How well do you know the 2016 ballot measures? - Open Primaries
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Posted by Jesse Shayne on September 13, 2016 at 5:32 PM

How well do you know the 2016 ballot measures?

This article was written by Dana Ferguson for the Argus Leader

South Dakota voters will be asked to weigh in on 10 ballot questions on the 2016 ticket ranging from youth minimum wage to victims' rights to redistricting.

How well do you know the issues? Take the quiz below, then read on for a full explanation of the ballot measures and what they mean.

Tech school governance

What is says: Constitutional Amendment R - Constitutional amendment relating to the authority of the Board of Regents

What is means: The amendment would prevent the South Dakota Board of Regents from taking control of tech schools that split from K-12 school districts. A 2015 state law gave tech schools authority to spin off from local school districts, but it's unclear who would oversee them after that.

Supporters say South Dakota tech schools have to deal with too much red tape as they seek to add or drop programs. They want to make sure the Board of Regents doesn't assert control over institutions that decide to break away from local school districts.

Opponents say the amendment would give too much power to unelected tech school boards and could shift costs from the state budget to overburdened counties, cities and school boards. They also worry about the Legislature creating a new board to oversee tech schools.

Election reform

What it says: Referred Law 19 - An act to revise certain provisions regarding elections and election petitions

What it means: The law would move up deadlines for submitting nominating petitions, prohibit non-Independent voters from signing nomination petitions of Independent candidates and restrict the circumstances under which a political party could replace a candidate that has withdrawn.

Supporters say the law would increase transparency and fairness in elections and reduce abuses of the election process.

Opponents say the measure would help incumbents and shrink the pool of people willing to become candidates because the stricter signature gathering processes.

Youth minimum wage

What it says: Referred law 20 - An act to establish a youth minimum wage

What it means: The law would reduce minimum wage for non-tipped employees under 18 years of age from $8.55 an hour to $7.50 an hour.

Supporters say the law would help young job seekers by creating a financial incentive for employers to hire younger workers.

Opponents say the law is unnecessary and would hurt young workers who need to work to help their families.

Marsy's Law / Victims' Rights

What it says: Constitutional Amendment S - An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to expand the rights for crime victims

What it means: The amendment would require the court system to notify victims of updates in defendant's criminal cases and give victims more ability to speak in court hearings. The state's notification system currently provides notifications to victims of violent crimes, domestic violence and driving under the influence, but the amendment would expand that group to include victims of any crime, attempted crime or act of juvenile delinquency.

Supporters say the measure would give more victims peace of mind because they would be able to track their alleged perpetrators. Victims would also be able to speak before the court in defendants' hearings, including sentencing hearings about the impact alleged offenders had on them, supporters say.

Opponents say the amendment would create costs for counties and divert time and focus from victims of the most serious crimes by mandating additional check-ins with victims of lesser crimes. They also say victims are already afforded rights, including the right to notification about major updates in a defendant's case, under state law.

Redistricting reform

What it says: Constitutional Amendment T - An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution to provide for state legislative redistricting by a commission

What it means: If approved, the amendment would establish an independent commission that would draw the lines for the state's voting districts.

Supporters say the measure would provide for fairer elections and would eliminate gerrymandering as the commission would have representation from Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Opponents say an independent commission wouldn't be accountable to voters as the positions are un-elected and the board uses an imposed quota system that wouldn't be representative of the state's electorate.

Payday lending interest rate cap (36 percent)

What it says: Initiated Measure 21 - An initiated measure to set a maximum finance charge for certain licensed money lenders (36 percent)

What it means: The measure would set an interest rate cap of 36 percent for payday lenders. That means that lenders wouldn't be able to charge borrowers more than that amount in interest for their short-term loans.

Supporters say the measure would prevent predatory lending practices in South Dakota.

Opponents say the measure would kill the payday lending industry, eliminating an option for short term loans and South Dakota jobs.

Payday lending interest rate cap (18 percent)

What it says: Constitutional Amendment U - An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution limiting the ability to set statutory interest rates for loans (18 percent)

What it means: The amendment would allow payday lenders to offer short-term loans without an interest rate cap if borrowers agreed. The measure sets up a maximum interest rate of 18 percent for lenders that provide short-term loans, but they would have the flexibility to charge more of borrowers.

Supporters say the measure restricts predatory lending, but maintains the option for short term loans for individuals in emergency situations.

Opponents say the amendment creates a loophole that would allow payday lenders to continue charging interest rates greater than what borrowers can afford.

Campaign finance and ethics overhaul

What it says: Initiated measure 22 - An act to revise certain provisions concerning campaign finance and lobbying, to create a democracy credit program, to establish an ethics commission and to make an appropriation therefor.

What it means: The measure would limit how much PACs, political parties, and individuals can give to candidates. Each registered voter would get two $50 credits to give to any candidate of their choosing. State employees would be prohibited from working as lobbyists for two years after leaving state government

Supporters say the measure creates more transparency in elections and government and gives voters more say in elections than political interest groups.

Opponents say the measure would be a bad use of taxpayer dollars and would reduce individuals' privacy while restricting political speech.

Non-partisan primaries

What it says: Constitutional Amendment V - An amendment to the South Dakota Constitution establishing nonpartisan elections

What it means: If approved, the amendment would create a single primary for state races in which candidates appeared on the ballot without party designation. The two candidates with the most votes would move on to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

Supporters say the amendment would lead to more competitive elections as candidates would need to appeal to a broader base of voters and it would allow Independent voters greater access to primary elections. Independents can vote in the South Dakota Democratic primary.

Opponents say the amendment would reduce transparency in elections and would require a constitutional overhaul.

Union dues

What it says: Initiated measure 23 - An initiated measure to give certain organizations the right to charge fees

What it means: If approved, the measure would allow unions to charge fees of all their members. Currently unions can request fees, but members aren't legally required to pay them.

Supporters say the measure would benefit unions and members as none would become a freeloader, reaping the benefits of the union that not all members pay to join.

Opponents say workers shouldn't be required to pay union dues and that union membership shouldn't be a requirement to get a job.


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