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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Proposal To Up Initiated Measure Signature Requirement Dies

Legislation to increase the number of signatures needed to put an issue on a statewide ballot died on Friday in Pierre.    

Those in favor of Senate Bill 166 argue that it’s too easy for an issue to end up before voters and the current process slows down government and costs taxpayer dollars.   

But opponents, like Democratic State Senate Leader Billy Sutton argue that the bill limits democracy by making it harder for the people to bring issues forward.    

Sutton says South Dakota was the first state to institute the initiated measure and referendum process.

“Women’s suffrage in 1890 which was a constitutional amendment appeared on seven different ballots before it passed in 1916.  We reduced the voting age to 18 in the 50’s through the initiated measure process.   The voter approval for nuclear waste disposal that was in the 80’s.   We had a ballot measure to require seat belts which passed in the 90’s so our history in this is great,” says Sutton.    

Sutton says the bill increases the number of signatures in an initiated measure from about 13,000 to 26,000.    The legislation was tabled in the Senate State Affairs Committee in effect killing the bill.