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House Concurs on HB 1094, Sends Unconstitutional Circulator Registry and Badges to Governor’s Desk

The Republican war of attrition on your right to petition continues.

Instead of duking it out in conference committee, House Republicans yesterday said fine, whatever, to the Senate’s amendments to Representative Jon Hansen’s House Bill 1094, which forces ballot question circulators to register with the state and receive an official badge before soliciting signatures for an initiative or referendum petition.

Governor Kristi Noem, there are several reasons you should veto this bill.

  1. HB 1094 crushes civic engagement by making it impossible for volunteers to jump in and immediately help a grassroots ballot question petition drive.
  2. HB 1094 expands state intrusion in circulators’ privacy, requiring volunteers to surrender not just their name, e-mail, and phone number but now their physical address to the state and to passersby on the street.
  3. HB 1094’s sloppy wording turns anyone who speaks in favor of signing a petition into a circulator subject to criminal penalty for failing to register.
  4. HB 1094 squeezes genuine grassroots campaigners out of petition drives and ensures big-money special interests expand their role in initiative and referendum.
  5. HB 1094 subjects citizens to prior restraint of free speech activity, which will not withstand court scrutiny.

Governor Noem, the initiative and referendum process is already too complicated and costly due to recent changes in the law; instead of making that government overreach worse with HB 1094, we should go the other direction and open the process to more citizen volunteers. Please support citizen participation: please veto House Bill 1094.


  1. Debbo 2019-03-07 15:29

    Cory, I know you’re aware that your 5 reasons are exactly what the SDGOP/Kochs/ALEC have in mind. Government of, by and for for the wealthy elites.

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