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:
|Reform Legislature (unicameral, redistricting)||103||39%|
|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.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN:
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.