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Legislature Rejects Eight Proposed Ballot Measures

As we survey the damage from the dwindling Legislative Session, we see that the Legislature defeated every resolution offered that would have placed entrusted the voters to decide an issue on the 2020 general election ballot.

House Joint Resolution 1001 would have had us vote on letting the Legislature decide how to fill vacancies in its august bodies. Senate State Affairs struck the anti-democratic and unworkable language House State Affairs created ceding that appointment power to political party insiders and restored the original and arguably reasonable language that would tip the Executive/Legislative balance of power back toward the Legislature, but the Senate chickened out of challenging the Governor, voting 15–19 Thursday to kill HJR 1001.

HJR 1003 asked us to vote on socking away proceeds from the unclaimed property fund into a trust fund dedicated to cutting property taxes. Prime sponsor Representative Taffy Howard (R-33/Rapid City) offered an amendment in Senate Appropriations Monday, but the six present members of the nine-member committee voted to send the bill to table limbo.

HJR 1006, Rep. Chris Karr’s (R-11/Sioux Falls) recyclage of Senator Al Novstrup’s bad idea of a ballot measure to double legislators’ terms to four years and cutting voter authority over legislators by half, died on Crossover Day 30–38.

HJR 1007 offered South Dakotans the chance to vote on the merits of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, merits that every neighboring state but Wyoming has sensibly chosen to enjoy. South Dakota Republicans refused to let us have that debate, killing the measure 9–3 in House State Affairs.

SJR 1, the original amendment proposing four-year terms for legislators, died in committee in January.

SJR 2 sought a public vote on legalizing sports betting in Deadwood. After squeaking out of the Senate by one vote, SJR 2 got 41st-dayed by House State Affairs on Monday, then got smoked out, but fell three votes short of being placed on the House calendar.

SJR 3 considered changing judicial elections from non-partisan to partisan. If there’s anyplace we don’t need partisan politics, it’s in the selection of judges. Senate State Affairs kept that bad idea off our ballots with an 8–1 vote.

SJR 5 called for a public vote on letting Yankton build a giant river casino. The full Senate killed that vote 13–22 on Crossover Day.

Four of those resolutions were up front bad ideas. Only one was a slam-dunk good plan (Medicaid expansion!). Three were open for debate.

But the Legislature considered eight opportunities to let us the people speak, and eight times, the Legislature said, No, no, no, we don’t need voters telling us what to do.

If we want any direct democracy in our state, we really will have to do it ourselves.


  1. Buckobear 2019-03-09 09:55

    So much for that state motto: “Underdog people rule.”

  2. grudznick 2019-03-09 14:07

    The voters lost their ability to play with these things after the heinous Measure Initiated as number 22. The ease with which the ignorant voters were hoodwinked with lies and dark, out-of-state money forever blackend the trust of the the voters of themselves. They realized how stupid they were and they know they cannot be trusted so they empower the legislatures to protect them from themselves. As it should be.

  3. Donald Pay 2019-03-09 15:01

    Grudz, You and I know from our time in Pierre that the corrupt special interests couldn’t abide with the people ending their corruption. Corruption is so institutionalize in South Dakota that the corrupt can’t envision any other way of behaving. The criminal syndicate went to work and undid the anti-corruption package. It had nothing to do with anything from “out-of-state,” except that they didn’t want the potential of out-of-state interests furthering THEIR corruption.

    And, let’s recount the out-of-state money that the corrupt use. The corrupt proudly take out-of-state, even foreign, money when it can further corruption and their power. But the corruption of the Legislature and Governor by special interests buys bad things for South Dakota residents. Just consider that uranium tailings littering Fall River County and Harding County, toxic gold mining Superfund sites that cost taxpayers money to clean up, mountains of hog manure poisoning waterways, the Twin Cities sewage ash buried in South Dakota. Then there are those things that South Dakotans beat because of ballot measures: large-scale dumps for the nation’s garbage and a huge radioactive waste dump. There were other things that people fought off that had the support of the corrupt SD government: medical waste incinerators in Sioux Falls, garbage incinerators in Newell, depleted uranium testing in Fall River County, the ETSI coal slurry pipeline, the Mandan powerline, the Oahe and Cendak Irrigation Projects, the Garrison Extension Project, all the large-scale CAFOs that have no local support. Even the good projects proposed somehow get befouled with state government corruption: Northern Beef and, of all things, an otherwise excellent attempt to further STEM education for Indian students.

    Grudz, one thing I never hear from the corrupt is how they have done anything for South Dakota except line their own pockets while socializing the cost of their corruption onto taxpayers. Please let me know of anything, I mean *anything* good these corrupters have done for South Dakota. I’m sure there are some, but for the life of me, I can’t list one off the top of my head. Can you?

  4. leslie 2019-03-09 15:02

    Diedrich made the correct ACA vote yet it didn’t count. But still….

  5. Donald Pay 2019-03-09 15:13

    Now, regarding Legislative ballot measures, the Legislature has always proposed far more ballot measures than citizens. HJR 1007 was the only one that should have passed, although a Constitutional Amendment shouldn’t be required. It should be done outright by the Legislature, but corruption interferes with putting the state’s citizens health above the interests of the Koch crowd.

  6. grudznick 2019-03-09 16:03

    Mr. Pay, you know there is no corruption, nor any sewage ash hidden under the cushions. Not every issue under the sun comes back to the raping of the land for money grubbers. There are far fewer grubbers than you see under every bush.

  7. Donald Pay 2019-03-09 16:51

    Oh, Grudz, I’m not seeing your list of anything good coming from the corrupters, who take out-of-state and foreign money to push bad projects and bad policy in the Legislature. The corruption is rampant and so much a part of South Dakota, as is the buried Twin Cities sewage ash, that you can’t even come up with a list of anything these corrupters have done for South Dakota.

  8. grudznick 2019-03-09 16:59

    There are no corrupters, Mr. Pay. When did you stop taking your medicine for sewer ash on the brain? But if there were corrupters, I bet they would have built casinos and employed hundreds and killed all the bugs in them thar hills.

  9. Donald Pay 2019-03-09 20:32

    Grudz, I hate to break it to you, but the Metropolitan Council in Minnesota is once again looking for a sucker to take their sewage ash. Maybe your and your corrupt friends can take another run at burying South Dakota in sh*t ash. Their latest gambit is to pretend it’s “fertiliizer.” That was also the gambit your corrupt friends were pushing back in the day. They, of course, had their #4Science fakery going, too, and hoodwinked Janklow, who got sold on the idea that they could mine gold from sh*t. The scientists at DENR didn’t buy anything these guys were saying, but they got overruled by the corruption. At any rate, the Board of Minerals and Environment allowed all that waste to come here in spite of the fact that the company was violating it’s permit from day one. That doesn’t happen unless someone is being paid off.

  10. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-03-09 20:50

    Don Pay, I do not see why you indulge that POS.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-10 09:43

    Donald Pay reminds us that the Legislature usually puts far more measures on the ballot than citizens do by initiative and referendum. Perhaps Senator Bolin and friends felt chastened by that reminder during last year’s debate about Amendment X, when Bolin was claiming that South Dakota was suffering from a flood of ballot measures and I reminded him that the only flood seems to come from his august body. This Session, my quick scan of voting records on the resolutions listed here indicates that whenever he had the chance, Senator Bolin voted against putting measures on the ballot.

  12. grudznick 2019-03-10 10:13

    It is a bright day indeed when my good friend Bob reminds me that one of the reasons I like him so much is few men can be their own uncle with more class than Bob can.

  13. T 2019-03-10 10:27

    So river gambling would possible create more tourism and money
    Why was that shut down by a landslide?
    Repubs like money and laundering

  14. leslie 2019-03-12 15:37

    1007. Medicaid expansion. What if…in light of spreading nursing home closures?

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