A legislative committee wrapped up two days of meetings in Pierre earlier this week reviewing initiated measures. The first day reviewed the history of initiated measures, how they compare to other states and allowed time for public input.

Senator Reynold Nesiba says day two reviewed challenges, such as influence and financing from sources outside the state, and in some cases, who was collecting the petition signatures.

“I think that most South Dakotans are opposed to out of state mercenaries coming to South Dakota, living in hotels, gathering petition signatures.” Said Nesiba. “They don’t really seem to be residents of our state but they fit the definition which is pretty open ended.”

Creating uniformity in petitions was also addressed, and various types of petitions which had been used in the past were viewed, including one called the beach towel.

“Because it’s the size of a beach towel and it’s all printed on one side,” explained Nesiba. “It fits the letter of the law as one self-contained piece of paper but very few people are going to unfold that entire thing written in and 8 or 10 point font and read it because it would be the equivalent of several pages long.”

Nesiba says the committee was pro-active in looking at ways to better educate voters on the measures, and the possibility of a citizen’s panel to develop voter guides.

“I do hope that we have some suggested changes in particular if there are ways to enhance education to the public about initiated measures and what ends up on our ballot.”

The Committee will meet again in July.

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