PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A recent attempt to move a county seat in western South Dakota has the attention of at least some state lawmakers.
Senator Ryan Maher, an Isabel Republican, filed legislation that would require a petitioner to get valid signatures from at least 40% of a county’s voters for the question to be on the next general election ballot. The threshold now is 15%.
The legislation comes after a failed effort to relocate the Dewey County seat to Eagle Butte, population 1,260, from Timber Lake, population 513. Eagle Butte is headquarters for the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal government
“The bill isn’t perfect,” Maher acknowledged Thursday. He based the 40% threshold on the percentage of taxable land in Dewey County, which is within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. “Is it the right number? Absolutely not. I put it in for shock value.”
The Senate Local Government Committee hasn’t publicly set a hearing date yet.
Maher is the bill’s only sponsor. His plan would require that the ballot measure receive approval from three-fourths of the county’s voters. Current law says two-thirds.
He also would give a county one year to complete the move if enough voters wanted a change. Right now a county has 30 days.