval, and all legislation that repeals, amends, or frustrates an initiated measure, or makes changes to the initiative and referendum process or requirements, is automatically referred, and cannot go into effect unless approved by the people.
Drafts #3 & #4
These drafts include the same issues as the first sentence of #1 and #2, above [Legislative Research Council, “Initiated Measures & Constitutional Amendments Received by LRC,” submitted to Executive Board, posted 2017.04.18].
Circulating VPAC draft #3 or #4 alongside the VIP Amendment strikes me as the best option for both sides and for voters. Let VPAC serve as the strict “IM22 Replacement,” as LRC labels all of the VPAC drafts, offering voters the chance to discuss whether the Legislature did the right thing in repealing Initiated Measure 22 and substituting its own statutes on campaign finance, lobbying, gifts, and corruption. Let VIP address the related but distinct “meta-issue” of how we conduct initiatives and referenda.
Let each issue stand on its own, without overlap, and Represent SD and SD Voter Protection will be able to focus on advocating for their issues without worrying about competing with each other. Voters will hear clearer messages, enjoy clearer conversations, and have a better chance of getting everything they want when they vote in November 2018.