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Former U.S. Sen. candidate optimistic about Amendments V, T

Former U.S. Sen. candidate Rick Weiland has been hitting the towns of South Dakota in promotion of the "Trifecta of Reform," and he's optimistic the three ballot initiatives he's advocating will pass.

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Former U.S. Sen. candidate Rick Weiland has been hitting the towns of South Dakota in promotion of the "Trifecta of Reform," and he's optimistic the three ballot initiatives he's advocating will pass.

Weiland, who ran as a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate against Sen. Mike Rounds in 2014, on Tuesday stopped in Mitchell to speak with the Davison County Democrats about Constitutional Amendments T and V and Initiated Measure 22. Weiland, who co-founded the non-partisan organization TakeItBack.org, is hopeful the three ballot questions will receive majority support from South Dakota's voters in November.

Amendment V would establish non-partisan elections, opening the June primary to all voters and remove the party affiliation from the ballot. In an interview with The Daily Republic on Tuesday, Weiland said Amendment V could be a part of the South Dakota Constitution soon.

"I think there's a real, at least I pick it up, a real hunger with the voters right now to change business as usual," Weiland said. "And I'm excited we've been able to build a really broad coalition to support Amendment V, because it takes that argument that this is just a bunch of loser Democrats off the table."

Weiland appeared even more optimistic about Amendment T's chances to earn voter support. Amendment T would establish a non-partisan redistricting commission to draw legislative districts every 10 years. Currently, state legislators draw the districts in which many will eventually run for re-election.

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Weiland said the "verdict's still out" on whether the "Trifecta of Reform" will be approved by the state's voters, but he was confident about Amendment T's odds.

"Amendment T should pass, I mean it really should pass," Weiland said. "I believe it will because there doesn't seem to be any organized opposition, at least that I've heard."

The third measure of the trifecta, which Weiland has spoken in favor of in approximately a dozen cities so far this election season, is Initiated Measure 22.

Initiated Measure 22 is a wide-reaching, campaign-altering 34-page measure which would impose caps on campaign contributions, establish a state ethics commission, prohibit certain state officials from lobbying until two years after the conclusion of their public service and create a publicly funded campaign system.

If approved, the measure would establish a "Democracy Credit Program," which would allow voters to assign two $50 credits to participating candidates of their choice. The Democracy Credit Program is voluntary, and candidates would not be required to participate.

But the item that stood out to Weiland is the creation of an ethics commission. Weiland campaigned for U.S. Senate against Rounds amid the EB-5 investment program scandal - a program embraced by Rounds that led to lawsuits and investigations - and he believes a state ethics commission could help South Dakota avoid similar scandals.

"You've got to put things in place that can thwart or provide enough disincentive for people to try to get away with something," Weiland said. "An ethics commission would be that."

While Weiland is promoting his organization's "Trifecta of Reform," seven other ballot questions will appear on the ballot.

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The remaining amendments, measures and referred laws cover the issues of postsecondary education oversight, victim's rights, two questions on interest rates for money lenders, the right for corporate organizations or nonprofits to charge fees for services, a law changing the timeframe for nominating petitions to be files and a proposal to create a youth minimum wage.

Election Day is Nov. 8 and the voter registration deadline is Oct. 24.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2016
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