Legislators met for the public for the first, and maybe last, time under new Crackerbarrel rules. In the past, audience members at the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Crackerbarrels were called on to ask their questions to the attending legislators. In the new format, audience members must submit written questions to be organized and posed by moderators. The stated goal was efficiency, but the Rapid City Journal reported that several legislators felt the new format was restrictive and said they would not return if it continued.
The ballot measure process was also discussed at the Crackerbarrel session. Initiated Measure 22, the ethics law, received approval from over 51 percent of voters, but has been opposed by some Republican lawmakers, including a legal challenge that has resulted in the law being suspended until the case comes to court. Representative Craig Tieszen spoke against it, while Senator Lance Russell said he felt it was a conflict of interest to work to repeal a law that targeted lawmakers.
Some legislators feel that it is too easy to add ballot measures, leading to discussion of Senate Bill 67. If passed, ballot measures would require signatures from a percentage of registered voters to make it onto the ballot, instead of a percentage of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election.
Follow topics for their year's legislative session in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive. For more information on bills pending in the South Dakota Legislature as well as information on your state representative, visit our 2017 South Dakota State Legislature Resource Page.