South Dakota lawmakers advanced a set of proposals Wednesday aimed at blocking out-of-state influence over the process voters use to bring policy questions to the ballot. On the House floor and in committee, legislators approved bills that would restrict funding to ballot measure committees from outside the state, and require circulators to give up more information on petition forms and on the ballot. The bill’s sponsors said the proposals could block foreign groups that would aim to test policy in South Dakota, while opponents said the measures went too far and could inhibit South Dakotans’ abilities to bring issues to the ballot.
“The prescribed cure rather than being precise and using a scalpel uses a backhoe,” Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, told representatives on the House floor. “We have prescribed a remedy that is just over the top.”
Lust voiced opposition to House Bill 1196, which would require ballot measure campaign leaders to submit to the state an affidavit with detailed information about each petition circulator they worked with and make information about paid circulators visible on petition forms.