ACTION ALERT: Call for Initiative Bill VETO Today!

Two Bad Initiative Bills–One Call–Contact the Governor for a Veto

In the waning days of the session, legislators passed two onerous bills undermining the initiative process. Call Governor Daugaard’s office at (605) 773-3212 or email at the following link: and ask him to VETO HB 1177 & 1196!!!

HB 1177 is a clear violation of privacy. It requires petition circulators to provide personal information (name, email, telephone) to complete strangers while gathering signatures. Petition sponsors are already required to provide contact info–circulators (especially volunteers) should not be forced to share their information with people they don’t know.

HB 1196 requires petition circulators to provide a laundry list of personal information to the Secretary of State’s office to “prove” their residency, though the bill specifically indicates that none of the items on the list are actually determinative of residency. It also adds a penalty for violating provisions of circulation of up to a $5000 fine and being barred from doing any work on any ballot question committee for four years.

These bills are designed to chill the initiative process and allow opponents of the process or of particular measures to block participation from individuals and institutions they disagree with.

Contact Governor Daugaard for a veto today!

ACTION ALERT: Final Days–Initiative Bills Still In Play

Initiative & Referendum Bills Still In Play–Call or Write Senators Today

This is the final week of the legislative session, and several Initiative & Referendum Bills are still in play. Of greatest concern are House Bills 1177 and 1196–both of which deal with extra hoops to jump through for petition circulators. HB 1304 is specifically about making it easier to challenge petition signatures.

All three of these bills have been amended, but they still set a bad precedent–they’re basically all just attempts to make it easier for those who dislike the process (or particular initiatives) to challenge or undermine the initiative process after petitions are gathered and the Secretary of State has certified an initiative for the ballot.

HB 1177 & HB 1304 will be debated on the Senate Floor on Monday, March 5th.
HB 1196 will be debated on the Senate Floor on Tuesday, March 6th.

Tell Your Senators to Stop Meddling with Direct Democracy!
Vote NO on these bad bills.
Find your Senator HERE or call the Senate lobby at (605) 773-3821.

A couple of bills will likely see hoghouse amendments in the waning hours of session. A hoghouse amendment is when the entire language of a bill is stripped out and new language inserted in its place. The only real limitation is that the new language has to be in the same subject area as the old bill.

Senate Bill 77 was a reasonable bill dealing with campaign finance disclosure for ballot question committees. It will be hoghouse in House State Affairs Committee on Monday morning, so we will be watching for the new language to determine if it’s problematic.

House Bill 1216 would have imposed limits on out-of-state contributions to ballot question committees. It was killed in committee, but will be brought back on the table for a hoghouse amendment in Senate State Affairs on Monday morning. We’ll be watching that one, too.

Initiative & Referendum Bills Still in Play in the Final Days

Below is a list of all the initiative bills still in process and where they are. Tuesday is the last day for bills and resolutions to pass both houses, so we are watching closely for amendments. Anything still in committee (SB 77, HB 1216, HJR 1006) will, if it passed, be on the floor for final consideration on Tuesday.

(+) DRA Supports  (-) DRA Opposes  (?) Hoghouse Watch

HB 1004–Senate State Affairs, Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor
HB 1005–Senate State Affairs, Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor (+)
**SB 77–House State Affairs Tabled–Hoghouse amendment coming Monday, March 5th (?)
SB 128–House State Affairs, Do Pass–Moves to House Floor
HB 1177–Senate State Affairs Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor (-)
HB 1196–Senate State Affairs Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor (-)
HB 1216–Senate State Affairs Tabled–Hoghouse amendment coming Monday, March 5th (?)
HB 1282–Senate State Affairs Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor
HB 1304–Senate State Affairs Do Pass–Moves to Senate Floor (-)
HJR 1006–Hearing in Senate State Affairs, Monday March 5th (-)

**Not previously on our watch list; it is now because it will be hoghoused.

Thank you for all your calls, emails, and other support this Legislative Session!

ACTION ALERT: Right to Appeal Permit Decisions Under Attack!

Citizen Right to Appeal Permitting Decisions Under Attack!

Last Vote Coming on Senate Floor!


DRA Members wait to deliver opposition testimony on HB 1292, along with the bill’s prime sponsor, District 4 Rep. Jason Kettwig.

House Bill 1292 undermines citizens’ ability to appeal Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) in circuit court by giving all such appeals a lesser “de certiorari” standard of review.

CUPs are the permits by which CAFOs, wind farms, and other development projects are approved by counties and municipalities.

We have already seen how a lopsided process pits under-resourced counties, municipalities, and citizens against large, well-funded developers and their teams of lawyers, engineers, and consultants–often resulting in decision-makers feeling forced to knuckle under to pressure from corporate interests over citizen concerns.

NOW, those corporate interests are bringing legislation to strip a full and fair “de novo” review process from citizens who appeal those decisions in circuit court.

Clearly this is a industry bill based on the proponent testimony from Big Energy lobbyists–of course they love this bill (as do CAFO developers and others) because it gives them even more of an advantage in the process.

Do NOT Delay in Letting State Senators Know To Oppose HB 1292!

ACTION ALERT: Manure Pipes Monday; CUP Appeals Tuesday

Manure Pipes Monday; CUP Appeals Tuesday–Contact Legislators Now!

House Bill 1184 would place force-main CAFO manure disposal pipes in the section of code dealing with public utilities (31-26). It will be heard Monday, February 26 at 9am in Senate Transportation Committee, Room 423 of the Capitol.

Proponents say that a vote against the bill is a vote against agriculture–but most actual farmers and ranchers disagree. This is an industry bill that provides special privileges for one segment of the ag community while taking rights away from others.

Contact legislators to tell them waste disposal for private businesses is NOT a public utility and should not be allowed to cross private property without landowner permission.


Senate Transportation Committee:
Ernie Otten, Chair
Jim Stalzer, Vice Chair
Jim Bolin
Blake Curd
Jason Frerichs
Lance Russell
Alan Solano

House Bill 1292 has gotten less press (and is more complex), but its effects may be even worse than HB 1184. It will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 27.

Proponents say this bill provides “consistency” in reviews of Conditional Use Permit decisions, but it does that by making it more difficult for citizens to appeal when a board clearly violates its own process. Right now, boards that use a ⅔ majority to approve permits have a “de certiorari” review in circuit court, which means courts grant some certainty that the board followed its own process.

Boards that use a simple majority to approve permits undergo a “de novo” review, meaning that the courts look at the entire process to see if there were irregularities. “De novo” reviews can help citizens successfully appeal permit decisions where boards have chosen to cut corners in order to fast-track potentially controversial projects.

This bill gives ALL appeals of Conditional Use Permit decisions a “de certiorari” review, and may even entice current ⅔ majority decision-making boards to switch to simple majority decision-making, since the threat of a full review would be removed.

For all those concerned about citizen rights and citizen input on developments such as wind farms, CAFOs, industrial parks, and other big projects, this is a MUST-KILL bill.

Contact Senate Judiciary Committee Members today!

Senate Judiciary Committee:
Lance Russell, Chair
**Arthur Rusch, Vice Chair
Brock Greenfield
Craig Kennedy
Kris Langer
Stace Nelson
Jenna Netherton
**denotes bill sponsor

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ACTION ALERT–Three Initiative-Undermining Resolutions on Wednesday

Three Bad Bills–One Committee!

While we try not to overload our action alerts with multiple bills–this one’s an easy call (or email). Let members of the House State Affairs Committee know that all three of these bills undermining the citizen-initiated amendment process should be voted down. They’re all up for hearing early Wednesday.

HJR 1006–Ends Multiple-Subject Initiated Amendments to the Constitution

HJR 1007–Ends Citizen-Initiated Amendments to the Constitution

HJR 1008–Requires all Citizen-Initiated Amendments to the Constitution to be approved by the Legislature

House State Affairs Committee:

Julie Bartling:
Arch Beal:
Lynne DiSanto:
Steven Haugaard:
Spence Hawley:
Leslie Heinemann:
Isaac Latterell:
David Lust:
Mark Mickelson:
Kent Peterson:
Lee Qualm:
Larry Rhoden:
Tona Rozum:

You can also call the House Lobby and leave a message for individual House members:
(605) 773-3851

Why are these bills so bad?

Multiple-subject amendments are often needed to update or change various parts of the Constitution. If each change needed a separate initiative, each would require the entire process of petitioning and gathering 28,000 or so valid signatures, as well as fundraising and a campaign to educate voters on each part.

Requiring all citizen-initiated amendments to be approved by the legislature means that even if voters approved an amendment by overwhelming margins, legislators hostile to those changes could simply nullify the will of voters.

And, getting rid of citizen-initiated amendments entirely? Even if it makes it out of committee (which it shouldn’t), keep in mind that this is a bright, shiny distraction to take our attention off all the other bills being brought to undermine the process of initiative & referendum. Legislators need to hear from YOU that associating with this attack on initiative will have clear repercussions come the November elections.

Support Our Work in Pierre!
Give to the DRA Legislative Fund Here.

ACTION ALERT: Conditional Use Permit Appeals & PACE

Two Bills Up in Committee Tomorrow–We Need Your Support!

House Bill 1292 Undermines Citizen Appeal of Conditional Use Permits
Hearing in House Judiciary TOMORROW at 10am–Contact Members for “No” Votes Today!

House Judiciary Committee:

This bad bill sets a higher standard for review of Conditional Use Permit (CUP) appeals when citizens feel their County has not made the right decision based on all facts. The current “de novo” standard allows courts to go over the full case, while the proposed “de certiorari” standard would simply assume counties had followed the correct process.

We killed this bill on the House floor TWICE last year–now the exact same bill is back. Your calls can help stop this in committee and send a clear message that CUP reviews should get a full and fair hearing!


House Bill 1301 Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in House Commerce & Energy
Contact Committee Members and Tell Them to Support Local Jobs & Development!

House Commerce & Energy Committee Members:

DRA’s Community Energy Development (CED) Committee has brought legislation to enable counties to create financing districts allowing long-term loans from local banks for commercial energy efficiency & renewable energy projects. This is a good economic and workforce development bill that deserves committee support!

Thank You For All Your Calls & Emails This Session!
Your Voice Makes a Difference!

ACTION ALERT: CAFO Manure Pipes as “Public Utility”–House Floor Today

CAFO Proponents Want Manure Disposal Pipes Treated (But Not Regulated) Like Public Utilities

HOUSE BILL 1184 on the House Floor TODAY. CALL OR EMAIL NOW!!!

Call or Email Your State Reps NOW! Tell them NO WAY on HB 1184! Leave a message in the House Lobby by calling (605) 773-3851 or email them.

CAFO Manure pipe running in road in Grant County, right beside a wetland

House Bill 1184 Seems like a pretty innocuous little bill. It’s short, but it’s not sweet. It allows Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) to lay manure disposal pipes in accordance with CL 31-26–that is, in the right-of-way as if they were a public utility. After compelling testimony by several members of our Rural Vitality Committee, as well as water quality and sportsmens groups, the bill barely made it out of House Transportation Committee on a 7-6 vote.

Proponents claim that these force main manure disposal pipes are a “public utility” and should be allowed to use the public right-of-way (the road in front of your house, your ditches) to lay their above-ground manure pipes without notice or permission of affected landowners. But CAFOs are private businesses and corporations, their pipes lie above the ground, and they are a safety and environmental hazard. Proponents also say the pipes are safer and do less road damage than trucks, but there’s no leak detection mechanism other than a big plume of manure in the ditch (and waterways), in your yard, or on the road. Road damage needs to be compensated for in the permitting process–and not used as an excuse to take private property rights!

Damage done to culvert on private property as a result of CAFO manure pipes forced through 

CAFO manure pipe running through creek in Northeast SD

Even if you do not live in a rural area or if you live in an area without CAFOs–ESPECIALLY if you don’t live there (because these reps might not understand the full impact, but they DO understand private property rights being taken for corporate use), CALL or email your State Representatives NOW.

ACTION ALERT: Manure Pipes, Oil Spills, Water Permits TUESDAY


BAD! Call to Defeat:

  • An Act to Provide Certain Provisions Regarding Waste Disposal Lines along or under highways (HB 1184) would allow CAFOs to lay manure pipes in the right of way on private property using the same provisions as public utilities. This bill will be heard in House Transportation at 10am, Room 423 of the Capitol. Contact House Transportation members HERE or call the House lobby and leave them a message at (605) 773-3851.

GOOD! Call to Support:

  • Require Public Notice & Hearing for Temporary Water Use Permits (HB 1225) for construction, testing, or drilling purposes. This bill will be heard in House Ag & Natural Resources at 7:45 am Tuesday in Room 464 of the Capitol. Email Committee Members here, or call the House lobby at (605) 773-3851 and leave them a message.
  • Provide Certain Provisions Regarding Aerial Applicators of pesticides (SB 179)–puts in place some common sense liability and setback requirements that are currently completely lacking in the state. Contact Senate Ag Committee members here, call the Senate Lobby at (605) 773-3821, or show up in support in Room 412 of the Capitol at 10am.
  • Require Certain Reports in the Event of an Oil Spill (SB 163) makes publicly available a chemical analysis on the contents of the spill. It will be heard in Senate Commerce & Energy Committee, Room 423, at 10am. Contact Senate Commerce & Energy members here, of call the Senate Lobby ay (605) 773-3821 to leave them a message.

We Keep You Informed During the Legislative Session–support our work by contributing to our Legislative Fund today!

ACTION ALERT: We Are *This* Close On HB 1006


Click HERE to find your Senator and their email address. It’s fast, easy, and all you have to do is say, “NO on HB 1006.” Just do it right now because there is no time to waste!

We hate to clog your news feed, but we came *this* close to a reasonable compromise on House Bill 1006 today. And party politics as usual blew it up.

We know we can defeat this bill, which institutes a “blackout period” of up to 4 1/2 MONTHS during which the Legislative Research Council (LRC) is not required to respond to citizen-initiated laws and constitutional amendments. Thanks to your calls and emails on this bill, legislators were feeling the pressure, and we had a compromise in hand during Senate State Affairs Committee today. Senators from both parties, the bill sponsors, and even the Director of the LRC came to the table, only to lose it all when Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd offered a substitute motion and blew the whole thing out of the water.

And now, the bill is up on the Senate Floor only a day after it passed committee.

It’s clear that the pressure we put on before today’s committee hearing has them spooked, and it’s clear that those who oppose citizens’ constitutional right to initiate laws and amendments are trying to rush this through before legislators head home for weekend cracker barrels and legislative coffees.

Call or email today! STOP THE ASSAULT on citizens’ constitutional rights!

ACTION ALERT: Blackout Period on Initiatives in State Affairs TOMORROW

HB 1006 Undermines Our Constitutional Right to Initiate

Call the Senate Lobby at (605) 773-3821 or Write To Members of Senate State Affairs Telling Them to KILL this BILL TODAY!


Even Better–SHOW UP TO TESTIFY against this bill in Senate State Affairs Committee tomorrow, Wed. Jan 24 at 10am in Room 414 of the Capitol.

Since 1898, Citizens of South Dakota have “expressly reserve[d] to themselves the right to propose measures, which shall be submitted to a vote of the electors of the state.” This is the language within our State Constitution that give us the right to initiate laws, and it has been there since nearly the beginning of statehood.

Now, the legislature is attempting to undermine our ability to exercise our Constitutional Right by limiting our access to mechanisms we’re required to use in order to draft citizen initiatives, as well as constitutional amendments.

House Bill 1006 says that during the Legislative Session, the Legislative Reseach Council (LRC–which drafts and comments on bills and initiatives) belongs EXCLUSIVELY to the Legislature, and that the LRC is not required to comment on citizen initiatives from December 1st until 15 days after session adjournment–potentially up to 4 1/2 months, or over 1/3 of the year.

Citizens are required to start the initiative process with submission to LRC, and after that wait up to two months getting feedback from the Attorney General & Secretary of State’s Office. House Bill 1006 sets back the citizen process, and is a major gutting of our Constitutional right to initiate.

This bill has already been heard in its house of origin and was passed on the House Floor. This may be our last chance to knock down this harmful legislation coming from the Summer Task Force on Initiative & Referendum.

Contact Senate State Affairs Today and Tell Them to Kill This Bill!
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