4 ballot questions passed in South Dakota: R, S, 21, and 22

South Dakota voters had ten ballot questions to vote on this election cycle. The ballot questions which passed a majority vote were Amendment R, Amendment S, Initiated Measure 21, and Initiated Measure 22. In this post I will look briefly at those four ballot questions. The other six ballot measures I’ll cover in a post later today.

Amendment R – New governing board for the Tech Schools

Of all the ballot questions this was the hardest for me to call ahead of time. There really wasn’t any organized effort to stop this ballot question, but then at the same time the effort to pass it wasn’t that great either. Here is my post originally looking at Amendment R.

Before speaking about the amendment it is worth looking at the election results:

Election results for Amendment R on the South Dakota ballot. Screen shot from the SD SOS website.
Election results for Amendment R on the South Dakota ballot. Screen shot from the SD SOS website.

Amendment R won, but just barely. Now that Amendment R is signed into law the legislature will have to decide what to do with this modification to the SD State Constitution.

Currently the SD State Constitution puts higher education under the Board of Regents, which manages the state’s Universities. But the Tech Schools are currently managed by local school boards. This has created a situation where many, including myself, believe the Tech Schools should have been placed under the Board of Regents. Another part of the current problem for the Tech Schools is funding. Since the Tech Schools fall under K-12, the Tech Schools feel they do not get a seat at the table during the budgetary process. And thus they feel like they are getting table scraps. That was a big part of the proponent push for Amendment, to allow the Tech Schools to get a seat at the budgetary table and grow the Tech Schools in a way that can compliment the workforce needs in South Dakota.

With Amendment R passed there is no longer a constitutional question about whether the Board of Regents should have control over the Tech Schools. It is now up to the legislature to decide what to do. The legislature may decide to create a new board to direct the Tech Schools; that is the most likely outcome. The big question there is how many resources (dollars) will be given to this board and will it be allowed to become as bloated as the Board of Regents. It is also possible the legislature could decide to place the Tech Schools under the Board of Regents and force that same Board of Regents to reorganize to accommodate this change. This second option is unlikely to happen. Perhaps the legislature will create a new board to direct the future of the Tech Schools, but still leave them under the Board of Education and share a budget with K-12 education.

No matter which solution the legislature comes up with I think the biggest question is how budgeting will work. How much money will be needed to implement whatever solution the legislature comes with? Will money be taken from the Department of Education or Board of Regents to help create this new future for the Tech Schools? Will the legislature have to look for new revenue streams to fund a new direction for the Tech Schools? Amendment R passing created just the first step in changing the direction of Tech Schools in South Dakota. It should be interesting following what happens with Tech Schools in the legislature.

Amendment S – Marsy’s Law

Amendment S, also known as Marsy’s Law, won pretty soundly. Here is my post originally looking at Amendment S. Below are the final results of the election:

Marsy's Law final vote counts. Screen shot from SD SOS website.
Marsy’s Law final vote counts. Screen shot from SD SOS website.

I’m not really surprised by this. Voting to create constitutionally protected rights for crime victims sounds good. Just like with Amendment R, Amendment S really didn’t have any organized opposition. There are many, such as myself, who felt there might be some unintended consequences with Amendment S. But even that opposition was soft. It should be interesting to see how, if at all, the passage of Amendment S will impact the justice system in South Dakota. Even though I was opposed to Marsy’s Law, I truly hope it will do what proponents of the law say it will do. It is an issue I would be happy to say I was wrong on! Now the legislature needs to get to work ensuring codified law aligns with the provisions of this Constitutional Amendment.

Initiated Measure 21 – Cap payday loans at 36%

I actually thought IM 21 would pass, but just barely. Boy was I wrong on this one. Here is my original post looking at IM 21. Below are the election results:

Final results of the IM 21 vote in South Dakota. Screen shot from SD SOS website.
Final results of the IM 21 vote in South Dakota. Screen shot from SD SOS website.

With 75% of the people voting for IM 21 there was a strong message sent to the payday loan industry that people don’t like their current interest rates. IM 21 will cap the interest rates at 36%. IM 21 also has a provision to prevent payday lenders from trying disguise payday loans as something else in order to get around that 36% interest cap. The big question now is whether IM 21 will in fact kill the payday loan industry in South Dakota as many people believed. It is also worth watching to see if the industry finds a way around IM 21 to continue operating as normal in South Dakota. If the industry is not able to do so, I predict IM 21 passing will be a boon for the pawn industry.

Initiated Measure 22 – Campaign finance reform

Finally, IM 22 had enough votes to pass. My post looking at IM22 can be found here. Below are the final results for IM 22:

Final results for IM 22 on the South Dakota ballot. Screen shot from SD SOS website.
Final results for IM 22 on the South Dakota ballot. Screen shot from SD SOS website.

IM 22 just barely passed. I actually thought this was going to fail, and still wish it would have. The title of the bill does sound good, who wants to be against revising campaign finance, holding lobbyists accountable, and creating an ethics commission. But that isn’t all there is to IM 22. Read my original post about IM 22 to learn more about it. I really though the “publicly funded campaign finance program” would kill this. Giving taxpayer dollars directly to politicians for campaigning just doesn’t seem like something I expected South Dakota voters to pass.

Now that IM 22 has been signed into law the legislature will have to find $12,000,000 during the budgetary process to appropriate towards “democracy credits”. That will be interesting to watch as the current fiscal year already has lower than expected revues. This is a topic I expect to blog more about as time goes on, so I’ll cut this post short…

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