Bill To Establish Task Force Looking At Ballot Measure Process Passes Committee

Feb 15, 2017

Credit Kent Osborne / SDPB

Lawmakers hope to establish a task force to evaluate the state’s voter initiative and referendum process.
 
A bill to form a study session passed the House State Affairs committee.
 
Several bills that relate to the ballot measure process are working through the legislature. Those include changing procedures for filing, certifying and challenging petitions, public comment periods, fiscal impact statements and delaying implementation of ballot measures.
 
That’s why some lawmakers want to form a legislative task force to look at the ballot initiative and referendum process.
 
Democrat Representative Spencer Hawley says the 15-member panel doesn’t include anyone who’s organized a ballot measure campaign…

“It seems like, with the Chamber and the Municipal League, we’ve put people on who have fought against the Initiated Measures and done battle against them, but we haven’t included anyone who’s brought forth an initiated measure," Hawley says. "So, we don’t have the discussion from the other side, somebody who has tried to put something on the ballot and has worked with it and that process. If we’re going to go through that process, I think it would be valuable to have somebody that’s done it.”

But Republican Representative Don Haggar says ballot measure organizers will have the chance to testify during the public meetings.

“I think there’ll be ample opportunity for anyone interested to weigh in and I think they’ll carefully and thoughtfully and fairly look at the process," Haggar says. "I don’t think we need to worry as much about the specific membership of because I’m confident they’ll be open to any sort of testimony and that they’ll take that into consideration for any proposed changes to the process.”

The bill passed unanimously. It now heads to the House floor.