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SB 180 Heads for Governor’s Desk; State Heads for Another First Amendment Lawsuit

Senate Bill 180, the revamped ballot question petition circulator registry and badging mandate, is on its way to Governor Kristi Noem’s desk. In brief remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, prime sponsor Senator Jim Stalzer (R-11/Sioux Falls) highlighted the changes made in the House version of his bill:

  1. SB 180 now clarifies that “solicitors” required to register and badge alongside actual circulators must be urging people to sign the circulator’s petition “simultaneously” with the presentation of the petition for signing.
  2. SB 180 no longer requires paid circulators to include “occupation” in the information they must file with the Secretary of State in a public database before circulating.
  3. SB 180 no longer requires that paid circulators wear badges with ID numbers; the badges will only say “paid petition circulator.”

The Senate concurred in those House amendments 23–12. The nays were all five Senate Democrats, who are reliably vigilant about impediments to direct democracy and threats to the Constitution, and six Republicans—Jensen, Partridge, Russell, Schoenfish, Smith, and White, an interesting mix of right-wingers and relative moderates who apparently share concerns that, by imposing prior restraint and viewpoint discrimination on petition circulators, even the subset of paid circulators, the state is cruising for another embarrassing loss in court.


  1. Debbo 2020-03-12 17:51

    Slow learners. 🙄🙄🙄

  2. mike from iowa 2020-03-12 20:15

    What happens to circulators and petitions if they are forced to shut down by corona virus fears? Is there any stoopid wingnut law to save their petitions or does the election just go on as usual?

    And wouldn’t electron ic petitions solve this?

    Dem door to door canvassers in Wisconsin have shut down due to virus fears.

  3. Clyde 2020-03-12 21:23

    I, for once, was considering really getting active in the I and R politics that hasn’t been taken away from us yet. The virus is going to wreck lots of things and I think the I petitioning is one of those.

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