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Referendum Alert! Nesselhuf Wants Corporate Welfare on Ballot!

Last updated on 2011.04.11

Pat Powers of the South Dakota Secretary of State's office sends out a press release announcing that paperwork has been filed to begin circulating a statewide referendum petition. The target? House Bill 1230, the corporate welfare fund proposed by Governor Dennis Daugaard and passed by our Legislature this session.

This choice of referral is interesting. Referring the budget doesn't do us much good, since schools are already cutting, and we wouldn't get to vote until 2012 anyway. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will dispose of the controversial anti-abortion forced fake counseling law, HB 1217, in court. And referring coyote-hunting doesn't seem worth the effort (besides, those coyotes eat a lot of sheep!). Referring HB 1230 gives advocates and opponents alike a chance to lead the voters in a discussion about our fiscal priorities. Discussing handouts to wealthy corporations versus funding for K-12 education promises to be a signature issue for candidates in the 2012 election... and a fine way to press the majority party on their policy myopia.

Rock on, Ben! And send me a PDF to post online so folks can circulate and sign! We have until the end of business June 27th to put 15,855 valid signatures in Secretary Jason Gant's meaty hands.

The full press release follows (I added the hyperlinks, because our friend Pat is awfully busy):

South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant announced today that a group of South Dakotans have filed paperwork with his office to refer House Bill 1230, an act to establish the large project development fund, to a public vote during the November 6, 2012 general election.

Secretary Gant cautioned those who seek to refer laws passed by this year's legislature that time is of the essence. "The referred measure, sponsored by Ben Nesselhuf has only 90 days from the end of the legislative session to collect the required number of signatures. According to state law, the sponsor has until Monday, June 27th at 5pm to submit the required 15,855 signatures to place the measure on the November 6, 2012 ballot, which is five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the 2010 election."

"South Dakota has a great tradition of allowing the people to petition and to vote, as South Dakota was one of the first states in the Union to allow initiated measures," Gant said.

"SDCL 2-1-6.2 requires that prior to circulation, a copy of the petition with the names and addresses of the petition sponsors be filed with my office prior to circulation," Gant said. "Upon receiving the required number of signatures, SDCL 2-1-4 specifies that the petition be filed in my office within ninety days after the adjournment of the Legislature which passed such law."

"For those parties considering circulating initiated measures or constitutional amendments this year, just as with referred laws, I'd encourage them to be aware of the limited amount of time they have to complete the process. In addition to the Legislative Research Council and Attorney General clearances that those measures are required to complete, the deadline for submitting the signatures for initiated measures to the Secretary of State (SDCL 2-1-2) is November 1, 2011, and the deadline for Constitutional Amendments (SDCL 2-1-2.1) is November 7, 2011. According to state law, an initiative petition shall be signed by at least five percent of the total votes cast for Governor (15,855), and a constitutional amendment requires a petition signed by at least ten percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election (31,709).

"I am available to answer any questions that any person or group may have to assist in ensuring that their petitions meet all of South Dakota's legal requirements prior to circulation," Secretary Gant said." Detailed information is available at


  1. Charlie Johnson 2011.03.31

    I believe a referred law if filed with enough signatures and is certified by the SOS, places a "stay" on that law until the next general election much like the smoking ban law was held until last November's election.

  2. mike 2011.03.31

    Personally the coyote hunting really bothers me. I don't support unlimited chasing of animals on motor vehicle. If it was GFP I'd be leniant but random jerk farm kids on snowmobile reeks of cruelty waiting to happen. I bet most of the time they don't even use bullets. I suspect often they will just be chased until they die.

  3. mike 2011.03.31

    I've seen people chase deer on snowmobiles before and it was very upsetting.

  4. Bob Mercer 2011.03.31

    This legislation calls for a continuous appropriation. I'm not in a position this afternoon to look into the question of whether a continuous appropriation can be referred, but it might be worth checking just in case.

  5. mike 2011.03.31

    I'm indifferent to Gant. I honestly do think he is better than Nesselhuf would have been. Niether of them were very compelling candidates though.

    Aaron Lorenzen is the one who worries me. I don't think Gant made a good move hiring a 23 year old to head up elections in SD. I think Lorenzen should be watch with a magnifying glass.

  6. Vincent Gormley 2011.04.01

    I'm sorry but anyone who thinks that Jason Gant is better than Ben Nesselhuf would have been is just a little too light in the cranium. Let alone anyone who leans in favor of this crop of Teapubs.

  7. mike 2011.04.01

    Gant or Nesselhuf? I wonder if anyone was excited about that race.

    In the end Gant could be pretty weak for reelection and democrats would do themselves some good by writing a few letters to the editor about the people he is hiring.

    Gant or Nesselhuf. I just don't like Nesselhuf and i guess that is why I went with Gant. Ask county auditors around the state if they liked Nesselhuf and a surprising # who are democrats don't like BJ. Many don't know what to think of Gant.

  8. mike 2011.04.01

    Julie Bartling would have been a better candidate for SOS than Auditor.

  9. Roger Elgersma 2011.04.01

    Gant was the one who campaigned on keep the feds out of our voter registration. Well when I registered it was to vote in fed elections also. Keeping the feds out means that Chicago can still vote the cemetarys. Gant does not see past the end of his own nose. The feds can check if i am a voter since they get my votes also.

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