How do you refer a law already in effect? Can petitioners un-ring the bell when it comes to Senate Bill 201?

All bills passed by the state legislature that were signed into law, except those that included an emergency clause to go into effect earlier, took effect July 1.  According to South Dakota Law:

2-14-16Effective date of legislative acts.

Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and statutes relating to vetoes and the referendum, an act of the Legislature which does not prescribe when it shall take effect, if passed at a regular session, takes effect on the first day of July after its passage and if passed at a special session on the ninetyfirst day after the final adjournment of such session.

This would include Senate Bill 201, which had a number of petition signatures turned in last week to refer that measure to a vote. What South Dakota law states about those bills notes:

2-1-3. Referendum–Laws subject to petition–Form.

Any law which the Legislature may have enacted, except one that may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, shall, upon the filing of a petition as provided in this chapter, be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state at the next general election.


2-1-3.1. Referred law–Petition–Filing deadline–Contents–Signatures–Circulator handout.

The petition must be filed with the secretary of state within ninety days after the adjournment of the Legislature that passed the referred law. A sworn affidavit, signed by at least two-thirds of the petition sponsors, stating that the documents filed constitute the entire petition and to the best of the knowledge of the sponsors contains a sufficient number of signatures, must also be filed with the secretary of state.

Now, here’s a good question. What happens when a petition, filed to refer a law that passed in the preceding legislature, is not validated by July 1, the date the law takes effect?  Because one law says the measure has taken effect, and others allow it to go to a vote of the people.

And here we sit unaware of whether the petitions were able – or unable – to be validated on a timely basis.

9 thoughts on “How do you refer a law already in effect? Can petitioners un-ring the bell when it comes to Senate Bill 201?”

  1. The only lessons here is Mone Johnson is an incompetent hack, the SDGOP is a dysfunctional mess, and the SDDP is too disorganized too capitalize on now the second statewide official to spectacularly fail at doing the basics of their job.

      1. 64% of the state voted for the incompetent hack the SDGOP put out as a candidate.

        Feel better?

  2. I just had JD on my program on KSDN today and was wondering the same thing. Then I showed him the email I got back from Rachel Soulek from the SOS’s Office.

    “The Attorney General’s office has notified the sponsors that SB 201 will not go into effect until after our validation is done. If there are not enough valid signatures, it will go into effect. If they do have enough signatures, it will not go into effect but be placed on the general election ballot to be voted on.”

    Lee Blank from SCS said on various shows that they plan to turn in their applications to the PUC this month.

    1. I have tremendous respect for the AG’s office… but where does it say that in state law? I think this is new territory for SD, and I’d roll the dice in court on that one if I was in favor of 201.

  3. why would Marty give advice to an outside group? whether it be property rights group or abortion group or grocery tax group? Isn’t their job to find their own lawyer and get his/her opinion on what the law may or not say?

  4. Meanwhile, Jeff Monroe went after the open primaries petitions and failed. So open primaries will be on the ballot.

  5. Shall we take bets on how long the signatures sat on the floor in a stack until the SOS actually started working to validate them?

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