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Hoghouse Resurrection: HB 1096 Now Extends Petition Challenge Period

In the South Dakota Legislature,"deferred to the 41st day" usually means dead. But House Bill 1096 reminds us that resurrection is a simple matter of majority vote.

With HB 1096, Rep. Herman Otten (R-6/Tea) wanted to ban campaign signs on election day from non-public buildings used as polling places. Seems reasonable. But Secretary of State Jason Gant didn't think so, and neither did a slim majority of House Local Government. Boom—41st day. Dead.

But nine days later (February 13), Rep. Anne Hajek (R-14/Sioux Falls) moved to remove HB 1096 from the undertaker's table. House Joint Rule 7-19 allows a majority of a committee to do that. They did. HB 1096 rose from the grave, only to be bodysnatched and hoghoused into something completely different, a measure to extend the challenge period for initiative and referendum petitions from five to thirty days. Hajek's hoghouse hopped happily through committee and both chambers and got the Speaker's signature yesterday.

The new HB 1096 causes some heartburn among fans of democracy, who see the challenge extension has giving big corporations more of an opportunity to squash the voice of the people. I share that concern, but I'm hard-pressed to oppose HB 1096 on that ground. The tables could be turned: someday some corporate entity might hijack the initiative process to place a pro-corporate measure on the ballot. Regular citizens might want to file a challenge, and they might need more than five days to review the petitions themselves and decided whether a challenge will pay off.

As hoghoused, HB 1096 simply raises the accountability for petitioneers. Do your petitions right, mind your sigs and seals, and it won't matter if Evil Corporation X challenges your petitions on Day 5 or Day 30.

I might challenge the hoghoused HB 1096 for not going far enough. HB 1096 leaves the challenge period for nominating petitions at five days. I hear Senate candidate Larry Rhoden has submitted only a couple hundred more signatures than necessary to get on the ballot. I might have wanted to challenge his petitions, but I've been busy this week... and I hear yesterday was the deadline for challenging those petitions. Why extend the period for challenging initiatives and referenda and not candidate petitions?

But HB 1096 is alive again, and on the way to the Governor's desk. HB 1096 is risen to life... to make it easier to kill ballot measures. There's a twisted Easter parable in there somewhere....


  1. Donald Pay 2014.03.07

    This is just another corporate welfare bill for people who run the state. They have been trying to get rid of initiative and referendum by loading it up with needless bureaucracy for years. Eventually someone will get smart and take this stuff to court and it will all get thrown out as unconstitutional. Until then these clowns will continue to kiss the corporate ass.

  2. Troy 2014.03.07

    Cory & Don

    I think this provides a more level playing field.

    The corporate interests you seem to be afraid of (why can't it also be a environmental or labor union) can drop a bevy of professionals at the drop of a hat to challenge petitions. For the average Joe to have the same effective challenge capacity might need the time as you allude.

    I think Cory you sensed this was pro-little guy. Don, you just knee-jerked.

    P.S. I agree with you that it should extend to candidate petitions as well but maybe only 15 days for non-state-wide candidates. The numbers are so small even the average Joe can get through the legislative number in a few days.

  3. Donald Pay 2014.03.07

    It has nothing to do with "providing a more level playing field," and you know it. All the bureaucratic nonsense that has been added to the process in the last 15 years is all about trying to find a way to keep people from using the initiative and referendum. All this delay is excused because of all the unnecessary bureaucracy, which is patently unconstitutional. None if it solves any problem in the I & R process, and it's all been proposed by the corporate flunkies. Pretty easy to figure out, Troy, when the powers that run the state won't enact legislation to prevent harassment of petition circulators and signers. This is all about intimidation. It started with Chem-Nuclear and Republican apparatchiks, and it continues.

  4. grudznick 2014.03.07

    Mr. Pay is right. We need to abolish the initiative and referendum nonsense because of the out-of-state special interest groups that use it unconstitutionally.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.03.07

    D squared is a feckless tyrant.

  6. grudznick 2014.03.07

    That bald Cummings fellow should have been escorted out in chains and sent to the new Mexican state created by the tribes.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.03.07

    Wall should slide into the Cheyenne River.

  8. larry kurtz 2014.03.07

    Shouldn't take much for Pierre and Chamberlain to slide into the Missouri, come to think of it.

  9. Donald Pay 2014.03.07

    Troy: "The corporate interests you seem to be afraid of (why can't it also be a environmental or labor union) can drop a bevy of professionals at the drop of a hat to challenge petitions. For the average Joe to have the same effective challenge capacity might need the time as you allude."

    A challenge for you, Troy: Please cite any real citizen (as opposed to corporate citizen) that has ever wanted to challenge signatures on any initiative or referendum that originated from a grassroots South Dakota effort. When I was in South Dakota, I never heard of any such challenge. Such challenges only came from the corporate interests, and as part of an attempt to intimidate and harass petition circulators and signers. There is a reason for this: real persons, as opposed to the corporate variety, respect the initiative and referendum process when it is done by real South Dakota grassroots folks (in the way intended by the Constitution of South Dakota). On the other hand, corporate "persons" are sociopathic, and refuse to adhere to the norms, the culture and the customs of South Dakotans. So they get their minions in the Legislature to pass various bureaucratic means that allow them to intimidate and harass real persons who try to use their Constitutional rights to initiative and referendum.

  10. grudznick 2014.03.07

    Mr. Pay, when I read what you write sometimes I am not sure if I should nap out of repetitive boredom or stand up as best I can and cheer for your long winded and long standing hate of the powers that were who crushed your spirit. I met a young lady recently named Beth who told me to relax. You sir, should try one of those funny cigarettes like my other friend Bob's friend has.

  11. Troy 2014.03.08


    The current short timeframe might be the very reason a citizen has never undertaken it. The lack of time and resources makes initiating a challenge futile. More time makes it more likely this concerned citizen will have the the ability to possibly be successful.

  12. Donald Pay 2014.03.08


    I'd invite you, then, to stop reading or commenting on my posts if you find what I have to write here boring. I rarely respond to your nonsense posts because they never impart anything of value to agree or disagree with.

  13. Donald Pay 2014.03.08


    Wrong, Troy. The corporate/political elite don't use the initiative and referendum in South Dakota. They own the Legislature, who are more than willing to do what the elite want. The initiative and referendum were instituted precisely as a check on this type of elitism and corruption.

    The corporate/political elite have tried to abolish the initiative and referendum over the years, but it's always been voted down by the people. The elite's current approach is to so bureaucratize the I & R that they can discourage it's use through harassment and intimidation techniques.

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