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SF Columnist Says Brown’s Attack on Ballot Measures Harms His Political Career

Gee, I just thought Senator Corey Brown's Senate Bill 166, his proposal to raise by 88% the signatures necessary to get an initiative or a referendum on the ballot, was just another cynical Republican ploy to defang democracy and insulate their bad policymaking from popular revolt. Jonathan Ellis, who appears to share Senator Brown's contempt for the masses, calls SB 166 an "incredibly bad idea" that can kill Senator Brown's aspirations to power:

...[T]he Brown Bill is a political loser. Which is surprising, given that its main sponsor, Corey Brown, was thought to have statewide political ambitions. He can probably kiss those goodbye. Sure, he's a smart guy. A retired Navy pilot. But now he's going to be known as a guy who dislikes democracy. Which, with a little political twisting, can be turned into being an America hater. And you don't get elected to office being an America hater unless you're running in Iran, North Korea or Berkeley, Calif.

It's also a political loser because it's most likely going to lose. There are, no doubt, business interests behind the scenes who are whispering their support to lawmakers. But as people learn about the Brown Bill, legions of them are lining up in opposition. The outrage over the Brown Bill, and it is outrage, is being voiced across the political spectrum [Jonathan Ellis, "Bill to Curb Ballot Measures Sparks Outrage," that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.02.02].

Senator Brown, it's time to hit the Withdraw button. Your own Senate State Affairs committee hasn't placed SB 166 on its agenda yet; pull the bill now, and spare yourself the embarrassment of the 41st day... and more mean columns from that darned liberal media.


  1. Donald Pay 2015.02.03

    When I was in South Dakota I worked with many conservative folks who were extremely protective of the initiative and referendum process. I'm not surprised a conservative would come out so forcefully against SB 166. We found common ground on a number of issues where liberals and conservatives united against "the elites," and won. I love working with conservatives because, unlike liberals in SD, they are used to winning. They expect to win most of the time, so they never give up.

  2. Les 2015.02.03

    Thank you, Donald. I am working to make sure 166 doesn't see the light of day and that SB121 gets a fair shake. Hopefully we can begin a Ramadan of sorts against personal attack through session and stand our ground on both bills.

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