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Secretary Barnett Receives Initiative Petitions to Expand Medicaid and Legalize Marijuana

Dakotans for Health this afternoon submitted a petition with over 23,000 signatures to place on the November ballot an initiated measure to expand Medicaid in South Dakota.

(I work for Dakotans for Health. I was in the room counting petition sheets. I can confirm that number.)

Dakotans for Health, press release, 2022.05.03.
Dakotans for Health, press release, 2022.05.03.

Secretary of State Steve Barnett and his team will riffle through the more than 1,600 sheets constituting this initiative petition and sample 711 signatures. If our raw count is right, and if Secretary Barnett finds 525 of those sampled signatures valid (roughly a 74% validity rate), he’l calculate that the petition has the 16,961 valid signatures necessary to qualify this initiative for a statewide vote in November.

But the Dakotans for Health petition won’t get counted right away; South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (which has sponsored this blog for the past few months—how do I fall in with these people?) got there just a bit earlier with their initiative petition to legalize marijuana in South Dakota. In a Facebook video from the Rotunda steps in Pierre, SDBML leader Matthew Schweich says their team submitted 19,250 validated signatures*, meaning they’ll need Secretary Barnett to find netter than 88% of their signatures valid to qualify.

*Update 17:13 CDT: Schweich contacts the blog to clarify that those six tubs of file folders contained far more than 19,250 signatures, perhaps somewhere in the mid-20Ks. 19,250 is the number of collected signatures that SDBML was able to validate amidst a rush of last-minute petition sheets. If the total signatures are 24,000, the marijuana petition could qualify for the November ballot with a validity rate of about 71%.

If both measures qualify, the marijuana measure will be Initiated Measure 27, and the Medicaid measure will be Initiated Measure 28. Those two measures would join Amendment D, the constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid, on the November ballot.

Worth noting: in 2015, the Secretary of State’s office was able to validate two referendum petitions of comparable size within 36 hours. However, I hear that some of the SOS staff is out training judges today, so Secretary Barnett won’t be able to tear into these two petitions at full strength today. The SOS also wasn’t running a statewide primary election during the swift 2015 petition validation. But with some elbow grease, the Secretary of State’s office could count, sample, and publish results in a week.

Also worth noting: today’s petition submissions wouldn’t have been possible if a certain blogger hadn’t gone to court against a certain inept Attorney General and convinced a judge that making citizens submit initiative petitions a full twelve months before the general election unconstitutionally burdens our freedom of speech. (Oh, yeah—maybe that’s how I fall in with these people.) Last August, Judge Charles Kornmann moved the initiative petition deadline from last November to May 3 (today! oh happy day!), giving Dakotans for Health, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, and tens of thousands of South Dakota voters six more months to say, “Hey! We want to have our say!” and put important policy measures on the 2022 ballot. The Eighth Circuit is still waiting to consider the state’s appeal of this victory for democracy, but with today’s submission, this lawsuit has already done South Dakotans some good. Thank you, voters, for putting those six months to good use!

19 Comments

  1. leslie 2022-05-03

    Well done service work, Cory

  2. larry kurtz 2022-05-03

    As we all know, democracy dies in Pierre but doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is why therapeutic cannabis is legal in sane states.

  3. Ryan 2022-05-03

    Awesome work for good causes by all involved, certainly including Cory. Thank you, sir.

  4. leslie 2022-05-03

    23,000 signatures for a shot at coverage for 42,000 citizens.

  5. grudznick 2022-05-03

    That fellow shot dead by the highway patrol was all toked up on the demon weed. This is a bad thing, it will drive many insaner than most.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-05-03

    It’s increasingly difficult to support an industry that’s destined to be run by Big Dope in a state where lobbyists like Jeremiah Murphy can defend catholic child exploitation at the same time.

  7. larry kurtz 2022-05-03

    Miranda Gohn might be the visionary South Dakota needed all along to warn voters how Republicans will usher Big Dope into my home state so tribal communities will be swept away once again.

  8. Curt 2022-05-03

    Stop. The circular firing squad is assembling yet again.
    Celebrate the opportunity for voters to decide, and start mobilizing voters to vote YES for FREEDOM and YES for people to have medical care.

  9. RST Tribal Member 2022-05-03

    Since recently those wanting the happy weed found many physical ouches to get a medical card to buy the cure. Then.

    The inept inbred Republicans recently had their focus shifted; nationally and locally. From now to November health care and health weed could become recreational and available. The stumble jumbled democrats just might pull one off this go around as a few more voters could come out to voice their opinion on weed and health. Or, just weed.

    The bridge over troubled waters rodeo clown queen governor is sensing the brass ring of wonder land in Washington DC might only be explored as a tourist as her handlers are unable to mention her quest for number 2 with 45 in 24, stinks just like the number 2s found in the many public places with porcelains thrones.

    Her, like many of her fellow inept inbred Republicans are full of number 2. Get close to the inept inbreds, take a deep breath through your nose, you can tell from the smell of what they are full of. Or, just listen to one of their rants.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-04

    Well, at least expanding Medicaid won’t kill anyone, right, Grudz?

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-04

    RST, I would certainly be glad to see these measures on Medicaid and marijuana draw more voters interested in practical policy to the polls and take a moment to apply their practical problem-solving to the candidates they see on the other side of their ballot. John Thune, Dusty Johnson, Kristi Noem, and most of the Republican legislators they see on the ballot have resisted the practical and cost-effective solutions offered by Medicaid expansion and marijuana decriminalization. Where voters see Democratic alternatives on the ballot (and those alternatives have presented themselves in far too few races this year), those Democrats are likely to be more supportive of those practical policies and other practical action to solve real kitchen-table problems for all South Dakotans. If ballot-measure voters put 2 and 2 together, they’ll realize that they should be for the Democrats they find on their ballot, not because “Democrat” is some magic and awesome label, but because Democrats in general are more interested in solving real problems than Republicans, who are all about branding, image, and keeping themselves powerful.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-04

    On weed and Murphy-lobbied corporate domination: where there’s money to be made, rich bastards will come to make it. In the South Dakota status quo, the rich bastards are drug dealers. In the post-legalization quo, the rich bastards are legally incorporated drug dealers paying taxes and following regulations and working for monopoly control of their market. In both scenarios, drug users get fleeced. In the latter scenario, drug users at least don’t end up in jail. I don’t offer this argument passionately, because, again, I don’t see value in the use of marijuana and don’t anticipate seeing much immediate change in my quality of life whether marijuana is legal or not. I simply ask whether the harms Larry sees coming from corporate, Republican-manipulated marijuana are really worse than the status quo of illegal marijuana trade.

  13. RST Tribal Member 2022-05-04

    In time those wanting the happy weed will have many physical ouches to get a medical card to buy the cure.

    The inept inbred Republicans recently had their focus shifted; nationally and locally. From now to November health care and health weed could become recreational and available. The stumble jumbled democrats just might pull one off this go around as a few more voters could come out to voice their opinion.

    The bridge over troubled waters rodeo clown queen governor is sensing the brass ring of wonder land in Washington DC will only be explored as a tourist as her handlers are unable to mention the quest for number 2 with 45 in 24, is just that, a number 2 in the many public places with porlesscary faces.

  14. Jake 2022-05-04

    Never ‘had a toke’- possibly never will. (Have NO real desire nor need to.) Never had an abortion, never will either. But, I believe fervently that those wanting or needing both should be entitled to by the laws of this country.!!. The alternative is to make these practices “against the law” but available to those who have the $$$ and means to obtain from the illegal markets-always available. Like booze during the prohibition era was.

  15. grudznick 2022-05-04

    Good for you, Mr. Jake, for not having toked. It is a brain rotting activity, and can even lead to getting shot by the cops when you go all berserk and stuff. As to the abortion business, I think you should be free to choose that if you wish, for you, your lady friend, or your daughter. You seem a more swell fellow than usual, so happy Star Trek May Day to you!

  16. M 2022-05-05

    Grudz, take a toke and chill. If people believe what they are doing is moral and should be legal, they will find the means to do it anyway. Weed, prostitution, abortion.

    My body, my right.

    Take Cory for example. He may not participate in those three activities however he fights for the rights of ALL of us. Wish we could clone him.

  17. P. Aitch 2022-05-05

    On the subject of pro-family entertainment options.
    “The family that plays together, stays together”.
    Forget Dave & Buster’s (so last century)
    Here’s the next big thing in entertainment; perfect for Sioux Falls.
    You’re welcome …..
    Boda Borg
    bodaborg.com
    Boda Borg is a chain of entertainment facilities located throughout Sweden, as well as in Ireland, Switzerland and the United States. Each location consists of multiple “quests,” which each contain a series of rooms. The patrons of the facility must use either mental or physical skills to proceed into the next room and eventually the end of the quest.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boda_Borg

  18. Nix 2022-05-05

    Someone needs to call Elon Musk and
    let him know that Cannabis is a brain rotting activity.
    His company doesn’t have a chance.
    Sell all of your Tesla stock.
    Wow, if we could arrange a meeting with Elon and the Dope Queen of Delusion
    I wonder who would have the most
    intellect.
    Elon would probably say “ I’ve never
    met a person that got smarter smoking
    a Trump blunt. “

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