I wouldn't do that if I were you.

KELOland.com is reporting that a proposal to double the number of signatures required for petitions to place measures on the ballot may come out of the Constitutional Revision Commission:
A special commission that is studying the legislative branch of state government will continue meeting this year on such things as the petition process that South Dakotans may use to force a statewide vote on controversial issues.

The Constitutional Revision Commission has tentatively embraced the idea of doubling the number of signatures needed before measures qualify for the ballot. It takes the signatures of five percent of registered voters to qualify proposed laws for ballot placement or second-guess legislation approved by state lawmakers.

The current threshold for placing grassroots constitutional changes on the ballot is ten percent.
Read it here.

I wouldn't do it. Yes, this is the year of the offensive J.A.I.L.-4-Judges measure. But it's also a year when people are circulating measures relating to county zoning, the school start date, the alcohol tax... and there's that abortion thing, too.

The initiative process is ingrained in the South Dakota political psyche. We like to think that if we believe an issue is too hot for the legislature, we can handle it ourselves, and we often do. And then the issue is voted on and settled. (At least with Video Lottery, it's settled for a couple of years.)

A measure is going to be recommended to hinder the rights of the citizens to petition by doubling the number of signatures required for the ballot? Woe be to the legislator who supports placing that change on the ballot.

You limit the people's rights in such a fashion, I predict they aren't going to take it very well.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Making it harder is only going to hinder grassroots efforts that do need to be on the ballot. There have been a few too many what I would consider frivolous initiatives this year. Jail comes to mind. There were others. What is more concerning is that if you have the money you can pay canvassers to gather signatures. This makes is fairly easy for someone with some cash to get an issue on the ballot without a real body of people who believe in it. Jail comes to mind - again. If they want to do something to fix the process they need to crack down on petitions and make sure the language is brief and clear and that canvasser have to give a clear approved explination of the measure and have a printed handout cleared by the state that makes clear what the issue is.
Will said…
I'm going to circulate a petition making it illegal to comment anonymously on blogs.
Joan said…
I agree with Will. I have made some anonymous comments, but not for quite awhile. There seems to be at least one Anonymous who seems to be a little on the vicious side. That person also appears to want to cause problems, because they can't seem to make up their mind about some topics.
Anonymous said…
I post anonymously because getting an identity is a pain in the butt. It's yet another password and identity that I need to maintain. I just don't need the headache just to assuage you. Who cares if it's a shouted opinion from the masses? It's still a valid opinion regardless.
Anonymous said…
Last I checked we had a representative democracy. Governing by ballot initiative is a folly. Look no further than the Left Coast. If you don’t think an issue has been taken care of to your satisfaction, let your representative know. Better yet, run for office or at least find and support someone who shares your position.

It is only some misty eyed fool who thinks what is happening on the ballot this year is good for SD. You get to vote, every cycle for the people that will work for you or against you. Next thing you know we will have the whole kuchen issue on the ballot. Don’t even get a liberal started on minority rights vs. majority opinion.

As for posting ANON, some of us like this blog but are not in a position to express our views as freely as others. Take away that option and you loose some of the free debate which often times seems to me to come from people who might actually know what is going on.
Will said…
Anon,

You don't need an identity or password to post comments. Just click the "Other" button (right next to the "Anonymous" button which you are clearly familiar with) and type your name in the "USERNAME" box. That's all there is to it!

Seriously, I respect your desire to remain anonymous, whatever your reasons. I respect anyone who wants to post anonymously. It doesn't detract from the quality or persuasiveness of the opinion.

With that said, there's nothing worse than a commenter who talks tough but doesn't have the courage to sign his/her name to it. That's not what you did, btw, but it's a regular occurrence here on this blog. And most other blogs.
Will said…
Anon 2 wrote:
"Last I checked we had a representative democracy."

Yes we do. But that representative democracy has chosen to devolve some of its power to the masses, resulting in the constitutional and statutory referrendum and initiative provisions in SD.

If these provisions are such "folly," they can be repealed. The entire direct democracy project can be cancelled if the SD Const. and statutes are changed accordingly.
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with PP on this "I wouldn't do that if I were you." Have any of you worked at gathering signatures without pay or with pay? I have and it was with no pay. Believe me, it isn't as easy as you all seem to think.
Douglas said…
What kind of a mess would South Dakota be if the Republican-dominated legislatures didn't have the sword of initiative and referendum hanging over their heads.

After practically selling their legislative soul to Gov. Janklow, they are on very slippery ground objecting to the people who vote for them having another route for representation.

If we really want to get rid of redundant legislative processes, we should have a unicameral.
Right On Douglas!
Anonymous said…
A strict constructionist might point out that the initiative and referendum rights are mentioned in the very first section of Article 3 of the SD Constitution. It's right after the Legislature is established. Seems like a pretty prominent place - a place where a drafter might put something really important. Representative democracy with another built in check and/or balance...

On the other hand, the initiative process itself is a pretty big deal. Talk about a good place for stuff that isn't well thought out... a ban on "corporate farming" for example. It's reminiscent of "judicial accountability." If our legislators were a little smarter, one would probably argue that's why we have them. (thinking this stuff through - having hearings, etc) But as it is, bad ideas are all over, so what is a state to do...
Anonymous said…
I sounded like Blanchard right there - the worst policy except for everything else...
Nicholas Nemec said…
The irony of any proposal to change the number of signatures required to initiate or refer a law is that that would be a change in the constitution and would require a majority vote of the electorate to enact. I agree that an increase in signature numbers would be a "deal breaker" for many voters. Other changes that were part of the same amendment would be lost, not on their own merit but because they were included with an unpopular proposal.

I always sign my name. It helps to temper my comments and hopefully I sound more rational. It's easy to make unsubstantiated claims if you are anonymous. Signing does open me up to attacks and I'm not protected from someone else posting under my name.
Bonnie Russell said…
People who speak anonymously generally fall into one of three categories:

1. They don't have the courage of their alleged convictions;

2. Are hypocrites, and/or

3. are the blog authors themselves just trying to stir it up a little for fun.

That said, Only the comatose seem not to notice it's the most vicious people who maintain their "right" to be anonymous. In the light of day, these people disappear into the woodwork.
Anonymous said…
Say Bonnie, I notice on the viciousness scale that Bill Stegmeier on his blog was very vicious and very, very clear about his crank conspiracy theories about the income tax, 9/11, and marriage licenses. PP posted all about them with links to the crank conspiracy theories a few days ago.

The truth about your conspiracy theories is coming out piece by piece. The Slate.com piece talked about them, the NWO and all. Stegmeier's blog is up for anyone to read what the TRUTH about Amendment E is.

Like his and your buddy Branson (who by the way is STILL running the show if you read his website www.jail4judges.org, despite that fake resignation Stegmeier put up last week), the crank conspiracy theories coming out of California and straight from Stegmeier's own blog will make for wonderful material once the campaign gets started I am sure.

Sorry Bonnie: but the fact is Branson is STILL in charge, he is STILL calling the shots from his jail4judges.org website and Stegmeier's conspiracy theories about the income tax and everything about Amendment E are coming out.

We all know it.
Cassie said…
Going with what Nicholas was saying about more signatures and changing the constitution. I think it would be absurd to change this so that you have to have more signatures simply because of the fact that you would have to go throught the constitution to do so and change things that are in there and are actually good.

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