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Five Ballot Measures Already Pending for 2020 Election

All right, you’ve had a week to recover; who’s ready to discuss (and debate, and petition?) initiatives for the 2020 ballot?

Secretary of State has posted five ballot measures—two initiated laws and three constitutional amendments—to her potential 2020 ballot question page. I’ve reported on three of them here previously: Levi Breyfogle’s state- and budget-wrecking anarchy amendments and my statutory proposal (now highly revised, and which Pat Powers, in his policy-obscuring zeal for personal destruction is already misrepresenting) to reverse the worst anti-democracy extremes of the 2018 Legislature.

John Dale is coming back with an initiative to legalize cannabis. SOS Krebs lists it as a constitutional amendment, but the language in the document refers to specific statutes, making me think he intends and initiative. Friends of the demon weed can only hope Dale will expand his petitioning efforts from his house to more trafficked venues.

The gambling interests appear to have enlisted their lobbyist Roger Tellinghuisen to help draft a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in Deadwood and devote all the proceeds to the historic preservation thereof.

The executive director of Deadwood gaming, Mike Rodman, says the measure would be more about marketing than money:

Gaming in Deadwood has been flat for years, Rodman said, and sports betting would be a modest boost.

“It’s not a big money-maker,” he said. “But it gives us some great marketing opportunities for the Super Bowl and March Madness” [Christopher Vondracek, “Sports Betting Could Be on 2020 Ballot, Gaming Official Says,” Rapid City Journal, updated 2018.11.09].

Hold up: You want us to change the constitution for one industry in one town, and you’re telling me it’s not even going to make that much money? My enthusiasm is already dimmed. Let’s see how eager Deadwood and the voters are to receive that petition.

The Attorney General has issued explanations for two of the five measures (both Breyfogle’s). Once explained by the AG and approved by the SOS, sponsors may start petitioning. Initiative petitions for the 2020 election are due in the Secretary of State’s office (by then, the hands of Steve Barnett, alas, who won’t be nearly as fun to see on deadline day as Shantel Krebs!) by November 3, 2019.


  1. Debbo 2018-11-13 15:27

    The Breyfogle amendments (I followed the link and read the info) is just nuts. Total anarchy is true. It’s Libertarianism taken to an extreme. The changes proposed by Cory are good.
    I support legalizing weed.
    I’d have to know more about the sports betting plan. If it’s not going to make $, what’s the point?

  2. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-13 16:04

    Debbo, the point is to allow people to pursue their definition of happiness as long as they’re not directly causing harm to others or their property. Any amendment swaying things in that direction is a good thing, in my opinion. Why suppress something that someone wants to do, if they’re not causing physical harm to another individual?

  3. Debbo 2018-11-13 16:11

    Aaron, I understand your point. However, human history indicates that the “ifs” in your comment are the big worry.
    “if they’re not causing physical harm to another individual?”

    Humans always have in the past. Why would this time be different?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-13 17:51

    Aaron, I appreciate the Libertarian perspective on sports betting. Now I’m curious about the Libertarian perspective on the government’s dedication of the revenues of sports betting to one specific and limited purpose, the historic restoration and preservation of Deadwood.

    Debbo, are you suggesting that sports betting will open the door to more crime and corruption (the Mob?) than our current casino gambling has?

  5. grudznick 2018-11-13 17:56


    Get your bumper stickers now.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-13 18:04

    Let me speak up in support of the sports-betting amenders for a moment: they submitted a blissfully simple amendment, eight words added to Article 3 Section 25: “sports bets… adjusted annually for inflation… sports bets.” Simple. LRC suggests “wagering on sporting events” instead of “sports bets,” which wording is debatable. But what chafes me is that LRC then suggests that the sports-betting sponsors take on the burden of cleaning up all sorts of “outdated, ungrammatical, and imprecise terminology.” LRC’s suggestions in that regard turn this simple amendment into a vast tangle of strike-outs and insertions. If I were a sponsor, I’d be like, “Forget that! Our job isn’t to fix past Legislatures’ and past sponsors’ omissions; Our mission is to legalize sports betting, period. We’re not going to endanger any percentage of our potential Yes vote with any more language than is necessary on the petition to achieve our limited goals.”

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-13 18:06

    Now I just have to figure out that inflation adjustment….

  8. Jon Spawn 2018-11-13 18:12

    Eventually someone competent is going to get legal weed on the ballot.

  9. Kurt Evans 2018-11-13 18:26

    Cory writes:

    But what chafes me is that LRC then suggests that the sports-betting sponsors take on the burden of cleaning up all sorts of “outdated, ungrammatical, and imprecise terminology.”

    When I appealed my 2003 restraining order, the attorney general’s office intervened with—among other things—an avalanche of questions about whether South Dakota law technically allows for restraining orders to be appealed.

    Somehow it became my responsibility to defend the legality of every such appeal before mine or since. I declined to file a reply brief largely because I couldn’t afford to argue those technicalities, and as far as I know neither the state supreme court nor the legislature has addressed them to this day.

  10. Debbo 2018-11-13 20:00

    Aaron and Cory, I think I misunderstood. I thought Aaron’s reference was to Breyfogle’s amendments. My bad.

    I’d rather there was less betting all together, but I don’t have a problem with sports betting since we’ve already got Deadwood and other casinos.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2018-11-13 20:44

    Having been out of the South Dakota gaming industry for a number of years now, I am curious as to whether or not Indian tribes that have betting will be allowed to have sports betting.
    The original gaming compact between tribes and South Dakota said whatever games South Dakota allowed, tribes could allow it too.

  12. grudznick 2018-11-13 20:50

    That being the case, Mr. C, I would take your statement to mean that yes, they could have sports betting. More glorious gambling on the reservations to some, more pernicious gambling on the reservations to others. But yes, why couldn’t they? But I think each tribe has to have its own compact with the government, there is not one overarching document for all.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-13 21:21

    Thank you for that clarification, Debbo. I’m pretty sure Aaron was referring to sports betting (see his use of “the point” to tag off your comment immediately preceding his).

    Roger, have you heard if any of the tribes are interested in adding sports betting? Do they see added value there?

  14. Roger Cornelius 2018-11-13 21:37

    No I haven’t heard of any tribes talking about sports betting, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t considering it.
    Years ago I looked at sports betting on the reservation and saw some real potential for a wide open market. Obviously it wasn’t pursued because of the compact requirements.

  15. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-13 22:10

    No worries, Debbo. I should’ve been more specific in my response.

    I think this point can be geared towards the gambling issue as well as Levi’s proposed amendments. As to the “ifs”. When the “ifs”, from time to time do turn into the “whens”, then there are consequences for the physical harm of those actions. With that being said, let’s not tell others how to live their lives based off of hypotheticals. If there is harm, then there needs to be justice.

    Libertarians do believe in the rule of law, just not thousands of pages of law. You wouldn’t argue that we can successfully legislate morality, would you? History has proven that it does not work.

    In regards to your second question, Cory, I don’t agree with anything being subsidized. Whether it’s one small area in Deadwood, or if it’s all across the United States. I know I’ll get ganged up on in this blog for stating this, but if enough people are behind a certain service, that said service should be able to survive through its customers and the people receiving that service. In my opinion, no federal or state government should be picking winners and losers unless the constituents 100% agree on it being subsidized. So, at that point it could actually be volunteerism, and done so through the private sector rather than going through a middle man, a.k.a. government.

    Alright, let me have it! :)

  16. Debbo 2018-11-13 23:47

    “You wouldn’t argue that we can successfully legislate morality, would you?”
    No. But we can successfully legislate a higher level of fairness, equality, safety and other positive attributes. Some might refer to that as legislating morality. However, I’d say it’s enforcing certain standards of behavior, regardless of the individual’s level of morality.

  17. Debbo 2018-11-13 23:52

    Let you have it? I don’t know about that, but you’ve hit upon the spot where libertarianism always loses me.

    It sounds like Libertarians believe that the old, sick, disabled and otherwise hurting should simply be left to fend for themselves. That’s a complete bust with my moral code that compels me to advocate for and assist as best i am able, those very groups.

    Am I wrong in understanding what you mean when you say, “I don’t agree with anything being subsidized.”

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-14 05:44

    100% agreement? Not one ballot measure in the history of the state has been passed with complete consensus. Not one candidate in this year’s election received the vote of every constituent—even in District 15, where Senator Nesiba received no challenge in the primary or general, some voters stayed home.

    “can’t legislate morality” is also an easy excuse for not doing the hard, practical work of governing. It is true that laws do not turn every citizen into a paragon of virtue. Laws and governments exist specifically because we cannot count on everyone to practice virtue. Many people commit murders, yet we maintain the law against murder for the sake of justice and safety.

    Notice that even Aaron’s basic Libertarian principle—do what you want, as long as you aren’t harming somebody (just physical harm? Are there situations in which Libertarians would accept laws to prevent emotional/psychological harm? Libel?)—writes a basic moral precept into law. Aaron apparently supports laws against murder, assault, and rape, because those actions violate that fundamental moral principle. Laws against those actions serve to remind people to behave according to that simple moral code and restrain and punish those who fail to adopt that moral code.

  19. grudznick 2018-11-14 19:16

    Mr. Aylward, grudznick has to admit a bit of appreciation for your stance on subsidized services. But I agree with Mr. H that the 100% level is hard to meet. There is always more than one bossturd out there who is insaner than most that would vote no just to be a curmudgeon.

  20. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-14 22:44

    There’s some good discussion going on here, and I thank you guys for that. Cory, as I’ve stated before, I respectfully disagree with you on a number of things (I know there are things we agree on as well), but I do visit this blog, daily, because you do an excellent job with reporting news within the state of South Dakota. Keep up the good work!

    I’ll start off with one of my favorite Frederic Bastiat quotes…

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
    ― Frederic Bastiat, The Law

    Debbo, just because I don’t want large governments running these programs, doesn’t mean that I don’t want it done at all. I also want the sick, needy, and old to be taken care of. I just think that we can come up with better systems to do so.

    Cory and grudznick, I realize that it’s a pipe dream to think it’ll ever be 100%. But it’s the principle of the matter. The minority should not be forced to do something that they don’t believe in doing. I realize that we could get into a lot of detail on this subject and there may be a better place and time for that.

    I would argue that legislating morality is an easy excuse for not doing the hard, long, drawn out process of educating and warning people of the dangers of certain things. Laws do not deter violent criminals, but unfortunately it makes non violent criminals. Education! Not burdensome Legislation!

    I am all for having law against murder. You’re infringing on someone else’s property rights (their body), so therefore there should be justice. How does that equate to two people having a mutual contract for a service of their choosing? If no one is harmed, they should be left alone.

    “Aaron apparently supports laws against murder, assault, and rape, because those actions violate that fundamental moral principle. Laws against those actions serve to remind people to behave according to that simple moral code and restrain and punish those who fail to adopt that moral code.” Correct, Cory.

    I would also place libel into that because that could have a negative outcome on someone’s property. Their money, and their business. When I say, “as long as you aren’t physically harming someone”, I mean their physical property. That includes their body, and anything that they rightfully own.

    I truly believe that if we looked at matters on principle, and not base our decisions off of single issues/feelings, that things would be for the better.

    Where do you guys stand on peace and foreign relations? I bet that we could agree in that arena of ideas!…. I hope :)

  21. Debbo 2018-11-14 23:29

    I’m glad you’re here Aaron, and I appreciate your willingness to discuss. I hope you don’t feel like you’re being piled on. That’s not my intent. Trying to reach greater understanding is why I ask. So, in that vein . . .

    “I also want the sick, needy, and old to be taken care of. I just think that we can come up with better systems to do so.”

    Such as?

  22. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-16 22:52

    Thanks, Debbo! I do enjoy getting out of the echo chamber and hearing other opinions so, no worries.

    Systems that people want to voluntarily pay into and fund. If the government assistance programs slowly went away over a 10 year span, it doesn’t mean that the needy would all of a sudden be on their own. There are many wealthy and middle class individuals, and groups of people who would fund programs to take care of those in need. But just because you and I want the needy to be taken care of doesn’t mean that a minority should be forced to pay into certain programs. This goes for any type of program though. If it’s important enough, which taking care of the needy certainly is, it’ll get funded.

  23. Debbo 2018-11-16 22:59

    Aaron said,
    “There are many wealthy and middle class individuals, and groups of people who would fund programs to take care of those in need.”
    “If it’s important enough, which taking care of the needy certainly is, it’ll get funded.”

    Neither of those options have worked before. They sound like magical thinking, not real plans to save lives and offer dignity.

  24. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-16 23:30

    Compared to what? It has worked before and there are individuals and organizations, today, that help out with the needy. Why can’t we do it on a larger scale.

    I would argue that magical thinking more so resembles the belief that a centralized government can successfully force over 330 million people how to live a certain way. I believe that the individual and the family knows what’s best for themselves and if we allow them to keep as much of their earnings as possible, they’ll decide what’s best.

    We may have to agree to disagree, which is fine.

  25. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-16 23:31

    Why can’t we do it on a larger scale?*

  26. Kurt Evans 2018-11-16 23:49

    Today’s concept of federal social programs didn’t even exist for the first 150-plus years of America’s existence. During that 150-plus years of traditional American libertarianism, the wealthiest, most powerful, and most charitable nation on earth emerged on what had essentially been a barren wilderness.

    Deb and I discussed these matters in considerable depth nearly four years ago. She acts as if her mind is open, but nothing libertarian ever seems to get into it.

  27. Debbo 2018-11-16 23:52

    Oh crap. I just recently read a good source describing the inability of private charities and individuals to meet current needs. I’m saying ‘oh crap’ because I don’t remember where I saw it. I don’t remember the source.

    I will say this. “Why can’t we” doesnt sound like reasonable fiscal planning to me. Also, when we didn’t have government programs to help, the old and sick suffered more and died younger.

    We can use medical care as an example. In the states that haven’t expanded Medicaid there aren’t people of wealth stepping in to make up the difference so that everyone gets decent medical care. Even here in blue Minnesota, home to several Fortune 500 companies and many millionaires and a few billionaires, the poor can’t get dental care and no one is stepping up to pay the difference.

    How would you make it work?

  28. Debbo 2018-11-16 23:54

    The thing is Kurt, I don’t agree. Nor do I try to analyze your thinking or motives. I’d likely be as wrong as you are about me.

  29. Jason 2018-11-17 00:07

    Debbo wrote:

    when we didn’t have government programs to help, the old and sick suffered more and died younger.

    Please provide evidence for your assertion?

  30. bearcreekbat 2018-11-17 02:16

    Aaron, et al. I am unclear about the time period you think our government has not been funding health care and poor relief for indigents with tax dollars. I have provided historical information with links more than once in past threads documenting that South Dakota has had statutorily required taxpayer funded government poor relief (called County Poor Relief for most of our history) since the Dakota territory days and all through statehood.

    Whether our counties did a good job of caring for the poor using only property tax dollars or whether the later involvement of the state and federal governments using tax dollars other than property taxes has improved the lives and the health of indigents are different questions. But it is illogical to base an argument on the incorrect premise that there was a time when South Dakota did not use tax dollars (stolen from people under what some libertarians have asserted) to fund poor relief programs for the public. Likewise, I have not seen any evidence that South Dakota ever experienced a time during which all, most, or even many, of South Dakota’s indigent sick folks could get adequate medical care, or when South Dakota’s elderly and poor could survive on private charity instead of publicly funded programs and local poor houses for the indigent elderly and infirm.

    Eliminating government support for the poor, disabled and elderly in our South Dakota communities (regardless of the source of tax dollars, local, county, state or federal) would be an entirely novel experiment. And this experiment would cause considerable harm to actual people (men, women and childen) as well as unnecessary premature death if the wealthy failed to voluntarily meet the costs for the services our government has always fulfilled in the past with our tax dollars. Such “magical thinking” has the potential to be quite dangerous if put in to practice.

  31. Debbo 2018-11-17 11:03

    Well done BCB. Thanks.

  32. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-18 13:43

    bearcreekbat, when did I ever say that there was a time period in which the U.S. or South Dakota did not help at all with relief? I don’t believe I did. What I’ve been trying to get at, is that I also believe the old, sick, and poor should be taken care of, but others should also be given a choice as to whether or not they want to fund these programs. People should not be coerced into doing so, in my opinion.

    Here’s an example in a different area other than relief programs. Let’s use foreign military intervention as an example. Keep in mind, I realize how the U.S. constitution is supposed to work (congress is supposed to make the vote on going to war and not the constituents of those states) but I am using this as an example on the principle of the matter. Let’s say that 51% of the people vote that they want the U.S. to go to war but the other 49% are completely against the war. Why not have the 51% pay for the funding of the war rather than also coercing the other 49% into paying as well? Now use this same principle with all other programs that are currently subsidized.

    Again, I am not against these things being done, it’s just that I don’t believe that people should be forced into something at the point of a gun, threat of a fine, or threat of getting put into a cage.

    Do you want persuasion and a civil society, or coercion and the state?

    We can continue to strive for old centralized socialist ideas, or we can try new things, even though some may label them as magical thinking. Either way, I appreciate the conversation here and respect your opinions.

    “Ideas are very important to the shaping of society. In fact, they are more powerful than bombings or armies or guns. And this is because ideas are capable of spreading without limit. They are behind all the choices we make. They can transform the world in a way that governments and armies cannot. Fighting for liberty with ideas makes more sense to me than fighting with guns or politics or political power. With ideas, we can make real change that lasts.”

    Ron Paul

  33. bearcreekbat 2018-11-18 14:14

    Aaron, In response to your question, “when did I ever say that there was a time period in which the U.S. or South Dakota did not help at all with relief? I don’t believe I did,” I reference your comment at 2018-11-16 at 23:30, you wrote:

    Compared to what? It has worked before and there are individuals and organizations, today, that help out with the needy. Why can’t we do it on a larger scale.

    This comment was made in the context of your discussion with debbo about magical thinking and whether the wealthy could take care of the poor without government intervention. As such, I read the comment as an indication that SD had in fact not used tax dollars for poor relief some time in the past, or “before.” Hence my response. It appears now, however, that I was mistaken and we can agree that SD has used tax dollars to help the poor from the onset of statehood.

    As to the idea of forcing anyone to use his or her tax dollars for a purpose that they find objectionable, I recently commented on another thread about that, opining that such a view is a fallacy, and suggesting a means to avoid being upset by such a view. See my comment at:

    I enjoy reading your comments Aaron, and I too I appreciate the conversation here and respect your opinions.

  34. mike from iowa 2018-11-18 14:54

    51% of what, Aaron? You can’t be talking about 51% of the population of America because:
    Later analysis by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project found that there were 235,248,000 people of voting age in the United States in the 2012 election, resulting in 2012 voting age population (VAP) turnout of 54.9%.

    using those population figures you’d be expecting 168 million people to be taxed enough to pay billions for a war that no one has any idea of the total costs. Remember dumbass dubya’s venturesome wars were reported to cost around 50 billion and have cost over 6 trillion and at least a half million lives. I don’t see anyway your idea would work.

  35. Aaron Aylward 2018-11-18 19:23

    Thanks, bearcreekbat! We can agree to disagree, and that’s alright.

    mike from iowa, great point on the total voters. My previous comments probably did read as if I were talking about the whole population. Again though, I am only talking in regards to the principle of the matter.

    Lol, yes, I do remember dumbass dubya and many other presidents who abused/abuse their powers when it comes to foreign conflict. It’s very frustrating. Part of the problem, right now, is, even with our current tax structure, it’s not enough to feed the military industrial complex. And they’ll just keep spending….:(
    Maybe with a tax structure where only those in favor of war actually payed for it, the U.S. would be able to lower unnecessary involvement and it would also cut down on military spending, and total lives lost overseas.

    Thanks for the discussion folks!

  36. Debbo 2018-11-18 20:25

    “Do you want persuasion and a civil society, or coercion and the state?”

    I don’t see those as opposites. We have a state, persuasion in our political system, laws that require adherence or consequences (coercion) and a civil society. None of it functions perfectly, but i believe your choices are false.

    Maybe it’s time to let this comment section RIP now. It’s been interesting and informative. Thanks all.

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