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1998 Amendment D

1998 Ballot Question Pamphlet
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.

Constitutional Amendment D

Title: An Amendment to Article IX of the South Dakota Constitution authorizing local initiatives to provide for the cooperation and organization of local government.

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 units.

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 57501

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 constitution.

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 it.

Submitted by: Sen. Alan Aker, 726 Blaine Ave, Rapid City, SD 57701. Sen. Aker represents legislative district 35.