Press "Enter" to skip to content

ACLU Slow on Petition Reform Amendment, Delays SB 69 in Cmte ’til Monday

Senate Bill 69, the big bill in the petition reform package that moves petition circulation up a month to run from December 1 to the last Tuesday in February, was deferred again Friday in Senate State Affairs. Recall that on Wednesday, Chairman Tim Rave (R-25/Baltic) and the committee deferred the bill to Friday upon hearing concerns from ACLU South Dakota policy director Libby Skarin and ballot access watchdog Richard Winger that the February deadline violates case law requiring that newly organizing political parties be given until later in the spring to submit petitions for official recognition by the state. Skarin told the committee that the ACLU could prepare language for an amendment to SB 69 to protect new parties by the end of the day.

Friday at 10 a.m., Senate State Affairs convened. The first action was to defer SB 69 until Monday. Senator Corey Brown (R-23/Gettysburg) complained that the ACLU had just delivered the amendment to the committee members. Senator Brown indicated that, out of courtesy, he'd like to see amendments delivered ahead of time. (Now Senator Brown nows how folks feel when they show up to testify and haven't been given heads up of amendments that totally change the bill and the dynamics of the debate. How about posting those amendments online ahead of time, Senator Brown?)

Senator Rave echoed Senator Brown's complaint, saying that while the Session is starting more slowly this year, "things are going to pile up" and he'd like to keep things moving.

I'd be grousing, too. The ACLU said it could submit wording by end of business Wednesday; why'd it take until Friday?

The wording isn't that hard. To satisfy the ACLU's concerns, one need simply move to amend Section 10 by inserting the following language at the end of its existing amendment of SDCL 12-5-1:

If a new political party seeks to participate in the general election but not the primary election, the deadline for that party to submit its petition to the Secretary of State shall be the last Tuesday in June.

It's that simple. If the ACLU wants to add a provision for a late-coming party to nominate folks for Governor, U.S. House, or U.S. Senate, we'll have to get tricky and make allowances for Independents as well. If that's what the ACLU is after in this amendment, then they are probably barking up too complicated a tree and should get someone to sponsor a whole separate bill (and I'm very open to that action!).

But we need to get things moving. The petition reform package has two other moving parts. The Senate has sent SB 68 to the House; Senate Bill 67 is waiting. These bills shouldn't be going anywhere until we see the final form SB 69 takes.

Senate State Affairs takes up SB 69 tomorrow, Monday, January 26, at 10 a.m., along with five other bills. Chairman Rave didn't like spending 50 minutes on the bill Wednesday, and from the tone of Friday's deferral, I'm betting this is the last time Senate State Affairs gives SB 69 its attention.


  1. grudznick 2015.01.25

    Mr. H, you should go to this committee and lobby SB 69. Hand out literature and mold a few minds to your way of thinking.

  2. Liberal Stuck in SD 2015.01.25

    What has happened to the ACLU of SD???

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.26

    LibStuck, the failure to get the amendment to committee as quickly as promised is one slip. Are there any other signs the ACLU-SD is not doing its job?

Comments are closed.