Attorney General Jackley Releases Draft Explanation For Proposed Constitutional Amendment Revising Legislative Term Limits

Attorney General Jackley Releases Draft Explanation For Proposed Constitutional Amendment Revising Legislative Term Limits

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has released a draft ballot explanation for the proposed constitutional amendment, submitted by State Sen. Brent Hoffman of Sioux Falls, that would revise legislative term limits.

This proposed constitutional amendment would revise legislative terms to a lifetime total of eight years in the State House of Representatives and a lifetime total of eight years in the State Senate. The ballot explanation can be found here.

State law requires the Attorney General draft a title and explanation for each initiated measure, initiated constitutional amendment, constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature, or referred measure that may appear on an election ballot. The Attorney General’s explanation is meant to be an “objective, clear, and simple summary” intended to “educate the voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed” measure, as well as identify the “legal consequences” of each measure.

The Attorney General takes no position on any such proposal.

Once the Attorney General has filed and posted the draft explanation, the public has 10 days to provide written comment. The explanation was filed Thursday, May 25, and the deadline for comments on this explanation is June 5, 2023, at the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota. The final explanation is due to the Secretary of State onJune 14, 2023.

The draft amendment would require 35,017 valid petition signatures to qualify for the 2024 general election ballot.

To file written comments on a draft Attorney General’s explanation please use one of the following methods below. Copies of all received comments will be posted on this website.

Comments may be submitted via mail, or through hand delivery, to the Attorney General’s Office at:

Office of the Attorney General
Ballot Comment
1302 E. Hwy. 14, Suite 1
Pierre, SD 57501

Comments that are hand delivered must be received by the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota, by June 5, 2023. Comments that are mailed must be received by the Attorney General’s Office before the deadline expires to be accepted.

Comments may also be emailed to [email protected] by June 5, 2023. Comments should be clearly expressed in the body of the email. The Attorney General’s Office will not open attachments in an effort to prevent malware or other digital threats. Please include your name and contact information when submitting your comment. The title of the comment must be included in the subject line of the email.


18 thoughts on “Attorney General Jackley Releases Draft Explanation For Proposed Constitutional Amendment Revising Legislative Term Limits”

  1. This is one of the most destructive bills I have ever seen. All of the power will reside with the governor, agencies and lobbyists. This bill has not been well thought out.

    Regional and Local communities benefited by having long standing legislative leadership until the 90’s. Having a Senator or rep who could serve beyond a single in one chamber was good for the people they represented. At least a few people serve longer by going back and forth but everytime they switch chambers they start over on the leadership/seniority rung. The vast majority of legislators never serve 8 years to begin with.

    Way to consolidate all power into the executive and special interests.

    1. Having a Senator or rep who could serve beyond a single governor in one chamber was good for the people they represented.

    2. This comment represents everything that is wrong with our legislature. Always pursuing more power and grounded in negativity. In fact, like most comments on this blog, it was probably written by a senator or representative who has no actual idea what his or her constituents actually think about term limits.

    3. let’s add something about gerrymandering too. everyone in the state should get the chance to be sliced out of their sanely-drawn district and slapped onto a redrawn wending-winding district that joins several marginally-related neighborhoods into a thin moat around 80 percent of the outside border of town. each town should have one. this could be a better amendment with such an addition.

  2. What is Hoffman’s interest in giving so much power to the Governor?

    Before term limits, the Legislative branch was co equal branch. This will insure the Governor and the bureaucracy will be totally in charge.

  3. Just as a constituent, I thought we already had term limits? I don’t really understand how having basic and reasonable term limits is “giving so much power to the governor”?

      1. Amen, Pat. I don’t think the term limit experiment has been worth the cost.

        I could give you a laundry list of why this has not been good for the Legislature, and SD as a whole. The loss of institutional knowledge is only the tip of the iceberg.

        Back in the 1990’s, when term limits were enacted, a swath of voters thought this was the perfect opportunity to cut short the careers of a handful of legislators that were not particularly liked, but more so on the federal level. The SCOTUS made short work of that.

        As is too often the case in SD, where “Under God the People Rule” and where we preach the gospel of local control, the powers that be very narrowly define just how much control is going to exist out of 500 E. Capitol Ave. If those concepts mean anything in the arena of term limits, the people ought to weigh in, again, and have the opportunity to do away with term limits lock, stock, and barrel. If people of a given district are willing to continue to elect a Jim Dunn or Harold Halverson to the Senate for a couple decades or more, why can’t they?

        Part of the problem is that there are pro-term limit advocacy groups with Washington DC addresses that lurk in the shadows monitoring activity around the country and always at the ready to defend term limits at the slightest tremor. There was an attempt in 2004 to do away with them and the advocacy groups were working us HARD- all from the national level. (Yes, I was one of 9 votes that killed the Joint Resolution in committee. I didn’t feel the timing was right. It wasn’t worth getting beat up for an issue that would not have the resources available to take the fight to Main Street, South Dakota at that time. I’ve never been a fan of winning battles and losing wars.)

  4. Good idea. Also, Hofman shouldn’t use such a juvenile font. It’s a professional letter, not a love note.

  5. If our team is able to place the amendment on the ballot, I’m confident it will pass, as term limits have always passed at the ballot box (with a few complicated exceptions). In contrast, no term limits proposal has ever passed through a legislature. This proposal is not a reflection or criticism of my colleagues, and I’ll be prepared to debate the merits of term limits with anyone in the forum, format or font of their choosing. 😀

    1. Why bypass your colleagues? Someone should bring a bill to say a legislator can’t bypass the body serve.

    2. We already have lifetime term limits, Senator. They are called elections.

      I’d also add this. The general public likely agrees with this issue until it impacts them. It’s much easier to advocate for term limits when discussing the career of Sen. Dianne Feinstein or Sen. Chuck Grassley. However, it becomes more difficult when your South Dakota State Senator, who has positively impacted your local community, is forced to step down due to an arbitrary number, especially when their successor is not near as effective.

      Many argue the State should be run like a business. I await the lists of businesses who let go of employees after a mandated 8 years because it improves operations.

  6. Sorry Senator Hoffman but this voter is opposed to term limits period. Back in the day, we had Senators and Representatives who understood the possibilities and the limitations of State Government. We had highly capable people from both parties in both houses. We had a cautious, conservative Legislature that took great care in crafting bills, debating legislation, and, through incrementalism and compromise, passed legislation that has stood the test of time. Now, we get flash in the pan Prima Donnas, who, like the political meteors they are, light up the sky, brightly but briefly. The bills they pass are superfluous, the mark they make is transient.

    1. True statement. Terrible bill for our constitutional republic.

      This bill is about concentrating power.

  7. Terms limits are the reflection of a lazy electorate. If you are unhappy with an office holder, legislator or Federal legislator, vote them out, don’t depend on the law to end their service.

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