Senate Bill 166 – The Petition signature measure – tabled. It’s going to take a lawsuit to figure this one out.

From the Rapid City Journal, State Representative Corey Brown has asked for Senate Bill 166 which proposed to make state petition law consistent with the constitution to be withdrawn.

He said Friday afternoon that he received a message from the Legislature’s page adviser Thursday evening. He said she told him the pages were answering calls from opponents of SB 166, including some who cursed at the high school students.


Brown said the state law setting the threshold at 5 percent of governor votes for a statewide initiative or referendum doesn’t match other state laws, such as 5 percent of registered voters needed for a municipal initiative or referendum.


Brown said he expects the next initiative petition to be challenged if the signature count is based on 5 percent of the governor vote.

“I do believe that there’s still a problem,” he said. He added, “I guess maybe there’s other avenues to fix that.”

Read it here.

Cursing at high school kids? Nice. I always thought people of good conscience could disagree in a civil society. Apparently we’re setting the bar too high. Based on what Senator Brown notes, It sounds as if it’s going to take a legal decision based on the laws’ inconsistency with the state constitution to void SDCL 2-1-5.

What do you think, was Senator Brown’s decision to ask for his bill to be tabled a good move, or should this bill have gone all the way?

27 thoughts on “Senate Bill 166 – The Petition signature measure – tabled. It’s going to take a lawsuit to figure this one out.”

  1. GOP found out that there are even limits to their power. Brown is a clown and he heard plenty from people from both parties.

  2. The current school year start date issue in Sioux Falls achieved ballot status by submitting a certified 5% of the registered voters within the school district.

    1. This is impressive … most school board elections don’t garner a 5% voter turnout.

  3. I think this bill should have gone all the way, Pat. As one senator pointed out privately, the populace isn’t there yet.

    The question I have for the opponents, is “Why? What’s causing the knee-JERK reaction to this bill?” My own opinion is that the sky isn’t falling now nor would it be if the requirements were higher. Yet the opponents rushed to their guns immediately. Why? Why were opponents so threatened by this conversation? Anyone can see the desperation in the invective hurled by the Argus Leader. I don’t understand that reaction. The opponents could have engaged in a civil discussion and chose not to do so. Why?

      1. most people can remember a half dozen goofy initiative ideas, any of which alone would be enough to justify coordinating the constitutional language.

        1. here’s a fascinating fact – in 1980 a statewide initiative put to voters would have, if approved, barred the legislature from changing or altering an initiated measure enacted by public approval. the measure FAILED. very interesting, what with all the shouting about the minimum wage issue.

    1. Sir, are you for real? If so, what do have against “We the People” making our voices heard? If so, tell us why it should have been passed instead of sounding like a victim..

  4. Let’s at least be consistent at the county and municipal and school district level. The next time an opt-out is proposed, it should only take five per cent of those voting for governor in the last election, not five per cent of the electorate. There should not be one threshold at the local level and another at the state level.

    1. Whatever, Roger. Change it. Just don’t screw around with the citizens’ perceived right to bring an initiative forward or refer a stupid law. Don’t screw with that or whomever is involved will pay a price.

      1. trust the people. if you track the history of initiated measures, the screwy ones usually lose. in the case of measure 18, the fact that the second part of the bill was untenable wasn’t explained adequately by the opponents, they focused too much on demonizing the wage itself.

  5. Two attempts to change an initiative law that was just passed by the voters as well as an effort to make the initiative process itself more difficult and you wonder why citizens might not be happy?

    BK says: “Why? What’s causing the knee-JERK reaction to this bill?”

    These bills ARE knee-jerk reactions. They are efforts to undermine the power of the very people who elect us. And we all know it.

  6. Since 1897 this issue has been very clear in South Dakota. People talking about this, including legislators, should take a few minutes to read the Historical Notes on this section of Article III, Section 1 in the annotated code.
    First, there’s no ambiguity in the Constitution. It sets a maximum requirement that can be set – its clear that somebody has to pass a law with the process in it. The legislature did so here and there is no tension between our current law and the Constitution.
    Second, for 100 years legislatures have periodically tried to restrict the citizen’s right to ballot access and EVERY ONE of those efforts has failed.
    Interestingly, it appears that the 1975 legislature passed an amendment to the Constitution that is identical to SB 166, and the voters rejected it in 1976 (I didn’t go back and check the ballot language against the bill – relying on the Historical Notes in the Code).

    1. well said sir. trust the people, but explain things frankly and thoroughly. let it be a lesson.

  7. Article III, section 1 of the State Constitution reserves in the people the right to propose measures, which the Legislature must enact and submit to the people of the state for their approval or rejection. The constitution con­tains a provision that says that the Legislature cannot require more than five percent of the qualified electors to sign petitions to invoke the initiative.

    Seems pretty straight forward. The Legislature is empowered to set the threshold within the guidelines. Courage and reason are the missing elements. Plenty of squealing and that should be telling enough. Looking for a few good Scott Walker types willing to weather the bullhorns and drum chants. We’re talking about nothing more than a threshold good enough for school districts and municipalities with the added ironic incentive for the left to ensure an accurate voter registration roll. Long live the Republic !

    1. Show a need or a harm or anything reasonable you can bring to the people. Persuade instead of coerce. Or is that too hard?

      This idiotic idea just got floated out there with absolutely no basis – other than what the neocons won’t talk about. Saving the usurists and getting even on the minimum wage initiative.

      In the end, there were a lot more Republicans angered about this than Democrats. I guess they “just aren’t there yet.”

      1. review the 1980 failure of an initiative that would have barred the legislature from changing a publicly-approved initiative. the legislature can make alterations apparently.

  8. Wax Zippo you cannot mean what you wrote. The Brown you so easily dismiss with your unbelievable claim makes you appear to be on the low end of evolutionary brain size. If anyone looks into what has happened to California in their Initiative and Referendum process connecting those same bankrupting dots here in SD is not out of reality from happening. SB 166 would have kept some of those same spending plans from ever being implemented here.
    Luckily the Legislature knows there is no such a thing as a free cup of coffee. Let’s hope the public remembers that.

    1. Charlie, can you name one parallel between South Dakota and California? If you can’t then please quit using that tired metaphor. It just is below you.

        1. The only thing I get is that this thing got stuffed where the sun don’shine. Because – well – “the populace isn’t quite ready for it.” That was hilarious and shows how out of touch the RINO neocons are with the citizens.

      1. American O you have a very short memory and don’t connect dots very well. Can you ever remember in South Dakota’s past when an IM was ever brought to the public circumnavigating the responsibility of the Legislature to pass a tax increase by 2/3 while an IM only needs 50%?
        And can you; if you can remember, how that tax increase was to be spent? I wonder what other State has had these types of IM’s run over the spending authority and cause bankruptcy to occur? CA here we come………..

  9. Wait till there are a lot of initiated measures headed for the ballot, get the electorate thoroughly annoyed and confused with massive ad campaigns, junk mail and robocalls urging them to vote yes or no, and then include one requiring adherence to the state constitution to put the skids on the insanity.

  10. Word has it that there is an effort to leave a vehicle open to hoghouse without any hearings when the Legislature comes back for the closing of session.

    That would be incredibly stupid, but that’s a tactic the good ol’ boys have to use once in a while. I hope Hickey is on to that.

    By the way, does anyone know what the Governor thinks of the idea?

  11. AO, why are you so threatened by this conversation? what’s behind all that misquoting and invective you’re throwing around? Care to share?

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