Monday, March 30, 2015

I'll Be Signing A Couple Of Petitions Soon And I Hope You Will Too. These Are More About Principle Than Politics.

     A couple of obnoxious bills  (SB 69 and SB 177) cleared the SD Legislature and got signed
Thumbs Up For Democracy
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into law this Winter.  
South Dakota's most persistently outspoken and prolific blogger, Cory Heidelberger over at Dakota Free Press, has already started up a petition drive to get both bills referred to the voters of the state before they're put into practice on July 1.  If the  drive succeeds in getting somewhat over 13,000 signatures on each petition, the measures will be put on hold until the public gets a chance to vote on them in November, 2016.  

     I call these bills "obnoxious" because they're an affront to the democratic process.  Senate Bill 69 stinks because it limits independent candidates circulating their petitions to signatures gathered only from voters who are registered as Independents. This is pure, unadulterated baloney, because it denies me, a Republican, the opportunity to put an independent candidate on a ballot even though I just might be likely to vote for that candidate.  That I'm a Republican by registration does not in any way mean that I vote exclusively for Pubs, e.g., I voted for Larry Pressler the independent in last November's election, and believe me, if I saw an attractive independent candidate coming down the pike before the next election, I'd want to make every effort at getting that person on the ballot, including signing a petition.  Denying me the chance to do so is denying my ability to support a candidate just because I'm a Republican.  I think that's a denial of my rights and I think it stinks.
     In the stinkeroo sweepstakes, the youth minimum wage reduction bill is running neck and neck with SB 69's contraction of ballot accessibility.  This one, Senate Bill 177, is both an assault
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Funny, I Don't See The Dept. Of Mind-Reading In There
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on young people and a trashing of the electorate itself. Last November South Dakota voters passed an initiative that mandated an $8.50/hr minimum wage with built in cost-of-living adjustments.  The initiative applied to "every" employer and "each" employee.  So what do South Dakota's legislative and executive branches, top heavy with Republicans who were relentlessly goaded by the South Dakota Retailers Association, do?  They stunningly and gratuitously assigned themselves the task of divining the voters' will and decided that, despite the intitiative's clear and all-inclusive language, what voters really intended was for a lower minimum wage for workers aged 17 and younger. I wasn't aware that mind-reading was a hiring qualification for elected officials in this state, but the alteration of the law passed by taxpayers suggests that many of our reps in Pierre consider mental telepathy to be part of their job descriptions. These clairvoyants need to be reminded that what the voters want is what the voters want.

     I'll be downloading the petitions as provided by Heidelberger at the site I linked in the first graf.  My thanks to Cory for making the process so easy and (Are you paying attention to the following word, elected officials?) accessible.  The third link is to Cory's instructions on how to print and distribute the petitions, with a reminder that they CANNOT be circulated before tomorrow, March 31.  Here's the SB 69 petition (ballot access).  Here's the SB 177 petition (youth minimum wage). Here's Cory's list of instructions (circulation guide--which must be rigorously followed).  
     Best of luck on these twin re-affirmations of the democratic process in South Dakota.  

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