Compiled by the Office of Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine
SDCL 12-13-23 requires the Office of the
Secretary of State to prepare and distribute public information
concerning constitutional amendments, initiatives and referred
measures. This pamphlet is prepared by soliciting statements from
the proponents and opponents of amendments and measures.
The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot question
were provided by the Attorney General. No other statements on this
pamphlet reflect the opinion of the State or the Attorney General.
The information was compiled by the Secretary of State as supplied
by the writers, was not verified by the Secretary of State and does
not reflect the position of the State regarding the legality or
effect of the amendments or measures. The Secretary of State does
not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by the proponent or
opponent writers in this brochure.
Attorney General Explanation
Amendment D would allow voters of
local government units to combine, eliminate, or jointly finance
local offices, functions, or governmental units. A majority vote in
each affected governmental unit would be required.
A vote "Yes" will allow voters to file initiatives which combine,
eliminate, or jointly finance local governmental activities and
A vote "No" will leave the Constitution as it is.
Pro - Constitutional Amendment D
The 1997 South Dakota legislature passed a joint resolution placing
Amendment D on the ballot.
If approved, Amendment D would allow voters to combine or eliminate
offices and functions within a single local government, such as the
city government, county government or local school board. The People
could also combine or eliminate offices and functions from two or
more separate local governments.
This is an excellent constitutional amendment because it clearly
gives power to the people to initiate the streamlining of local
government and reduce the costs of local government. Therefore, the
peoples’ use of this new power could also reduce taxes.
Because elected officials are sometimes reluctant to combine or
eliminate offices and functions under their control or authority,
this measure gives the voters the power to make those changes. If
approved, Amendment D will give power directly to the people to
improve local government.
Submitted by: Governor William J. Janklow, 500 E Capitol, Pierre, SD
Con - Constitutional Amendment D
The purpose of Amendment D is to increase cooperation among local
governments, but depending on how the legislature implements the
amendment, it won’t yield any more cooperation, and may have
unforeseen consequences. The amendment says the legislature shall
provide implementation statutes and may limit the kinds of
cooperation allowed between local governments. Voters should realize
that the legislature already has the power to specify how local
governments can cooperate and has already enacted statutes to allow
local government cooperation. The only difference with Amendment D
is that local voters could initiate the cooperation by petition
rather than through the people they elected to local office.
That sounds good, but consider the outcome. Suppose citizens
initiate a measure to require two adjoining counties to combine
their highway departments. If it passes, decisions such as choosing
a highway superintendent or where to spend highway dollars still
have to be made. Who makes those decisions? What if the two county
commissions can’t agree? The initiative could specify that those
decisions are made by some new governing body, but do you really
want another layer of government or appointed officials making those
decisions? If you want further consolidation, the answer is to elect
local officials who agree with you, not amend our state
Also, remember this amendment allows every kind of cooperation and
consolidation not prohibited by the legislature, even if one of the
governments is outside South Dakota. For example, a city in another
state could combine its landfill operations with a small South
Dakota town and haul bales of trash into South Dakota. The amendment
could allow cities to compete with private businesses in other
cities or expand gambling by cooperating with a tribal government.
It could void salary contracts for local government employees if
citizens initiated a change which made them employees of some new
layer of government.
Again, we don’t need new laws and constitutional changes to increase
local government cooperation, we need local officials who want to do
Submitted by: Sen. Alan Aker, 726 Blaine Ave, Rapid City, SD 57701.
Sen. Aker represents legislative district 35.