SD Secretary of State
Elections & Voter Registration
1996 Election Information
Ballot Question Pros and Cons
1996 Ballot Question
Compiled by the Office of the Secretary of State
Secretary of State
The Secretary of State does not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by
the proponent or opponent writers in this brochure. The information was compiled
by the Secretary of State as supplied by the writers and was not verified by the
Secretary of State. The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot
question were provided by the Attorney General.
Constitutional Amendment A
Title: An amendment to Article VIII, section 11 of the Constitution of
the State of South Dakota, relating to the investment of permanent education
Attorney General’s Explanation
The Commissioner of School and Public Lands currently invests the permanent
school and other education funds. These funds may be invested only in U.S.
bonds, securities guaranteed by the U.S., or bonds issued by the State or its
schools, counties or municipalities.
The proposed constitutional amendment would transfer school fund investment
responsibility to the State Investment Council, which presently invests other
state funds. The amendment would allow the school funds to be invested the same
as other state funds. The amendment would broaden the types of investments which
could be made with school funds, but would still prohibit the investment of
school funds in stocks or other equity investments.
A vote "yes" would transfer investment responsibility to the Investment
Council, thus broadening the types of investments which could be made with
A vote "no" would leave the Constitution as it is.
Pro -- Constitutional Amendment A
The 1996 South Dakota legislature passed a joint resolution placing Amendment
A on the ballot. If approved, the authority to invest the $130 million Permanent
Fund would be transferred from the Commissioner of School and Public Lands to
the State Investment Council which invests other state funds.
This transfer would allow the council to professionally manage the fund and
allow school trust funds to be invested the same as other state funds. It would
also provide more investment choices such as corporate bonds. Investment in
stocks and other equity investments would still be prohibited by the
Members of the State Investment Council are professionals responsible for
investing over $3 billion of state funds. The Commissioner of School and Public
Lands has been, and would remain, a member of the council. The council has an
excellent record, ranking in the top 25 percent of trust fund investors
Amendment A means professional management, more diversification, and slightly
higher returns. For the Future of South Dakota’s Schools--Vote Yes on Amendment
Submitted by: Curt Johnson, Commissioner, Office of School and Public Lands,
500 E. Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501
Con -- Constitutional Amendment A
This constitutional amendment would allow South Dakota’s permanent education
funds to be invested in higher risk investments. Higher risk investments can
earn more money for our schools. Higher risk investments can also lose money --
a risk that this State has never taken with education dollars.
This trade-off between higher risk and higher earnings is the same decision
that every family must make as they plan for retirement, save for college
education costs, or put money aside for a new home. Every family must ask
themselves if they are willing to lose some of their money in an effort to earn
faster rewards. You must now answer this same question for your State and for
There are two things to consider when making your decision on how to vote.
First, do you believe that we should take the risk with these education funds
that have been conservatively invested for decades? It is true that the
Investment Council has a good record of earnings -- but along with higher
earnings come no guarantees and the possibility of financial loss.
The second issue is only one of philosophy. It is a similar issue that the
people said “NO” to during the last election in 1994. I am not opposed to
reconsidering an issue -- that strengthens the public debate. It is not a bad
thing for legislators to disagree with a public vote and to work to change it --
that is part of our system of democratic checks and balances. However, the
debate in the House of Representatives over this issue focused on the belief by
many legislators that the people of South Dakota “did not know what they were
voting on!” I find it arrogant for elected officials to say that the people of
South Dakota are too ignorant to know what they voted for or against. I am
convinced the people of South Dakota are smart enough to know why they voted
“NO” two years ago.
Submitted by: Rep. Mike Wagner, PO Box 308, Baltic, SD 57003. Representative
Wagner represents district 9.
Constitutional Amendment B
Title: An amendment to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of
South Dakota, relating to the vote required to impose or increase taxes.
Attorney General’s Explanation
The Constitution presently allows new taxes to be imposed by majority vote of
the Legislature. A majority vote is also required to increase some tax rates;
other tax rate increases require either a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, or
enactment by a statewide public vote (initiative).
The proposed amendment would require that any new tax, and any increase in
the rate of any tax, be approved by two-thirds of each branch of the
Legislature, or enacted by the people through initiative.
The proposed amendment applies only to taxes levied by the State. It does not
apply to taxes imposed by a local government, such as a county, city, or school.
A vote "yes" would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to enact new
taxes or to increase some existing taxes.
A vote "no" would leave the Constitution as it is.
Pro -- Constitutional Amendment B
The present Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote of the
Legislature to raise most existing taxes. However, to enact any new tax, it
takes only a simple majority vote.
Voters have an opportunity to change the Constitution to require a two-thirds
majority vote of the Legislature to implement any new taxes, as well as to
increase most existing taxes. It’s important to support Amendment B for these
Currently, if the legislature wants to raise your sales, use, excise,
contractors excise, motor vehicle excise or farm machinery tax, they must drum
up support from two-thirds of the lawmakers. However, they could adopt a
personal or corporate income tax, personal property tax, a tax on your hospital
and doctor bills and prescription drugs - or any other kind of new tax - with
just a simple majority.
While most everything the Legislature does is referable by a vote of the
people, generally taxes are not referable - that is why it is even more
important that the Legislature be required to have more than a simple majority
to raise your taxes. A two-thirds vote is only a reasonable protection, since
that is what is required to raise existing taxes.
Some lawmakers have been known to be a bit “flexible” in their definition as
to what is an existing tax and what’s a new tax. The result? Oftentimes, the
Legislature cannot raise a tax already in place, so they tinker around with it
just enough that they can get by with calling it a new tax, which allows it to
pass with a simple majority rather than requiring a 2/3 majority. Under
Amendment B, this loophole will be plugged.
Requiring a two-thirds majority to enact a new tax would require Republican
and Democratic legislators to work in a bipartisan manner to resolve any fiscal
If Amendment B is approved by the people, it won’t be easy for the
Legislature to adopt new taxes. And it shouldn’t be.
Submitted by: Jerry Wheeler, Executive Director of South Dakota Retailers
Association and President of No More Taxes Coalition, PO Box 638, Pierre, SD
Con -- Constitutional Amendment B
The last 15 words of the proposed amendment to �14, Article XI of the S.D.
Constitution would provide for minority control in the S.D. Legislature
concerning tax issues. This would be unfortunate and unnecessary because all
levels of government have performed best when majority rule has prevailed.
Majority rule is a basic tenet in our country and any weakening of this
principle is unwise.
Before any bill, tax bills included, is passed by the legislature the bill is
debated and voted on by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. All of
these votes, as well as committee votes, are recorded so that the people of the
state may know how each legislator voted. Therefore, the proper way to control
taxes and other issues is to elect legislators who represent the views and
opinions of the people of their district. Voting for new taxes or tax increases
is NOT easy or pleasant for any legislator!
Minority rule mandated by our South Dakota Constitution would be unwise and
an infringement on the rights of the majority!
Submitted by: Sen. Richard B. Negstad, RR 1 Box 46, Volga, SD 57071. Senator
Negstad represents District 7.
Initiated Measure 1
Title: An Act requiring South Dakota's Congressional delegation to use
their powers to adopt a congressional term limits amendment to the United States
Attorney General’s Explanation
This initiated law would require the U.S. Senators and Representative from
South Dakota to use all of their powers to support an amendment to the U.S.
Constitution which establishes congressional term limits of three terms for a
Representative and two terms for a Senator. If the incumbent Senators and
Representative do not use their powers in eight designated situations to support
a term limits amendment, the Secretary of State would be required to place the
words "Disregarded Voter's Instruction on Term Limits" on the ballot next to
that candidates name at his/her next election. A candidate who is not currently
in the Senate or the House would be given an opportunity to take a pledge
supporting term limits and agreeing, if elected, to use his/her powers to enact
the amendment. The Secretary of State would be required to place the words
"Declined to Pledge to Support Term Limits" on the ballot next to the name of a
candidate who refused to pledge. These restrictions would continue until a
constitutional amendment establishing term limits is enacted by Congress and
ratified by the states.
A vote "yes" would require the Congressional delegation to support
congressional term limits in eight designated situations.
A vote "no" would not impose such a requirement.
Pro -- Initiated Measure 1
Congress has a clear conflict of interest on term limits. Without pressure
from you the voter, the politicians won’t limit themselves. With Initiated
Measure 1 the people have the power to make congressional term limits a reality.
Voting YES on Initiated Measure 1 will help end business as usual in Washington,
D.C. with term limits 25 million Americans have supported.
The President, forty governors, twenty state legislatures and about 3,000
city officials have limited terms. Term limits work for them, and it is time to
bring citizen government back to our Congress. The voters of South Dakota
overwhelmingly supported term limits in 1992, and that support remains strong.
A recent 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision stated that we must amend the
Constitution to place term limits on Congress. A YES vote for Initiated Measure
1 enables voters to take charge to pass a term limits amendment. Congressional
incumbents have passed advantages for themselves (paid for by us) that virtually
guarantee reelection, including franked mail, congressional television studios,
pork barrel politics and fat pensions. These career politicians have skyrocketed
the nation’s debt while passing self-serving legislation. Congress, with such
lavish perks and advantages, has no intention of passing term limits on itself.
Initiated Measure 1 will create a citizen Congress with legislators who will
return with pride to live under the laws they make. It means Congress will meet
the needs of their constituents instead of just special interests. Initiated
Measure 1 instructs representatives to support term limits voted for by South
Dakotans and millions of others across the nation; it lets voters know when
representatives don’t act in support of term limits.
The Founders created a government by the people; Congress replaced that with
a corrupt system of pork, pensions and privileges that benefit career
politicians. Term limits will end rule by career politicians, and restore
citizen government to America. Vote YES on Initiated Measure 1 for term limits
Submitted by: Gerald Larson, 24025 Pine Valley Road, Rapid City, SD 57701.
Mr. Larson is the sponsor of this initiated measure.
Con -- Initiated Measure 1
No matter what voters think of term limits for U.S. senators and
representatives, they should vote “no” on Initiated Measure 1. After all, voters
are like anybody else, they don’t like to have their intelligence insulted.
That’s exactly what Initiated Measure 1 would do as it places crib notes on
the ballot to let voters know how incumbent candidates have voted on term limits
and if their challengers have taken a pledge to support term limits. Voters have
been dutifully sorting out candidates and casting ballots without ever before
having this kind of reminder attached to the ballot.
Many voters do make notes to themselves on Election Day, particularly if the
ballot is crowded with candidates and initiatives. But, our system has always
trusted citizens to make their own choices, and their own notes, without this
kind of help printed right on the ballot.
Of course no one can stop voters from casting their ballots for candidates
based solely on the term limits issue. After all, it’s a free country.
This initiative, however, takes one-issue politics to its most extreme.
There are many issues that excite the electorate. Limiting terms is only one
of many hot topics. Should Initiated Measure 1 pass, information about the
candidates’ stands on taxation, abortion and military spending will be coming
soon to a ballot near you.
Ultimately, Initiated Measure 1 gives one issue -- one particular interest
group -- unprecedented access to the ballot. And they’ll get this presence on
the ballot courtesy of your tax dollars.
Sorting through the various candidates and issues is tough enough without
having to fight through what amounts to a taxpayer-supported political ad right
on your ballot. Vote “no” on Initiated Measure 1.
Submitted by: Dana Hess, 115 N. Van Buren, Pierre, SD 57501