Lawmakers consider ballot measure proposals

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota lawmakers are working through several ballot measure proposals.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 Wednesday to defeat a proposal meant to cap the flow of money from outside South Dakota into the state’s ballot question campaigns.

The measure would have restricted out-of-state donors to $100,000 in contributions to a South Dakota ballot question campaign per general election cycle.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson, a supporter, says lawmakers have a compelling public interest in preserving the initiative process for South Dakota citizens.

The plan failed in the same committee last year. Critics say it's unconstitutional.

A more restrictive ballot question sponsored by Mickelson that would ban out-of-state fundraising for citizens' initiatives will go before voters in November.

The Senate State Affairs Committee has advanced a pair of bills that would require ballot question signature gatherers to provide more information to voters or the secretary of state.

The committee voted Wednesday to send the proposals to the chamber's floor.

One would require circulators to provide petition signers their name, email and phone number.

The second would mandate that circulators give the Secretary of State's office residency information including the length of time at their current address.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson, the second bill's sponsor, says it would make it easier for courts to decide if circulators are residents.

Rob Timm, president and CEO of the Chiesman Center for Democracy, says the bills would make it harder to put initiatives on the ballot because campaigns will have more trouble finding circulators.