The Rural Lobbyist: Initiative Process at heart of discussion in House State Affairs.

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Rural Lobbyist WEB Banner FINAL Initiated measures were once again a topic of discussion as the House State Affairs committee heard three bills that would affect the initiated process; Senate Bill 59, House Bill 1130, and House Bill 1074. Senate Bill 59 is a bill to delay the effective date for initiated measures and referred laws. In its original form, SB 59 included language that would require initiated measures to meet the same standards as a piece of legislation passed by the legislature. SDFU lobbied actively against this section and it was ultimately removed in the Senate State Affairs committee hearing. In its current form, SB 59 only changes the effective date for initiated measures and referred laws. That date aligns with bills passed by the state legislature, July 1st. Proponents of the measure argue that there currently is not enough time for agencies and other parties to comply with legislation passed through the ballot box. They argue that it is only practical that the date aligns with legislation passed in the legislative sessions. While opponents of SB 59 don't necessarily disagree that more time is need, they do disagree on the July 1 effective date. They argue that the July 1 date allows the legislature to pick apart legislation passed by the voters of South Dakota. In the House committee, an amendment was proposed to state that no bill repealing or amending an initiated measure may include an emergency clause. The amendment was moved by Representative Spencer Hawley and seconded by Representative Julie Bartling. The amendment failed by voice vote. SB 59 was ultimately passed out of committee by a vote of 10-2 and will receive a final vote on the House floor. House Bill 1130 attempts to create a public comment and review process for initiated measures. In it's original form, The bill would have imposed a 30-day public comment period for all initiated measures before any petitions can be circulated. However it was amended to allow petitions to be circulated during that 30-day period. In its current form It would also require a public hearing to review any initiated measure that will appear on the ballot for the next general election. The hearing would be required no less than one hundred twenty days prior to the general election. Proponents make the case that HB 1130 provides more public input and clarity to the initiated process. By including a public comment period, they believe it will make voters more informed about petitions before they are circulated. Proponents also argue that providing a public hearing will give voters more information about the pros and cons of each issue before they vote on them at the ballot box. Opponents were concerned that the comment period and hearing were redundant and unnecessary. The bill ultimately passed out of committee by a vote of 8-4 and awaits a vote on the House floor. House Bill 1074 attempts to provide limts on out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees. The bill states that no ballot question committee may accept from any person, organization, political committee, or political party that is not a resident of this state, contributions that equal more than seventy-five percent of the total contributions the ballot question committee accepts. Proponents included the Governor's Office and the opponents included Mark Winegar, David Owen of the SD Chamber of Commerce, Shawn Lyons of the SD Retailers Assocition, Steve Willard of the SD Electric Utility Companies, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. The bill was ultimately deferred until February 13th. Stay tuned for more updates. House Bill 1153 was the final bill heard by the House State Affairs committee and attempted to revise the signature requirements for initiated measures and referred laws. Specifically the bill would require 50% of signatures to come from no fewer than 33 counties. The sole proponents were Representative Gosch and Representative Karr. Opponents included Secretary Krebs, Theresa Stanley, Mark Winegar, and Jim Ackerman. There was little discussion by the committee and the bill was deferred to the 41st day by a vote of 11-1. For the more information on the committee hearing click the link below:

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