RELEASE: Reasons W is Wrong – Requires Statewide Vote to Fix AND to Change Rules.

Reasons W is Wrong – Requires Statewide Vote to Fix AND to Change Rules.

A statewide vote is required to change the South Dakota Constitution. There is no other way to change it – period. It is set up that way to make sure changes to the Constitution get a full debate and that a majority of voters agree.

“Pass it and you’re stuck with it, unless you can pass another statewide vote to change Amendment W again,” said David Owen, Chairman for No on W Committee.  “Voters should be aware of the following facts”:

The Legislature cannot change the Constitution.

The Governor cannot change or veto the constitutional amendments.

Even the Supreme Court cannot change the Constitution.

There are two ways to change South Dakota’s Constitution:

  • The Legislature can vote to put an amendment on the ballot, OR
  • Citizen groups can circulate petitions, and if they gather enough valid signatures (equal to 10 percent of the number of votes cast for Governor in the most recent election), the amendment is placed on the ballot.

Either way, it takes a statewide vote to make the change.

For this reason, it will take a statewide vote to fix Amendment W when any of its eight pages prove to have unintended consequences.

It will take a statewide vote to change campaign contribution limits that prove to be either too limiting or not limiting enough.

It will take a statewide vote to change details like how long legislators have to wait until they can work as lobbyists.  This was doubled from 1 year to 2 years by the 2017 legislature – shouldn’t take a statewide vote.

It will take a statewide vote to make sure that groups of constituents can meet with elected officials and have some coffee or even a lunch without such meetings being classified as “illegal gifts.”

Public Vote on Rules and All Changes in Initiative Law.

Even worse than having to conduct a statewide vote to fix any of Amendment W’s mistakes, the amendment itself clearly says NO LAW that “substantively changes the rules, requirements. or criteria governing the initiative or referendum process may take effect until after that law has been submitted to a vote of the electors of the state and approved by a simple majority of those voting on the question.”. [Section 2, Subsection 18; #3; 3rd paragraph]  

Amendment W will force every regulation or law changing the initiative process to be voted on in a statewide vote.  For example, during the 2018 legislative session, Senator Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls) wanted to extend the time frame for gathering signatures so groups had more time to get petitions signed. Amendment W says that can’t happen without a statewide vote.

The legislature has made several changes to how petitions must publish the actual law being proposed by an initiative (details such as the font size of the text), and such language require a statewide vote.

Conflict with Amendment X. 

Amendment X is also on the ballot this November, and if passed will put into the Constitution a requirement that future constitutional amendments can only be approved with 55 percent or more of the votes in a statewide election.

Amendment W on the other hand says amendments (or laws or rules) changing the initiative process can pass with a majority vote in a statewide election. Because Amendment W declares that it has control over all other provisions of the constitution, regardless of when they were approved – future amendments pertaining to the initiative process will not need 55 percent of the vote regardless of how many people vote for Amendment X.

Another set of reasons why W is WRONG and people should


15 Replies to “RELEASE: Reasons W is Wrong – Requires Statewide Vote to Fix AND to Change Rules.”

  1. amon

    When the legislature overturns the vote of its citizens, trust is lost and voters seek measures to assure it doesn’t happen again,

    1. Anonymous

      South Dakota will continue to get these terrible ballot questions until the state creates an official who is independently elected by the people and has the power to audit state government. Any federal grant, any agency, any office, any time.

      SD should have a strong auditor.

      Kristi Noem ran an ad that said “$5 million still unaccounted for.” This was against jackley. She gave the impression it’s missing. Billie Sutton asked GOAC to find documents in regards to Gear Up but they were missing already.

      The AG can investigate but the AG isn’t supposed to audit state government and follow the money.

      Until we come up with a simple, straightforward idea of having a strong auditor we will have waste of time ideas like the Board of Internal Controls, the government accountability board or reckless and Terrible ideas like IM 22 and amendment W.

      The citizens of SD deserve an elected official who audits government and answers directly to them.

      1. Anonymous

        Officials have gone to great lengths to avoid empowering any sort of a watch dog of funds.

        Such a simple solution to boost citizen confidence and address the lack of transparency in government spending.

        Follow the money.

        1. Anonymous

          Amendment W is garbage. A state auditor watch dog is the way to resolve any perception of corruption or misuse of funds. As long as that person is elected by the voters and not appointed.

  2. Lee Schoenbeck

    So when the anti morning dove hunting initiative was reversed by the legislature did you think the public felt “trust is lost” that next fall when hunting began ?
    Be serious.

  3. Platonic

    Jim – no he did not.
    Lee – a bit different when the rhetoric that accompanies the overturn is “those dumb hoodwinked voters.” It’s weird. It’s paternalistic. It’s sad that conservatives in this state sit idly by and let elected officials – who, themselves, purport to be plain ol ‘citizen legislators’ – demean us and our intelligence.

    1. William Beal

      From the Barnett ruling:
      “The Court determined that: “In holding that the Act was adopted by the voters as one comprehensive package, the court does not mean to suggest that it disagrees with the goals and intent of the Act…. The court is not allowed to look at motives or wisdom of the act; only it constitutionality. While I.M. 22 is all about good intent, it lacks careful constitutional draftsmanship”.

      The Court orders that there is no severability and Initiated Measure 22 is preliminarily enjoined in its entirety.

      “The Court has presented a detailed Order stopping Initiated Measure 22 from taking effect based on various provisions of the South Dakota Constitution. The Court further determined it would not be appropriate to leave only part of the Initiated Measure in effect since it was a comprehensive package.”

  4. John

    W is the worst

    Talk about Democrat BS

    I read this monstrosity and we need to educate Republicans in like-minded Independence this thing must be defeated

  5. Chad Krier

    Volunteers were at the Americans for Prosperity Office today calling people to inform them of the horrors of Amendment W, and we will be doing so from now until the election. If you want to help us DEFEAT W, please call me at (605) 254-0243. Thank you.

  6. Kelly B Lieberg

    Work, fight, defeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s the threshold, stupid ! How about an equal amount of time and effort to be spent correcting this charade of backdoor liberal legislating by signature effort ? Until that happens, the existing system is turning itself into a jobs program for grievance artists. It’s time to take a look around how other states address how the citizen petitions the government. Eventually, one of these big money efforts will be able to find enough heart strings and change our state for the permanent worse !


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