SD voters face corporation limits question againPIERRE — The Legislature decided this year that it should ask voters once more to change some of the provisions regarding corporations in the South Dakota Constitution.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — The Legislature decided this year that it should ask voters once more to change some of the provisions regarding corporations in the South Dakota Constitution.
History isn’t on the side of Constitutional Amendment M, however. Back in 2008, voters soundly rejected a similar attempt at the reforms 69 to 31 percent.
That was despite nobody filing a “con” statement for the ballot-issues pamphlet to explain why the changes weren’t a good idea.
Now the Legislature, prompted by several major organizations, wants to take another run. Nobody has filed a “con” statement this time, either.
In fact, only one member of the Legislature voted against putting the measure on this fall’s ballot.
When the resolution came up for debate in the House of Representatives, Rep. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, opposed it but didn’t speak against it.
The measure would remove some restrictions in the constitution limiting how directors and managers of a corporation are elected and instead place that authority with the Legislature.
It also would expand the ways that ownership can be obtained in a corporation and allow more flexibility for increasing corporate stock or debt.
House Republican leader David Lust, R-Rapid City, sponsored the constitutional amendment. “The business community appreciates your support as well,” Lust said after the vote.
Testifying in favor of the changes in the House committee hearing were Patrick Goetzinger, a Rapid City lawyer who explained why the South Dakota State Bar Association supports it, as well as Ron Olinger on behalf of the South Dakota Retailers Association and Jim Seward representing the governor.
No one testified against it in either of the House and Senate hearings.
The lead sponsor in the Senate was Sen. Joni Cutler, R-Sioux Falls. She described the restrictions as “outdated” and said it’s “essential” that the Legislature have the flexibility to adapt to changes in business practices.
The vote was 35-0.
If voters follow the Legislature’s lead and approve the constitutional amendment, the Legislature has already passed the laws that would take effect.
Cutler said the package “would help keep South Dakota competitive and welcoming” as a place for new corporations.