AG takes comments, makes one change in official explanation of proposed Amendment C

Capitol News Bureau
KELO sioux falls voting election ballot vote voters

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg released on Friday his final explanation for a proposed constitutional amendment on next June’s statewide ballot that, if passed, would raise the threshold for passing some ballot measures in future statewide elections.

Ravnsborg removed the word ‘only’ from one sentence of the draft explanation that he offered for public review and comment on November 2.

That change came at the suggestion of Rapid City attorney Jim Leach.

This is the first election that the 10-day public comment law is in effect for ballot measure explanations.

Amendment C asks voters to decide whether the threshold should be increased to 60% for any future ballot measure that would raise or add a tax or fee, or that would require state government spend at least $10 million in one of the first five years.

The attorney general’s official explanation and the public’s comments are here. The amendment will appear on the June 2022 statewide primary ballot.

Leach was one of a handful of people who sent comments. Others were Sioux Falls attorney Brendan Johnson, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Owen, and Senator Reynold Nesiba.

Many of the Legislature’s Republicans proposed or supported Amendment C. Owen wanted the attorney general to explain that the measure appearing on the June ballot was “an aberration from the legislative rules and was only accomplished by suspending those rules using a 2/3rds vote in the Senate.”

Senator Lee Schoenbeck called for the rules suspension so that the amendment could be moved from the November 2022 general election ballot. Senators agreed to the amended resolution 18-17.

Schoenbeck wants the higher requirement in place before the November general election, when voters could face a pending constitutional amendment that would expand Medicaid eligibility.

The Legislative Research Council has estimated that passage of the Medicaid expansion amendment would cost state government $32,566,000 the first year.

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