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Initiated Measure 10: Both Sides Speak Out

October 13, 2008, 4:54 PM by Cherlene Richards

Initiated Measure 10: Both Sides Speak Out
For a lot of South Dakota voters, it's one of the most confusing issues on the November ballot.  That's why opponents and supporters of Initiated Measure 10 took time Monday to explain their views. 

The Yes on 10 Campaign calls it the "the South Dakota Open and Clean Government Act."  They say the measure protects you, the taxpayer. 

But those against Initiated Measure 10 say it isn't a protection at all.  They say it's a gag law that would keep teachers, firefighters, and small business owners from talking to lawmakers. 

Mitchell Firefighter Kurt Geres is one of many public servants who fears that if Initiated measure 10 becomes law, it would hurt his department. 

"This Initiative Measure 10, the gag law takes away our voice in South Dakota." Kurt Geres said. 

And Geres says it's important for him to talk to officials about what his fire department needs. 

"In Mitchell, we recently added three more firefighters in Mitchell, and that was through talking with our city councilman, telling them, we need more firefighters to protect the city of Mitchell, we need more firefighters, and we wouldn't have been able to do that if this law was in place,” Geres said. 

But, supporters of the measure say Geres' fears are unfounded. 

"It's clever, but it's not honest to call it a gag law. It's no welfare for politicians, no welfare for politics,” Grover Norquist said. 

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, says under Initiated Measure 10, state employees can talk to government and city officials, they just have to do it on their own time, not when they're on the clock being paid by taxpayer money. 

"You wanna spend money on politics, raise it yourself, voluntarily. I run a taxpayer group, we send lots of letters out, some people write us back and send money. We're not allowed to go tax them, take their money, and play politics with it,” Norquist said. 

Whichever way you see it, you can cast your ballot on November 4th.

South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long says if Initiated Measure 10 passes, it will likely be challenged in court and could be declared a violation of the United States Constitution.  Keep in mind, the Attorney General is a government employee. 

To contact Yes on 10 

To contact No on 10 

To read the text of Initiated Measure 10.

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