Vote “NO” on Amendment W

As voters head to the polls on November 6, one item may be causing a little déjà vu. Amendment W, an amendment that covers campaign finance reform and government accountability – among a whole host of other things, is a revised version of IM 22 originally voted on in 2016. Voters may remember that IM22 was overruled by the 2017 South Dakota legislature because of 15 different areas that were likely unconstitutional.

Now, out-of-state-backers are pushing for amendment W. The proposal will change the constitution and allow this initiative to move forward. However, South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA) urges fellow South Dakotans to vote “no”.

“This amendment is complicated – much like IM22 was two years ago,” says John Horter, SDSA President and farmer from Andover. “This time it amends the state constitution, and many of the changes being proposed could be detrimental to farm organizations like SDSA.”

In the proposed amendment, legislative activities would be severely limited – taking away an organization’s ability to educate legislators on issues most important to their industry – whether it be farming, small businesses or others. Horter adds that it would tie the volunteers’ hands in the future.

Outside of the limits put on lobbying organizations, amendment W adds another expensive line item to the state budget. The amendment creates an unelected governing board to monitor lobbying actions that will cost South Dakota taxpayers nearly $400,000 annually. The dollars, as the amendment is written, would not be governed by the legislature, but rather the board – made of appointees.

The South Dakota Attorney General noted that this amendment would replace the government accountability board created by the legislature in 2017, while the South Dakota Legislative Research Council noted the language was quite lengthy and a number of terms lacked clarity and were open to interpretation.

SDSA joins nearly 40 organizations – including South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Bankers Association and the Associated School Boards of South Dakota – in urging you to vote NO on Amendment W.

This blog post is brought to you by the South Dakota Soybean Association.