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Minnehaha County Bans Petitions and Other Free-Speech Activity from Most Public Space Around Courthouse

New Minnehaha County auditor Leah Anderson is moving quickly to show that, for all of her Patriot Ripple posturing as a defender of voting rights is just a façade to hide her desire to insulate her party’s authoritarian rule from citizen participation. On Tuesday, Anderson proposed and the Minnehaha County Commission unanimously approved a new policy restricting petition activity at the Minnehaha County government complex in downtown Sioux Falls.

The Minnehaha County administration building and the court building, like courthouses around the state, is a popular spot for petition circulators collecting signatures for candidates and ballot questions. County buildings are among the few civic spaces remaining where we citizens can meet lots of our neighbors and have political conversations without being shooed away by the owners…since we are the owners. Petitioners usually stand just outside the entrances, but sometimes when the weather is bad, county officials have allowed circulators to conduct their political activity inside the building.

But in the name of “safety concerns” (really? When’s the last time you heard of any injury caused by a petition circulator?), Anderson has pushed a new policy deeming petition circulation “unnecessary disruption” and “inconvenience”, banning circulators from the vast majority of county property, and restricting circulators to two small and inconvenient rectangles away from the doors and closer to motor traffic:

Minnehaha County government complex—petitioning allowed in green zones only. Policy adopted by Minnehaha County Commission 2023.05.02; Google map annotated by CAH/DFP.
Minnehaha County government complex: petitioning allowed in green zones only. Policy adopted by Minnehaha County Commission 2023.05.02; Google map annotated by CAH/DFP.

This new restrictive policy pushes circulators and the people who stop to talk with them and sign petitions away from the shelter and shade of the buildings and closer to where cars may be zipping by, making political conversations harder to hear and more dangerous. The tiny zone on the west side moves circulators farther from the foot paths of many people headed toward the Admin building door, meaning circulators will have to shout more aggressively to get people’s attention, rather than being able to address everyone approaching the main door in a more normal, conversational tone, thus making it harder to catch sympathetic ears.

The new policy still allows petitioners to step inside in case of severe weather, but it forbids them from continuing to collect signatures or even talk to other citizens about any political issues unless they step back outside into the tempest.

Here’s anti-First Amendment auditor Leah Anderson’s memo recommending the policy from the May 2 agenda packet:

Auditor Leah Anderson, memo recommending new restrictions on political activity at Minnehaha County government complex, 2023.05.02.
Auditor Leah Anderson, memo recommending new restrictions on political activity at Minnehaha County government complex, Minnehaha County Commission agenda packet, 2023.05.02.

And here is the full text of the new policy clamping down on political activity at the county complex:

MINNEHAHA COUNTY LIMITED PUBLIC USE POLICY

Minnehaha County buildings exist to accommodate the business of county government, the courts, and the citizens of Minnehaha County. As such all buildings, adjacent grounds, sidewalks and parking facilities are nonpublic forums. While Minnehaha County appreciates those citizens who wish to take an active role in federal, state and local government decisions, county buildings must accommodate many people every day without any unnecessary delay or inconvenience.

In an effort to preserve public safety and provide citizens the opportunity to conduct their county business without unnecessary disruption or inconvenience while at the same time provide for locations from which individuals or groups (“Utilizers”) may circulate petitions, distribute information, and engage in other first amendment activities (“Political Activity”), the Minnehaha County Commission has approved the following “Limited Public Use Policy.”

Utilizers may only use specifically designated areas at select facilities on the Minnehaha County campus to conduct Political Activity. The select facilities are defined as the Minnehaha County Courthouse and the Minnehaha County Administration Building.

AREAS WHERE POLITICAL ACTIVITY IS PERMITTED

Minnehaha County Courthouse

Outside: Political Activity is allowed on the south sidewalk below the main entrance doors as specifically depicted on the attached color-coded map.

Minnehaha County Administration Building

Outside: Political Activity is allowed in the area described as that portion of the Administration Building parking lot located approximately twenty-five feet (25’) west of the main entrance doors as specifically depicted on the attached color- coded map.

Collectively these areas are hereinafter referred to as the “Designated Areas.”

CONDUCT DURING POLITICAL ACTIVITY

  1. Due to limited space and safety concerns within the Designated Areas, all Utilizers must check-in at the Minnehaha County Auditor’s office prior to conducting any Political Activity on the Minnehaha County campus to permit the placement of safety markers and to verify space availability within the Designated Areas.
  2. Utilizers using the Designated Areas must remain outside of county buildings and within the Designated Areas when conducting any Political Activity;
  3. Utilizers may approach individuals for the purpose of asking them to sign a petition provided the Utilizers are within the Designated Areas;
  4. Utilizers shall not, at any time, prevent access to county buildings or obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic within the parking area or as individuals enter or leave county buildings;
  5. Utilizers must conduct themselves in a polite, courteous and professional manner including, but not limited to, respecting an individuals’ right to decline to sign a petition;
  6. Utilizers must respect the rights of other individuals utilizing the Designated Areas including, but not limited to, petition circulators and other individuals engaged in Political Activity;
  7. Utilizers shall not follow any individual into any building or other area of the county campus where Political Activity is prohibited;
  8. Utilizers shall not leave any material unattended within the Designated Areas, including without limitation: petitions, signs, banners, pamphlets, tables, and chairs;
  9. Utilizers may seek refuge inside of the Administration Building in the event of severe weather provided that all Political Activity cease inside the Administration Building and such individuals do not impede those entering and leaving the building.

PLEASE NOTE: Pursuant to SDCL 12-18-3, all petition circulation and any other Political Activity must cease on the Minnehaha County campus during the period of absentee voting and on the day of the election as the County Administration Building is considered a polling place.

Note: Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Auditor’s Office (1st floor of the County Administration Building).

Note the part in line #1 about checking in. Essentially, the county is requiring citizens to register before engaging in political activity—not just petitioning, but any political discourse or, heavens forfend, protest. Such pre-registration hasn’t held up well in previous litigation.

This policy suggests that upon check-in, a county official will march out with the circulator to place safety cones on the allowed speaking space, as if to mark the circulator off like a toxic spill. And now that they’ve limited the space, the county appears to plan to restrict how many people can use that limited space. So one can envision that if Jon Hansen and his theocratic activists hurry to the courthouse each morning to ask for permission to hand out information opposing the abortion-rights initiative, then when initiative petitioners show up to circulate, auditor Anderson can tell the petitioners, “Sorry, our political activity zones are all full, so you can’t circulate petitions here today.”

South Dakota Republicans have been working for years to restrict petitioning and keep initiatives and referenda off the ballot. Now Minnehaha County’s Republican auditor has easily convinced the all-Republican Minnehaha County Commission to restrict petitioning on county property just as citizens are circulating petitions to put abortion rights on the 2024 ballot along with proposals for open primaries and a repeal of the food tax, all policies which the South Dakota Republican Party opposes. How convenient for Republicans, and how inconvenient for everyone else who’d like to have meaningful political conversations and votes on important issues.

51 Comments

  1. Nick Nemec 2023-05-05

    This sounds like a law suit waiting to happen.

  2. sx123 2023-05-05

    Having designated areas implies a size limit, so if the area can only hold 100 people, the rights of person 101 and over would be denied.

    I would think any area outside of fire zones would be fair game for petitioning or protesting.

    America just isn’t fun anymore.

  3. Bob Newland 2023-05-05

    It’s a lot easier to simply ban petition circulation or unapproved political speech on public property than it is to take legislative time to require larger fonts and stuff on the petition form itself.

    There might be a lawsuit, all right, and, so far, lawsuits have more or less worked for us, the people, but the courts are growing less tolerant of free speech every day.

  4. Donald Pay 2023-05-05

    Safety issues may apply around entrances if too many people congregate there, but in my experience petitioning around courthouses is not a problem that requires that sort of restriction. Some folks may view petitioning as an inconvenience, but in my experience far more people are happy to see someone engaged in democracy. It’s the South Dakota way—Under God the People Rule, after all. As a petition circulator in Pennington County, I used to open doors for people, help people pick up dropped items, direct them to the right office, help courthouse employees move equipment in and out, assist disabled people, and a host of other helpful tasks, as well as collect signatures. Look at it as a free concierge service.

    A trained circulator should not be a problem. The auditor would be in far better legal footing if she would look at her job as assisting the democratic process, rather than unconstitutionally obstructing citizen rights. She might take a moment to meet with circulators to find out how she could help them do their job better and in a way that both protects constitutional rights, but lessens problems or inconvenience. It seems she didn’t really want to address the issue in a way that values the state’s motto. It’s not too late for her to learn from her mistake, retract the unconstitutional measure and engage in a positive way with the public.

  5. Nix 2023-05-05

    I sent an email to the Minnehaha County Commission.
    This “ordinance “ is unenforceable.
    I have lived in Minnehaha County for over 50 years.
    There has never been any “safety” issues or congestion problems anywhere at the courthouse.
    I have signed many petitions there with no problems.
    Typical GOP crap, here is another big problem that doesn’t exist, but sure as heck needs fixing.

  6. WillyNilly 2023-05-05

    I look forward to signing petitions because it is one of the most basic ways that citizens can participate in government. I don’t always agree with the content of the petition but I’ll sign anyway so the voters can get their say. It’s especially important now when our voting rights are at risk.

  7. All Mammal 2023-05-05

    Scared bunch of Putin’s minions. UnAmerican skanks! This ticks me off and causes the ghosts of their fetishized forefathers to start plotting against their houses. Ha! They will have fun showing them what real inconvenience is. Hopefully some ticked off wanoogys get to curse on them too.
    Hey, Auditor and everyone else who hates Democracy: Leave. Go live in Russia where your kind rules the show. This land here was always for freedom. Ask your new Dakota wanoogy.

  8. Mark Anderson 2023-05-05

    Gosh, you can sign in the shade by the Venice courthouse. Leah, you are really a cowardly runt.

  9. Eve Fisher 2023-05-05

    When they start putting up walls – metaphorical or physical – around government buildings to keep the public out, you know that there’s a whole lot of thieving going on.

  10. Mike Zitterich 2023-05-05

    Technically, you should be going door to door, meeting with people to circulate petitions anyways, not standing in front of a public building where it is easy to get the most liberal voters imaginable. We also need a law in place that forces petition gathers who conduct statewide petitions to seek at least an apportioned amount of signatures in at least 60% of all Counties (or precincts). That shows that a huge majority support your initiative, and not so much just a small large populous of Sioux Falls.

    Anytime I conduct petitions i am going door to door, holding town halls, informational forums, etc.

  11. Donald Pay 2023-05-05

    It’s policy, not law. If I lived in the area, I’d ignore it, and petition as usual. If they tried to arrest me, I’d make sure to have someone tape the incident. Then I’d take it to court. This policy is unconstitutional.

  12. Donald Pay 2023-05-05

    Mike Z., “Technically?” Technically, you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    There is no requirement to collect signatures door to door. I’ve collected signatures door to door and outside public buildings. People do what they feel most comfortable doing. I always felt that collecting signatures in public, rather than bothering people at home, was showing respect for their privacy and family life. But if you don’t mind butting into people’s privacy, have at it.

    Further, people aren’t at home in the mornings and afternoons, but most people do get around to public buildings from time to time. For people who can only spend a few hours in the morning or afternoon, collecting signatures at a public building is much more productive.

    Your idea for a law to “force” a certain percentage (you say from 60 percent of counties) has been floated for 40+ years by wealthy special interest groups who want to kill the initiative and referendum. First, people from outside the larger cities go to sports, entertainment and other events at public spaces in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, Mitchell, Huron, etc.. They go to the State Fair, the Farm Show, the Black Hills Stock Show, county fairs and other places in smaller cities. If you don’t want people coming to events in Sioux Falls, why does the city advertise for them and why do you have all these public buildings, spaces and events?

    Here’s a clue: you ain’t special, so don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back. Others hold townhalls, etc, to gather signatures. Gathering signatures at courthouses is a good place to do this in the mornings and afternoons.

    Collecting signatures on initiative or referendum petitions has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative ideologies.

  13. Jeff Barth 2023-05-05

    It seems that knocking on a door can get you shot dead these days.

  14. Frank Kloucek 2023-05-06

    Truly a sad day for Minnehaha County Commissioners to take away our right to petition on public grounds. Who knows: Next they might refuse to stand up for affected Minnehaha landowners who are taxpayers and who have CO 2 pipelines planned for their property or worse yet the commission will go wild over TIFs Tax Increment financing. OOPs they already did they did both of those things. Boy do I miss down to earth Democrat Jeff Barth.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-05-06

    The tiny green zone outside the courthouse is particularly problematic. That green zone is on the public sidewalk, which is generally recognized as a public forum. The county cannot set cones on the public sidewalk and say you can engage in First Amendment activities between these cones but not outside them. We can walk anywhere on that sidewalk around the entire county government complex and collect all the signatures, wave all the protest signs, and shout all the slogans we want, and Auditor Anderson can’t do anything about it.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-05-06

    Mike, as Jeff notes, wingnuts like you are shooting people who arrive unannounced at their doors. Public spaces like the courthouse and admin building are public forums that have been used since before this nation was founded for citizens to gather and discuss important public matters.

    I’m all for door-to-door campaigning. But one could argue that it is more appropriate and less personally invasive to approach people out in public, during business hours, and within sight of a public safety building to discuss public issues than it is to enter private property and bug people when they are home in the evening and on the weekends. There are plenty of people who don’t want anyone knocking on their doors, as signified by all those “No Soliciting” signs. Why not respect those people by only speaking to them when they are out and about in the city, where our encroachment on their time consists of nothing more than one sentence spoken in the open air—”Would you like to sign a petition?” When we encounter a petition refusenik on the sidewalk outside the courthouse, we only waste a couple seconds of their time. Actually, we don’t waste any of their time. They keep walking as they decline, unimpeded in their determined stride toward the courtroom or the register of deeds, and we petitioners instantly happily turn our attention to the next passerby. That seems much more polite and efficient for all parties concerned than my tromping up their front step (wearing down their nice brick patio a little more), ringing their doorbell, rousing the dog into a barking fit, prompting the homeowner to get up from dinner or Archie Bunker, grab his gun, and go to the front door to see if he gets to use his ammo or just fling some Trumpy epithet, leaving us both crankier.

    I know that Mike would rather I never engage him with a call for political reform, on the street or at his house. But if I do it on the street, at the courthouse, in a public space, I actually respect his time and privacy more than if I knock on his door.

    And Mike, I’m not sure why you use the word “technically” to open you comment. Donald critiques your sloppy language well. I’ll only add that if we’re talking the “technical” details of petition gathering, then technically, you should use your petition time as efficiently as possible. Door to door is fun and engaging, but in the time it takes me to walk both sides of a block, knock on 12 doors, find maybe 3 people at home and willing to answer, and get one of them to listen to my pitch and sign my petition, I can easily encounter 20 passersby at the courthouse or another public space during business hours, make my pitch to each of them, and get 6 or 7 to sign. Every technician of petition drives will tell petitioners to plant themselves at the courthouse to maximize opportunities to engage, educate, and mobilize the public they serve.

  17. Richard Schriever 2023-05-06

    Donald, “…..meet(ing) with circulators to find out how she could help them do their job better…..” Would be the way an good manager engages with their task. But it also implies a sort of “bottom-up” driven, inclusive, progressive, innovative, adaptable organizational culture. Such things do not fit with “conservative”, personality-focused authoritarianism. The boss is the boss. Others are subjects. All hail the monarch with the “God-given” right and wisdom to rule. BTW – it is also genetically inherent and transferable authority. Thus sayeth the Lord(lady).

  18. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-06

    Look, I get it, some of you wish to have the easiest pathway to petition the voters to get your initiatives, resolutions, and proposed constitutional amendments on a future ballot. However, the “wheels of government” are meant for, and designed to move slowly as to not step on the toes of the majority of the population. This is why NO LAW can go into effect if at least one State Citizen stands up, and disputes, argues, and challenges such law prior to June 30th, of which July 1st is the effective date of all newly adopted laws by either the voters of whom cast votes in November, or by the Legislature of which meets between January 15 and March 15 of each year.

    Our job as “Sovereign People”, as American Citizens of the “State Republic” is to congregate, form committees, and hold town forums through out the year to discuss, form, and adopt future resolutions, initiatives, and constitutional amendments to either lobby the legislature, let alone petition the voters to adopt into codified law.

    “WE” do this by going door to door, county by county, precinct by precinct, so it is our job as concerned citizens to form, and organize a coalition of Americans within our “State Republic” to reach out to as many of the citizens of the state as possible.

    A “republic” is a form of Government or Process in which a state is ruled by the people, and their representatives of the
    citizen body. Modern republics are founded on the idea that sovereignty rests with the people, though who is
    included and excluded from the category of the people has varied across history…

    The “Free Republic of South Dakota was established in 1889, as a group of people came here between the years 1850 to 1870 to form a colony of people of which to self govern themselves under the rights given to us by our founding fathers, by means of the Declaration.

    South Dakota is a “State of People” of which All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting property and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, of whom believe the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed. No person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or position on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse licentiousness, the invasion of the rights of others, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state, and of which no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union, or labor organization.

    “Our Ancestors” of whom began establishing the Free Republic of South Dakota back as early as 1850, began putting in place, a governing process of which to organize the people in small groups of colonies, called Precincts – and by means of those precincts ‘we’ nominate, and elect a Precinct Committee Man or Woman to represent us in holding public meetings, commissions, and conventions to discuss future resolutions, initiatives, constitutional amendments, let alone our “At-Large Statewide Representatives” such as our Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Auditor, and our Land Commissioner or Public Utilities Commissioner, the same process was put into place to nominate our choice for U.S President of the United States to discuss who we support as a “free republic”.

    Therefore, it is grounded very much, in our form of a “representative political process” to go out, and seek active citizens of the State, to form committees, to hold town hall forums, meet with the people, and to go door to door to discuss public affairs of the “State”.

    Cory, made the claim that so called people like me, he referred to me as a “Extremist Right Winger” of whom would not think twice about shooting someone if they showed up at my front door. That is a very unfair, and ignorant, and slanderous comment to say the least. “People” like me are not going around, running up and down streets threatening to shoot people, let alone argue with people over disputes, disagreements, let alone differences of opinion. Patriots like myself, are attempting to help educate, inform, and speak to as many citizens as possible, to help create a more positive political environment within our “Free Republic” today.

    I utilize my foundation of morals, values, spiritual beliefs, let alone principles given to be by my ancestors, my grand-parents, my parents, in order to in a positive manner, meet with as many people as I can, and I announce to many people daily, that I am openly willing to meet with them at my home, my place of business, let alone anywhere within the city any day of the week, so long as ‘we’ plan for a future date.

    As a Precinct Committee Person, myself, I have done everything possible to reach out to as many people within precinct 5-22 to help them understand what is going on throughout the state, the county, the city, let alone our precinct.

    I created my own website, a brain child of my early belief to help educate, inform, and teach the Residents of Sioux Falls of its history, its people, our politics, let alone telling our ‘story’ to as many people as I can reach out to. Sioux Falls Community Chronicle first began as a Facebook forum, of which this past year, I expanded it to become a website, helping to reach out to as many people as possible. My goal, was to help promote the City of Sioux Falls, let alone the State of South Dakota to the rest of the country, and any of you are free to provide me opinions, and comments related to any of the stories, and news pieces on my site.

    Therefore, when it comes to petitioning the voters, it all starts with providing to the people a strong sense of education, researched data, information, and by going door to door, meeting in ‘neighborhood meetings” to holding town halls congregating with other precincts, with the ultimate goal to adopt resolutions, initiatives, constitutional amendments, let alone discussing who we favor for At-Large Representatives, agreeing to sign “Petitions” gathering enough signatures from each of the 689 Precincts as much as possible to get our concepts on a ballot.

    You may not like what I say, or believe, however, I am not the one calling you out for your thoughts and opinions. I am also not attacking anyone, nor calling them names, nor slandering their persons. In a respectful decorum, ‘we’ can discuss things out in public.

    When you can present to the majority of Citizens of the State that you have the rightful support of ‘citizens” let alone the voters in no less than 60% of all Counties and, or Precincts, it presents to the majority of State Citizens that a majority of our population supports our concept(s).

    Sincerely,
    Mike Zitterich
    Minnehaha County
    Precinct 5-22
    http://www.siouxfallscommunitychronicle.com

    Peace.

  19. grudznick 2023-05-06

    Mr. Zitterich, you had a perfectly fine blogging of a reasonable length talking about going door to door. You even got Mr. H’s goat just a little bit, causing him to blog back with a longer response. Then you responded with the above perversity, showing you are insaner than most. grudznick’s interest is lost the instant I see the length of your tome. Tighten it up.

  20. P. Aitch 2023-05-06

    Mr. Zitterich. Presenting personal opinions as fact without proper references or evidence from credible sources is not a valid way of sharing information. It is important to substantiate your claims with evidence and references. You are spreading misinformation and risking public confusion. It’s illegitimate of you not to verify information before presenting it as truth.

  21. Donald Pay 2023-05-06

    Mike Z says, “This is why NO LAW can go into effect if at least one State Citizen stands up, and disputes, argues, and challenges such law prior to June 30th, of which July 1st is the effective date of all newly adopted laws by either the voters of whom cast votes in November, or by the Legislature of which meets between January 15 and March 15 of each year.” Wrong in a number of ways. Laws passed with an emergency clause may go into effect immediately after the Governor signs them. It takes 5% of the qualified voters signing referendum petitions to suspend temporarily the effective date of laws that don’t have emergency clauses. Of course, anyone with standing may challenge any law in court.

    I actually do believe in the grassroots organizing that you seem to suggest. Certainly we used similar ways to organize our activities on the nuclear waste and surface mining issues in the 1980s and 1990s. The uranium mining fight in the late 70’s and early 80’s also was a grassroots organizing effort. Certainly the United Family Farmers efforts to defeat the Oahe Irrigation Project in the 1970s was the cornerstone of modern grassroots organizing. Just about every citizen-led effort for change in South Dakota (and elsewhere) incorporates good grassroots organization. Of course, times change, technology advances, and so does the way that people “congregate,” to borrow your word. It is not up to you, one person, or even some legislative body like the SD Legislature, to dictate how “We, the people…” organize ourselves. You yourself admit to using a website. Certainly education on issues, good research and neighbor-to-neighbor advocacy is great, but so is meeting people in the public square. There are lots of ways to connect with citizens.

  22. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-06

    Mr. Z sprouts all kinds and matters of Federalist Society nonsense. His tome is fundamentally anti-democracy and bent toward an aristocracy of the Right Wing.

  23. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-06

    Donald,
    Now now, I was not referring to Emergency Acts noe was I…if I did. I would have explained the procedure if how to enact them now would I not…emergency acts are a entirely different breed l. Cause the people have codified specific reasons for adopting an emergency act, abd they are very well accepted for very specific uses. None if what i said is wrong.

    I don’t need to provide links or proof when I know I am correct in what I say, it’s up to YOU to disprove of wha I say. .thats how this all works.

    I am a Anti Federalist. I am NOT a supporter of federalism. I am a State Right guy.

    Everything I said can easily be verified if YOU do research yourself.

  24. bearcreekbat 2023-05-06

    It appears that Donald is correct, I could find no statute nor other authority to support Mr. Zitterich’s claim that “NO LAW can go into effect if at least one State Citizen stands up, and disputes, argues, and challenges such law prior to June 30th.” Thus, that claim appears to be false.

    And as Donald acknowledged, a single State Citizen with standing can certainly seek an injunction in Court to prevent a newly passed law from going into effect, but whether the grant such an injunction lies within the discretion of the Court, after weighing several required factors, – there is no mandatory injunction statute that I could find. Unless Mr. Zitterrich can identify some statute or other basis to support his claim that I overlooked (this could happen), what Mr. Zitterrich said is indeed “wrong,” and what Donald said is a more accurate statement of current SD law.

  25. All Mammal 2023-05-06

    Gentlemen- Will you please give me an example of what you mean by a ‘citizen with standing’?

  26. grudznick 2023-05-06

    Ms. Mammal asks a great question. Does grudznick have standing? If grudznick were to escort Ms. Mammal to dinner in a fine establishment, would we have standing? Does my good friend Bob have standing, despite his known perversions? Does a young mother, with three squawking kids, peeing and pooping all over because she doesn’t have the cash for a package of Pampters(tm) or Huggers(tm) have standing?

    Ms. Mammal asks a great question.

  27. grudznick 2023-05-06

    It seems evident Mr. Zitterich won’t be selling very many cars to the fellows in the blogging world, or the ladies who like to drive cars themselves.

  28. Egbert Sousé 2023-05-06

    I was terribly sad to see that the Minnehaha County Commission went along with this without even questioning the move. I have always been impressed with our commission, but this really disappointed me. The two previous auditors never mentioned this as a problem, but commissioners felt it was necessary to blindly accept the word of a person who had been on the job less than a month. And this just shows you the stupidity of some people. The “voting irregularity” group, which Leah Anderson is a part of, can never get on the county agenda or get any other governing body to take them seriously. Should they ever want to go directly to the voters to get them to weigh in, they will now have to go out into the county parking lot to do so. One of those people has been a major voice against carbon dioxide pipelines in Minnehaha County. If he and other like minded people ever wanted to get state voters involved to stop what they are against, they will also have to go out into the parking lot to do so. This was extremely short-sighted. I don’t expect any foresight from the Auditor, but I did from the county commissioners.

  29. Mike Zitterich 2023-05-06

    Bearacrat,
    Perhaps you should do more research, and study then, cause anyone who knows how to read the constitution, would know that ‘we’ do not rule the “State” based on the consent of the voters nor the legislators. “We” rule the state based on the “CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED” and those three words are not to be taken lightly. Article 6, Section 1 says it all, and the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the “State” itself. Meaning, that any laws adopted by the voters and/or the Legislature cannot go into effect if at least one citizen (person) challenges in court, petitions the voters, let alone lobbies the legislature to challenge said law, the law cannot go into effect until after the challenge is heard. Since ALL LAWS would govern ALL THE PEOPLE, all the citizens of the state have the right to NOT CONSENT. and you have 3 means of doing so:

    1) petition the voters to refer the matter back to the voters for a 2nd Confirmed Vote;

    2) lobby the Legislature to place the matter on the agenda of the legislature between January 15 to March 15; or

    3) challenge the matter in the circuit court requesting the court to provide an assessment, opinion, and plan forward.

    Where the voters vote on such measures in November, and the Legislature meets from January to March, the “period” between December 1st to June 30th becomes the Judicial Review Period of which CITIZENS can challenge all laws recently adopted.

    IF no citizen makes such challenge, the LAW goes into full effect on July 1st, meaning the People passively (remained silent) on such public matter.

    Since LAW gives the government authority to do something, it cannot do so without the FULL CONSENT OF ALL CITIZENS.

    These small words are what blocks DEMOCRATS from passing many of their most liberal and progressive concepts, and these 3 words are helped the people in 38 counties over turn AMENDMENT A in 2020

    Sincerely, with Pride,
    Mike Zitterich
    http://www.siouxfallscommunitychronicle.com

  30. bearcreekbat 2023-05-07

    Mr. Zitterich, first I am surprised that you have decided to resort to name calling (viz “Bearacrat”), especially after previously writing: “You may not like what I say, or believe, however, . . . . I am also not . . . calling [anyone] names, . . .”

    Regardless, your interpretation of Article 6, section 1 of the Constitution is inconsistent with current law. It appears to be something you either made up, i.e. “cut out of whole cloth,” or perhaps read from a mis-informed source. You reference the supremacy clause, which reads:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    That clause is not particularly complicated:

    The second clause, the so-called “Supremacy Clause,” is perhaps the most significant of this article. It’s meaning is simple: where the Constitution or valid federal laws conflict with state constitutions or state laws, the Constitution and the federal laws win. They preempt. They are ‘supreme.’

    https://constitutionallawreporter.com/article-06/#:~:text=Text%20of%20Article%206%2C%20Section,Constitution%2C%20as%20under%20the%20Confederation.

    Your mistake is in suggesting that “NO LAW can go into effect if at least one State Citizen stands up, and disputes, argues, and challenges such law prior to June 30th.” Anyone can try to challenge a state law by claiming it is inconsistent with the US Constitution or US laws, but that alone is never enough to prevent that law from going into effect. Just because someone claims a new law violates the supremacy clause doesn’t make it so. Under current US law it ios up to the courts to decide whether such a claim is valid or invalid. As both Donald and I have previously explained, only a court can stop a law from going into effect by issingin an injunction, and the decision whether to stop that law is within a the judge’s discretion, meaning that a mere State Citizen has no power under the Supremacy Clause to force the Judge to issue an injunction and stop the new or existing law from going into effect. In the case of Amendment A, there was no claim that it violated the Article 6, section 1 of the US Constitution, rather the argument was that Amendment A conflicted with another pre-existing section of the South Dakota Constitution, namely, the single subject clause. And even in that case it was the judiciary that stopped Amendment A from going into effect by issuing an injunction, but that judiciary had the full power to deny the request for the injunction.

    Mr. Zitterich is certainly welcome to his opinion, but it is only an opinion and that opinion is inconsistent with present day reality. Here is a scholarly legal article that might help curious reader understand more about how, why, and how often courts issue the type of injunction under discussion:

    https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1431&context=wlulr

    All Mammel, “standing” is a term courts use to identify someone that has an justiciable interest in obtaining a court judgment. It simply means that the person stands to gain or lose something based on the court decision. “In simple terms, courts use “standing” to ask, “Does this party have a ‘dog in this fight?”

    https://adfmedialegalfiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/WhatIsStanding.pdf

    So for example, if I own no horses, make no bets on races, and never attend a horse race or have anything to do with horse racing, I would not have legal standing (i.e. a dog in the fight) to seek a judgment from a court challenging the manner in which the Kentucky Derby is run. No court decision on such claims would affect me in any way, so the normal rule would be that under those circumstances I could not sue to challenge how the Kentucky Derby is run.

  31. John 2023-05-07

    Elect bullies. Receive bullying. Who thunk?

  32. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-07

    First off, no where in my above posts did I call anyone any name, nor insult them, Bearakat made that up.

    Second off, Bearkat seemingly spoke out of contest, since we are NOT speaking of the Federal Government, nor the U.S Constitution. “WE” are speaking the State Constitution, the Laws adopted by the Citizens of the State, and how laws adopted by the people of the State go into effect.

    Thirdly, the South Dakota Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the State’ adopted by the Citizens of the “State” in order to pubically govern the affairs, the activity, and serve the people of the State, and is, and above all, our master plan.

    The Preamble says, and I quote, “We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties, in order to form a more perfect and independent government, establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the state of South Dakota.”

    Under Article 6, Section 1, perhaps the most important Bill of Right “WE” have, as it gives to the people themselves, the full authority over the “government” says and quotes, “All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting property and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Consent of the Governed is key, to how “WE” govern over the the State, let alone adopt the laws we so choose to adopt, whether directly by the voters, or indirectly, by means of the Legislature – NO LAW can go into full effect if at least 1 “Citizen” of the State does not consent, meaning, where they dispute, file a grievance, lobby, or petition, the law must be placed on hold until a final decision is made…

    According to a research paper by Rutgers University, one of the more, most respected universities in the nation:

    “Consent of the governed” refers to the idea that a government’s legitimacy and moral right to
    use state power is justified and lawful only when consented, or agreed to, by the people over
    which that political power is exercised. Consent is fundamental to social contract accounts of
    political legitimacy, arising as early as Plato’s Crito but most prominently in the 17th-century
    writings of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.”

    They go on to say, “Locke believed that in a state of nature, no one would have the right to govern (rule over) you,
    and you would not have the right to govern anyone else. According to Locke, the only way the
    people get the right to govern anyone else is when the people give their consent
    (approval/permission). People have political obligations, and that political obligation depends
    on freely chosen, deliberate acts of individual consent. Locke presents consent as a deliberate
    act that constitutes an undertaking of obligation, and he requires political consent because (a)
    every person is a free, equal, and sovereign individual and (b) a free, equal, and sovereign
    individual cannot be subject to non-natural obligations.”

    The South Dakota Constitution goes on to say, under Article 6, Section 18, No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens or corporation, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens or corporations.”

    Therefore, ALL CITIZENS of the State, of whom placed themselves, domiciled themselves under the “State” by placing them within the political sub-division of the State by means of S.D.C.L 1-1-1 – are to be treated, to be governed, and to equally protected under the law.

    Therefore, ALL CITIZENS of which have submitted themselves to the “State” political sub-division, placing their person, property, agreeing to pay the ‘taxes’ of the state, has legal standing under the “State”.

    How do citizens born in the State of South Dakota implicitly give their political consent to be governed by the government of the State itself?

    a) By using the services offered by the government;
    b) By adhering to the rules and laws, such as paying taxes; and
    c) By participating in political discussions and actions (voting, writing letters to the
    government, meeting with elected officials).

    Since the underlying principles of a Free Republic, as put in place upon the foundation of America is to protect each Citizen, Class of People from the Majority, meaning that ‘we’ rule the State based on LAW, not the majority, ALL CITIZENS of the State have the same equal right, or equal station to challenge, petition, refer, dispute, file a grievance with any such law, recently adopted, let alone change existing laws.

    Under the Judicial Review Period, or the period after of which a LAW has been adopted, the PEOPLE have the right to file a grievance, petition the voters, lobby the legislature, petition the circuit court, to request a second confirmed opinion prior to the Effective Date.

    Since, the Voters go to the polls in November, every two years, the people now have until June 30th to file motions to repeal, strike down, refer, gain an opinion of the court itself, let alone lobby the legislature to request the legislature to remedy the situation during the Legislative Session (January 15 to March 15), while further, ‘we’ further disagree, or do not like the decisions made, we have until June 30th to continue to defeat the recently adopted law.

    July 1st is the Effective Date of which ALL LAWS recently adopted go into full effect, and if no citizen stands up, then they passively, meaning to remain silent, consents to be governed as such, under the law recently adopted.

    When the voters seemingly adopted Amendment A (marijuana) in 2020, the PEOPLE of the Counties (or precincts) had the right to file grievances, petition the courts, the voters, let alone the legislature to repeal, strike down the amendment, which in fact did happen. ALL prior to June 30th, however, the matter continued to be appealed in the State Supreme Court, which dragged out the matter beyond July 1st. Ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts, that Amendment A was written in a confusing manner, let alone unconstitutional manner. IF it was not for select persons in a few counties, the amendment would have gone into full effect on July 1, 2021.

    Then of course, the reassurance that the People of South Dakota do not approve of Recreational Marijuana being legal, was again, confirmed in 2022, when more than 60% of the 398,000 voters voted to NOT legalize Recreational Marijuana. And because NO citizen came forward to question the result prior to July 1, 2023, well…the 2022 vote by the people stood up.

    The Consent of the Governed is a very Powerful Tool in a “Free Republic” of 887,000 Free Persons.

  33. bearcreekbat 2023-05-07

    When Mr. Zitterrich’s uses the name “Bearacrat or Bearkat,” rather than using the name that I post under, this sure seems like name-calling to me, but if that was not Mr. Zitterrich’s intent, then I don’t know why he would use such terms instead of using my posted name.

    I will point out that Cory’s story is referencing the federal Constitution. He addresses a rule by the Minnehaha County auditor banning “petitions and other free speech activity” in certain public places. Unless I have misread Cory’s theory, he makes the excellent point that such a ban is inconsistent with the 1st Amendment, referencing the federal Bill of Rights. Thus, I have been focused on the topic of the federal Constitution, ratrher than the State Constitution.

    I did misunderstand, however, the reference in Mr. Zitterich’s 2023-05-07 09:58 comment to “Article 6, section 1” and his use of the phrase “Supreme Law” to describe his peculiar legal theory. “Article 6, section 1” of the U.S. Constitution contains the supremacy clause, which declares federal law to be the “supreme law” of the land and I mistakenly concluded that was what Mr. Zitterich was referring to. “Article 6, section 1” of the SD Constitution, however, does not contain that phrase, but does contain the exact language that Mr. Zitterrich directly quoted regarding consent of the governed, so Mr. Zitterich is correct, that was clearly was a mistake on my part. My apologize to DFP readers and Mr. Zitterich.

    As for Mr. Zitterich’s legal theory based on Article 6, section 1 of the State Constitution, however, I have found no evidence or case law that the S.D. Supreme Court, or any other court, has ever construed Article 6, section 1 in a manner that offers even minimal objective legal or factual support for Mr. Zitterich’s assertion that “NO LAW can go into effect if at least one State Citizen stands up, and disputes, argues, and challenges such law prior to June 30th.” Thus, in my view Donald’s point remains factually correct and Mr. Zitterich’s contrary opinion remains without either historical factual support, and is not based on a rational legal analysis of the language in Article 6, section 1 of the State Constitution. In my view, such an assertion or legal theory is so divorced from reality that, if presented to a court of law in South Dakota, it would in all liklihood be deemed “frivolous” by the court, and any lawyer making such a claim would be subject to sanctions by the court and the State Bar..

  34. Mike Zitterich 2023-05-07

    Then you tell me Mr. Bear, then what is the purpose of the Judicial Review Process since you know so much…it’s sole purpose is used exactly as I have said all along. At least 1 Citizen of the State can utilize the process to defeat any adopted law.

  35. bearcreekbat 2023-05-08

    Mr Zitterich, your comment suggests that you already have decided for yourself what the purpose of judicial review is, so I take your question is not asked in good faith. If I am incorrect and you actually are interested in what legal experts say, however, you could start by looking at:

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/judicial_review

  36. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-08

    Article 2, Section 22 – No act shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it passed, unless in case of emergency, (to be expressed in the preamble or body of the act) the Legislature shall by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected of each house, otherwise direct.

    –> Just stated under Article 6, Section 1 – NO ACT can go into effect until ALL CITIZENS CONSENT to be governed as such.

    Whether the voters adopt a law in November, of which they have until June 30th to challenge all such adopted laws, they can do so in three ways:

    a) Petition the Voters to place the LAW back on a public ballot for a 2nd Confirmed Vote;

    b) Lobby the S.D Legislature to place the LAW on the Legislatuve Agenda to strike down, or amend between January 15 and March 15;

    c) Petition the Circuit Court utlizing Judicial Review to gain an Assessment, Opinion, and Recommendation from the Court(s).

    ALL SUCH Challenges must be made prior to June 30th, otherwise, ALL LAWS go into full effect on July 1st.

    ALL CITIZENS MUST CONSENT – Again, all it takes is at least 1 CITIZEN to make such a challenge to strike down a law, change a law, or over turn the law.

  37. grudznick 2023-05-08

    Huh. Maybe you have something there, Mr. Zitterich. And no law bills will ever go into effect ever again, because while there’s always couple of Messrs. Nelson and Russell in the legislatures who vote “no”, you just know there will always be “1 CITIZEN” out there in the fringe who will object.

    How come this hasn’t been applied before? Did you just discover this ability to block any law bills all by yourself?

  38. P. Aitch 2023-05-08

    The legislature has the power of implied consent to verify any new law for the citizens as a group.

  39. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-05-08

    Yeah, Mike has something, all right: a classic case of poor reading comprehension compounded by the MAGA delusion that makes Trumpists think the law is whatever they say it is and not what is written.

    But rather than laboring to point out to Mike what the law actually says versus the fantasy he concocts, let me ask a question relevant to the topic: if all citizens must consent to a law, since I’ve just expressed the fact that I do not consent to the Minnehaha County Commission’s unjust restrictions of core political speech, is the county’s new restricted public use policy on hold?

  40. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-08

    I do my due diligence, I speak with tons of people, and I do a lot of reading of laws to understand them, and how they work. 1) you really have to understand the governing process of which “we” set up our republic, and 2) you have to understand the concept of which we created South Dakota as a Free Republic…

    The process has always been there from day one, and yes it does get utilized more than you think it does – it was used in order to defeat Amendment A in 2020, and it was used prior that to defeat and bring down both I.M 22 and Amendment W before that.

    For a Citizen to go through the process of defeating a recent adopted law, it takes patience, and time, and the fact that it requires so much energy, makes it a very difficult process to succeed. Remember, you have to have your ducks in a row all before the end of June, cause the very first day of July – the law(s) go into effect.

    I was preparing to go to battle for the Precinct People IF S.B 40 had succeeded, and made it out of the legislature. Remember, this bill, if enacted into law, would have removed the Precinct and County People from choosing At-Large Reps in Conventions, placing them on the Primary Ballot to be voted by the voters….I was running rampant to get as many counties lined up to defeat the bill prior June 2023.

    Why does it NOT get utilized more often? Well…most people really have no sense of CIVICS today, and they have removed civics from Junior High and Highschool, so not to many people today, understand the process of which we can use to CONSENT or NOT CONSENT.

    The State, the Counties, the Cities all throughout the “State” all utilize the same process, cause it is dictated by the State Constitution.

    The CITY OF SIOUX FALLS cannot enact their Ordinances within the first 30 days, and “WE” as residents of Sioux Falls have up to 20 days to petition, let alone lobby the City Council to re-address the ordinance to defeat it.

    Remember, statewide – in order to get a “REFERRED LAW” on the ballot prior July 1st, you have to reach out and get a very specific # of signatures on a petition, and you only have, well 90 days once the Legislature closes it’s session…a lot of work, and you really need to get al file the petition with the “Secretary State” no later than June 10th – in order to give the State time to promulgate rules, a date, time, and place to hold a special election, all before the end of June 30th…

    THe same for the City of SIoux Falls – we have to get all the signatures and file the petition before 20 days after the ordinance was adopted, giving the City Clerk time to establish Time, Place, and Date of a Special Election to allow the voters to vote yes or no within the 30 days.

    The main reason it is not utilized more often – TIME and ENERGY

    That is why, it’s easier to lobby the legislature, let alone petition the court to take up your case for or against specific legislation.

    As for the FEDERAL ENACTMENT OF LAWS – NO recent adopted Congressional Bill can go into effect within the first 90 days also. The PEOPLE of the States must also fully consent to them as well, and the easiest way to challenge any Federal Law is to convince yoru “STATE” (Governor, Attorney General, or Legislature) to bring forth a Legal Challenge in the Federal Court System, let alone the Supreme Court, and this does in fact occur quite often, and South Dakota has more than 100 lawsuits v the Federal Govt on many laws. The more, “States” within the Coalition, the greater the case you will have. This is why you see Kristi Noem creating so many coalitions every year.

  41. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-08

    Mr. Zitterich is “anti-federalist” and a “State’s Rights” proponent in the same manner as were John C. Calhoun, Robert Toombs, and Jefferson Davis. South Dakota is no more a Republic than South Carolina, Georgia or Mississippi were in 1861.

  42. P. Aitch 2023-05-08

    Once again. Zitterich is a big ball of personal opinions attempting to “Professor Harold Hill” poorly educated MAGA’s into believing his opinionated assertions which he presents with zero references and zero agreement from legitimate experts.
    In short, it’s just long winded hooey.

  43. grudznick 2023-05-08

    Mr. Zitterich.

    Shorter, please. People won’t read your tomes.

  44. grudznick 2023-05-08

    Mr. Zitterich, let gridznick try again in a method that may be more understandable to you.

    Please, be more CONCISE and SHORTER in your bloggings. PEOPLE may actually read them.

  45. Donald Pay 2023-05-08

    Well, yes, Mike Z. is correct that an ordinance can be referred, and the ordinance must be printed, after which it goes into effect after a certain amount of time. But for some reason this is called a “policy,” not an ordinance. I’m not sure it has any force of law at any point in time. It’s a statement of some sort, but what’s the enforcement mechanism? Will there be some sort of Barney Fife out there waving around a pistoli? I can see how they can enforce SDCL 12-18-3 around elections, but I can see any way to really enforce this.

  46. grudznick 2023-05-08

    Mr. Pay and grudznick have much in common.

    The Fife-like fellows are the demons of your libbie nightmares, Mr. Pay. You don’t want Fife-like fellows running around, you want a squad of grudznick-like fellows, reasonable, with no billies, talking calmly to the assembled masses.

  47. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-05-09

    Leah Anderson and the Minnehaha County Commission are attempting to stifle the efforts of citizens to exercise exactly the power Zitterich says he wants them to exercise to express their disagreement with laws and put them to a public vote. Ziiterich must agree that Leah Anderson and the commission are acting against the rights of the people and supporting tyranny. If Zitterich wants his principles to be put into practice, he must oppose the county’s free-speech restrictions and demand the restoration of the people’s right to use public space to petition their government.

  48. Mike Lee Zitterich 2023-05-09

    No one, not even the county commission is denying anyone, nor any citizen of any free speech, nor restricting petitions. The total basis of this article is a lie. This is simply adopting administrative policy in the ‘States’ largest county enabling it to conduct business within the State. The main crux of the activity at the Minnehaha County Administrative Building is to provide the residents of the County a place to go to pay state taxes, register to vote, to meet in public meetings to discuss affairs of the county, let alone other specific activities within the building.

    SDCL 7, Section 8, Subsection 2 says: (2) To make orders respecting the care and preservation of all property belonging to the county and to sell any real property of the county when authorized by law so to do;…”

    The policy to instruct petitioners where to stand on public property of the Minnehaha County Administrative Building fits the nature of this provision, in order to care for, and respect the public’s ability to conduct business within the County of Minnehaha.

  49. Donald Pay 2023-05-09

    Mike Z., “care and preservation” of county property must be weighed against the culture and custom of We, the People and against People’s rights to free speech and to petition for redress of grievances. I have seen no evidence that county officials make any claims against any of a couple generations of petitioners that any county property was in any uncared for or damaged. Have there been any charges filed against any petitioners who petitioned at these sites for damaged property? There have been at least 40 years or more of people petitioning at the county courthouse. My mother worked there in the 1970s and 1980s, and she told me how people were collecting signatures there on our nuclear waste vote initiative. As a county employee, she had no problem with it. I suspect there were probably some instances of impolite words, but that hardly qualifies as anything different from what passes in the offices within the courthouse. Petitioning at county courthouses by taxpayers who pay the salaries of the county workers, pay for the construction and upkeep of buildings and for the purchase of equipment and supplies therein, is established as a right. It is, indeed, part of the culture and custom of South Dakota. Stop trying to be an apologist for a vast government overreach and a trampling of People’s rights. There can be some policy that makes sense. This is ain’t it by a long shot.

  50. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-09

    Yes, Donald is correct. This proposed “policy” is intended to limit or curtail the public’s right to petition their government. I can’t think of a better place to exercise that right than the county courthouse.

  51. P. Aitch 2023-05-09

    County tries to limit free speech? Petition gatherers confined to three measly spots near courthouse. Unconstitutional. Deny citizens their right to be heard? Violate First Amendment? County bosses need to wise up before it’s too late.

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