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Referendum Pushes Through June: Sign to Save Your Vote from Overreaching Legislature

Refer 69-177 LWe’re entering the final thrilling weeks of our referendum push! I’m walking around Aberdeen (and friends and allies are working Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and elsewhere) with petitions to refer Senate Bills 69 and 177 to a public vote.

Remember that Senate Bill 69 is the Legislature’s effort to keep Independents off the ballot and leave us with fewer candidates to choose from on our ballots. SB 69 was supposed to address petition fraud like that  committed by Annette Bosworth and Clayton Walker, but it turned into partisan tricks that make it harder for citizens to run for office and challenge incumbents. That’s bad for democracy.

Senate Bill 177 is the youth minimum wage. SB 177 is economically and statutorily unnecessary. It’s really our grouchy Legislature’s effort to discourage citizens from exercising their own legislative power through initiative and referendum, as citizens did last year when they passed the minimum wage increase at the polls. As I go door to door, I all too regularly hear voters say, Why should we bother voting if the Legislature’s going to ignore us and do whatever it wants? That’s bad for democracy.

The deadline for me to walk into Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s office with our completed SB 69 and 177 petitions is Monday, June 29, 5 p.m. Legally, we must present at 13,871 valid voters’ signatures on each petition. Practically, to cushion error and challenge, we need at least 18,000 signatures. That’s a hump we still need to top for each petition.

We can do it, and you can help! Find a circulator near you and sign both petitions. Or download petitions (one for SB 68, one for SB 177), print them (double-sided! double-sided!), sign them, get a pal or two to sign, notarize them at the bank or the courthouse, and then mail them to me. (Yes, circulators can sign the sheets they circulate!)

Attorney General Marty Jackley is on the radio telling us that “the electoral process is sacred and important.” I agree wholeheartedly. Our ability to participate in elections, choose our own candidates, and make our own laws is sacred and important. With SB 69 and SB 177, our Legislature is trying to take that ability away. That’s why referring SB 69 and SB 177 to a public vote is important. Sign these petitions, and tell Pierre you want your vote to count!


  1. Porter Lansing 2015-06-08 13:13

    If one political party see fit to pay “juniors” less that “real workers” it seems they’d want to pay “seniors” less, also …. and then women? And then minorities? Just out and out ” indentured servitude for youth workers is worth a try, maybe. Slavery might work if they tweaked it a bit???

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-06-08 16:20

    You’re running down a perfectly logical road, Porter. SB 177 establishes the idea that we can offer an entire class of workers different, weaker labor protections due to perceptions that members of that class don’t work as hard as others.

  3. Porter Lansing 2015-06-08 18:00

    It’s a decades old tactic by one political party. When I was an elected official in the Teamster’s Union in the ’70s, was when we first noticed it during bargaining. The other side would give us what we wanted (pay raises, better healthcare insurance, longer vacations etc.) but we had to make concessions to the “new hires”. From the union workers I speak to these days it’s now the ONLY way the corporations will negotiate …. by making one class lower and weaker than another. It was in those days I was assigned to healthcare insurance procurement for our locals. Reading policies, deductibles, exclusions etc. and choosing what policy was best for our members. Learning the ropes then was quite useful when I was helping usher in Obamacare and our exchange in CO.

  4. leslie 2015-06-09 11:13

    porter, u related to any colo lawyers?

    mercer says independants registrations have grown by 14,000 since jan. 2014 and dems have decreased by 1,400. is that behind republican election law SB 69 that will make it harder for independants to run for office?

  5. Porter Lansing 2015-06-09 13:13

    Hi, Leslie. Two classmates from Watertown are prominent CO lawyers … maybe three. I’ve well respected Democratic lawyers in my Sodak family. ~ It would be beyond my validity to comment much on Pierre politics since I’m a resident of another state and trying to influence y’all would be a “bag made of carpet”. My focus is national so Thune, Rounds and Noem are more in my scope. I CAN comment on CO party breakdown. It’s divided into three equal groups. Republic Party, Democratic Party and Unaffiliated with about 3% in the Independent Party. I think many choose UA (unaffiliated) to slow down the constant requests for campaign donations. lol To deny any equality to Unaffiliated or Independent voters or candidates MUST be constitutionally noncompliant, don’t you think? So many “chronically conservative” states pass laws that clearly infringe on the inherent rights of various groups of people and do so knowing full well they won’t pass the Supreme Court. But those laws are just a salve. It’s like FoxNews …. it helps conservatives feel warm and fuzzy and legitimate but at essence it’s just BS.

  6. Kim Wright 2015-06-09 21:53

    The number of voters registering as Independent and abandoning the political parties is setting records around the country. In South Dakota the Republican majority want to maintain complete control, in other states it is the Democrat majority—No citizen should have to join a political party to participate in the election process! SB69 even PREVENTS anyone from seeking office in SD who is not representing a political party. Sign and circulate petitions–let voters make that decision!

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