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Madville Times Bill 105: Readers Ask for Redistricting, Unicameral Reform

We have polled the committee of the blog on topics for one more bill to submit to the Legislature. The results from our weekend polling:

Topic Votes Percent
Reform Legislature (unicameral, redistricting) 103 39%
Legalize marijuana 69 26%
Put teeth in open meetings/open records laws 44 17%
Protect environment (pipelines, uranium...) 28 11%
Promote renewable energy 17 7%

Legislative reform enjoyed a late surge on Sunday, so Madville Times Bill 105 will deal with reducing the Legislature to a unicameral body and changing the redistricting process. However, this is a complicated procedure requiring constitutional amendment. The Legislature cannot change its own structure by its own vote; it must submit a constitutional amendment to the voters. So technically, Madville Times Bill 105 would have to be a Joint Resolution.

For the redistricting portion of the resolution, I borrow 2013 HJR 1001. For the rest, I rely on my reading of Article III of the state constitution. Other sections may require amending to remove references to the House of Representatives.

The Stace Nelson wing of the Madville Times readership may contend that unicamerality and redistricting are two separate topics and thus require two separate resolutions. If that is the case, I ask you to decide which part you think is more important to submit to our legislators. Your further comments and amendments are welcome!

Madville Times Bill 105

A JOINT RESOLUTION, Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election an amendment to Article III, sections 1‒6 and 8 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to legislative redistricting.


Section 1. That at the next general election held in the state, the following amendment to Article III, section 5 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, as set forth in section 2 of this Joint Resolution, which is hereby agreed to, shall be submitted to the electors of the state for approval.

Section 2. That Article III, section 1 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 1. Legislative power--Initiative and referendum. The legislative power of the state shall be vested in a Legislature which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives. However, the people expressly reserve to themselves the right to propose measures, which shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state, and also the right to require that any laws which the Legislature may have enacted shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state before going into effect, except such laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions. Not more than five percent of the qualified electors of the state shall be required to invoke either the initiative or the referendum.

This section shall not be construed so as to deprive the Legislature or any member thereof of the right to propose any measure. The veto power of the Executive shall not be exercised as to measures referred to a vote of the people. This section shall apply to municipalities. The enacting clause of all laws approved by vote of the electors of the state shall be: "Be it enacted by the people of South Dakota." The Legislature shall make suitable provisions for carrying into effect the provisions of this section.

Section 3. Article III, section 2 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 2. Number of legislators--Regular sessions. After the Legislature elected for the years 1937 and 1938 the number of members of the house of representatives shall not be less than fifty nor more than seventy-five and the number of members of the senate shall not be less than twenty-five nor more than thirty-five.

The sessions of the Legislature shall be biennial except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.

Section 4. Article III, section 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 3. Qualifications for legislative office--Officers ineligible. No person is eligible for the office of senator who is not a qualified elector in the district from which such person is chosen, a citizen of the United States, and who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, and who has not been a resident of the state for two years next preceding election.

No person is eligible for the office of representative who is not a qualified elector in the district from which such person is chosen, and a citizen of the United States, and who has not been a resident of the state for two years next preceding election, and who has not attained the age of twenty-one years.

No judge or clerk of any court, secretary of state, attorney general, state's attorney, recorder, sheriff or collector of public moneys, member of either house of Congress, or person holding any lucrative office under the United States, or this state, or any foreign government, shall be a member of the Legislature: provided, that appointments in the militia, the offices of notary public and justice of the peace shall not be considered lucrative; nor shall any person holding any office of honor or profit under any foreign government or under the government of the United States, except postmasters whose annual compensation does not exceed the sum of three hundred dollars, hold any office in either branch of the Legislature or become a member thereof.

Section 5. That Article III, section 4 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 4. Disqualification for conviction of crime--Defaults on public money. No person who has been, or hereafter shall be, convicted of bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime, nor any person who has been, or may be collector or holder of public moneys, who shall not have accounted for and paid over, according to law, all such moneys due from him, shall be eligible to the Legislature or to any office in either branch thereof.

Section 6. That Article III, section 5 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 5. The Legislature shall apportion its membership provide for its redistricting by establishing, at appropriate times, a bipartisan redistricting commission composed of seven state citizens, one appointed by the senate majority leader, and one appointed by the senate minority leader. The first two appointees shall jointly select five other state citizens. No member of this commission may be a current state legislator. This commission shall apportion the legislative body by dividing the state into as many single-member, legislative districts as there are to be state senators. House districts shall be established wholly within senatorial districts and shall be either single-member or dual-member districts as the Legislature shall determine. Legislative districts shall consist of compact, contiguous territory and shall have population as nearly equal as is practicable, based on the last preceding federal census. An apportionment Counties and cities shall be made whole in a district whenever possible. A redistricting shall be made by the Legislature in 1983 and in 1991 this commission in 2015 and 2021, and every ten years after 1991 2021. Such apportionmentredistricting shall be accomplished by December first of the year in which the apportionment redistricting is required. If any Legislature commission whose duty it is to make an apportionment shall fail to make the same a redistricting fails to do so as herein provided, it shall be the duty of the Supreme Court, within ninety days to, shall make such apportionment the redistricting.

Section 7. That Article III, section 6 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 6. Legislative terms of office--Compensation--Regular sessions. The terms of office of the members of the Legislature shall be two years; they shall receive for their services the salary fixed by law under the provisions of § 2 of article XXI of this Constitution, and five cents for every mile of necessary travel in going to and returning from the place of meeting of the Legislature on the most usual route.

No person may serve more than four consecutive terms or a total of eight consecutive years in the senate and more than four consecutive terms or a total of eight consecutive years in the house of representatives. However, this restriction does not apply to partial terms to which a legislator may be appointed.

A regular session of the Legislature shall be held each year and shall not exceed forty legislative days, excluding Sundays, holidays and legislative recess, except in cases of impeachment, and members of the Legislature shall receive no other pay or perquisites except salary and mileage.

Section 8. That Article III, section 8 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:

§ 8. Oath required of legislators and officers--Forfeiture of office for false swearing. Members of the Legislature and officers thereof, before they enter upon their official duties, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of South Dakota, and will faithfully discharge the duties of (senator, representative or officer) according to the best of my abilities, and that I have not knowingly or intentionally paid or contributed anything, or made any promise in the nature of a bribe, to directly or indirectly influence any vote at the election at which I was chosen to fill said office, and have not accepted, nor will I accept or receive directly or indirectly, any money, pass, or any other valuable thing, from any corporation, company or person, for any vote or influence I may give or withhold on any bill or resolution, or appropriation, or for any other official act.

This oath shall be administered by a judge of the Supreme or circuit Court, or the presiding officer of either house the Senate, in the hall of the house to which the member or officer is elected the Senate, and the secretary of state shall record and file the oath subscribed by each member and officer.

Any member or officer of the Legislature who shall refuse to take the oath herein prescribed shall forfeit his office.

Any member or officer of the Legislature who shall be convicted of having sworn falsely to, or violated his said oath, shall forfeit his office and be disqualified thereafter from holding the office of senator or member of the house of representatives or any office within the gift of the Legislature.


  1. bret clanton 2014.01.06

    Your poll was hijacked and as a result is meaningless. I observed over 80 votes come in in less than an hour yesterday which changed the entire trend of the poll. Some group and or groups had their way with you.....

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.06

    Dang -- I wondered about that, Bret. The IPs were different, but that doesn't mean someone couldn't use proxies or a bunch of friends to skew things. When it comes to real grassroots work toward public policy, names become all the more important.

    So, readers, what's the proper procedure? Is this proposal still worth pursuing? Are we sufficiently suspicious of the poll that we throw out this bill, or hoghouse it to reflect one of the other priorities offered? I am open to motions from the floor.

  3. Douglas Wiken 2014.01.06

    As I have indicated before, I have thought a Unicameral for SD made sense since 1965 and one-man-one-vote ruling.

    In the last few years, I think two houses with very different election processes makes sense. One with single member districts and reform of redistricting, and one elected by slates similar to the party delegate selection and election. Any slate that can get more than some minimal percentage should then get proportionate representation. If Demos get 35% for their slate, Republicans 40%, Progressives 10%, and Retrogrades get 15%, with a 100 member body, the math is easy. Whole segments of the population would then not be totally ignored in the legislative processes and rational compromise would be possible..hopefully.

  4. grudznick 2014.01.06

    One House of the Legislature would make it more powerful, more equal to the other branches.

  5. grudznick 2014.01.06

    I am in favor of Madvillebill #105 but what would they do with the other big room in the capitol building?

  6. Nick Nemec 2014.01.06

    I suspect there are forces who are trying to focus your attention on an idea (unicameral) that's not going anywhere. Your and our efforts would be better spent on an issue (open government and open records) of real importance to the state.

  7. grudznick 2014.01.06

    Evil and nefarious forces who probably were hunting with Mr. Benda, right Mr. Nemec? Mr. H had a poll and wants to dismiss the results because you don't like them. I say that calls into question all of Mr. H's polls then.

  8. grudznick 2014.01.06

    Heck, if Mr. Nemec doesn't want to follow the poll process or the blog democracy process or whatever it is Mr. H has created here, go to the next thing on the list. I'm against it even though my friends Bob, Bob, Bill, Arthur and Ian (who is a veteran by the way) would be for it, but at least you'd be taking the second vote getter. Kind of like saying "Oh...Rounds won the election but we're going to send Mr. Rhoden instead because we think too many people marked the wrong ballot and Mr. Rhoden got second."

  9. Nick Nemec 2014.01.06

    Oh grudz, I have a feeling you are running short on gravy taters. It's a dangerous condition, be careful.

  10. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.06

    Go with the redistricting part. Or open meetings.

    It is a sort of back-handed compliment that some have found Madville Times important enough to attempt sabotage.

    80 votes in 60 minutes? Right.

    Was it you Grudz? Is that why you're supporting the saboteurs?

  11. grudznick 2014.01.06

    I voted, Ms. Geelsdottir. I don't even remember what I voted for because I knew the poll was bogus because it's 90% libbies that visit Mr. H's blog.

    I voted, but then it never let me vote again because it just showed lines where the number of votes were displayed. I believed this to be an honest attempt at "democratic" blog activism by Mr. H. If 3 of you are just going to make up some fake bills that nobody will ever pay attention to anyway then just do it.

    Unless you think I'm controlling you all that much. Then I hoist my gravy taters to you.

  12. Nick Nemec 2014.01.06

    Gravy taters and open records for all.

  13. Bree S. 2014.01.06

    Somebody ship Grudz a healthy public school meal. He's had too many gravy taters.

  14. mike from iowa 2014.01.07

    I voted for items one and three,figuring if you ever get balance between the two political parties or if Dems take control,the other three will get done in time. As for skewing results,didn't Snowdrift Snookie pay family friends to vote for daughter Bristoldrift Snookie on DWTS?

  15. mike from iowa 2014.01.07

    The thing is-when Libs get together they produce real grassroots efforts. When rwnj korporate amerika pays wingnuts to caucus,it's called astro-turf efforts. Phony,just like the wingnut agenda.

  16. Les 2014.01.07

    Look at ur party mike. Grass grows, SD Dems are nothin but turf. No roots to see here folks.

  17. mike from iowa 2014.01.07

    Les-is that the best you got? Move on people,if you stand around and look you will probably see something we don't want you to see. Platte River rethugs-a mile wide and an inch deep or too thick to drink and too thin to plow.

  18. Les 2014.01.07

    How many times have you voted in SD Mike? How many Dems have made a primary in SD? A mile high and an inch wide? Get your donkey out and register Dems or get your Dems to the courthouse, put an R on and help elect a great GOP. If you think you think your gonna pull a fast one and help elect Boz and send Weiland to DC you're wrong, he isn't a Tim Johnson or a George McGovern and this is still, SD.

  19. Bree S. 2014.01.07

    Too bad Rounds didn't tell Daschle about his EB5 problems.

  20. mike from iowa 2014.01.07

    Sorry Les,I got my own sorry-ass wingnut congressvarmint,by name of "cantaloupe calves" King who needs to be shipped across the border your way to show you what bat-s@#t crazy rilly looks like. The good people of South Dakota,like everywhere else,will tire soon enough of rethuglican crooks and people putting the party ahead of their state. Just a matter of time. Enjoy your theocracy(worship of the almighty greenback) while you can.

  21. mike from iowa 2014.01.07

    BTW Les-in D.C. Kentucky Sinator Mitch McCTurtle offered to allow unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans if Dems killed Obamacare. See how wingnuts dearly love to play politics with other people's lives. Unemployment is spent every week to keep the economy going,and the money still ends up in the pockets of the filthy rich. Rethugs just want to eliminate the middlemen and just give everything to the koch bros. Just like jesus would do.Guffaw!

  22. Douglas Wiken 2014.01.07

    The South Dakota legislative system will only be changed by an initiative process. After the one-man-one vote decision, a Sioux Falls legislator pushed Unicameral legislation. I think his last name was Bob Severtson or Sivertson..not sure of spelling. He may have been a fireman. Anyway, he had all the points and reasons for the legislation and it got nowhere in the legislature. Legislative leadership loves the additional leadership positions and committes needed for a bicameral and the lobbyists love the additional choke points when they want to kill legislation and the also love the behind the doors bicameral opportunities when they want to sneak in special interest provisions at the expense of all the rest of us.

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