Democratic Legislative Leaders Pledge to Fight Against GOP Attacks on Ballot Measure Process
PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference this morning, State Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Sen. Troy Heinert of Mission and State House Democratic Leader Rep. Spence Hawley of Brooking discussed the efforts of Democratic Legislators to fight back against attacks on the ballot measure process from members of the Republican majority.
“I would have thought that our friends across the aisle would have learned their lesson from the public outcry that happened when they rammed their repeal of Initiated Measure 22 through the Legislature last year,” said Heinert. “Unfortunately, this Session they are not only rejecting Democratic attempts to honor the will of the voters by restoring the campaign contribution limits passed by the voters in I.M. 22, they are also attacking the ballot measure process itself through a raft of legislation.”
Heinert said that Democrats are willing to work across the aisle to make the ballot measure process better, and to make any needed clarifications in existing law. However, Democrats will fight back against any attacks against the ballot measure process and will fight to protect the right of the people of South Dakota to introduce and vote on initiated measures, referrals, and constitutional amendments.
“The ballot measure process has been around since the early days of our state. Unfortunately, the majority seems intent on chipping away at this right bit by bit until there is almost nothing left for people of South Dakota,” Hawley said. “Republican legislation to require every bit of personal information from someone circulating a petition but their library card, to require signatures from 5% of voters in two-thirds of State Senate districts for ballot measure petitions, and to end the people’s right to introduce constitutional amendment are all meant to kill the ballot measure process by a thousand cuts.”
While some of the worst of this legislation has been defeated, Hawley said, many more were still alive, and Democrats will do everything they can to defeat them.
“Democrats believe the people of South Dakota have the right to utilize the ballot measure process, and their voices should be respected when they do. We call on our friends across the aisle to end their attacks on this right, and work with us to defeat this legislation.”