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Out-of-state money ban for initiatives to appear on ballot

PIERRE (AP) — A ballot measure that would ban out-of-state fundraising for citizens' initiatives will go before voters in November, South Dakota's chief elections official said Thursday.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs' office said the ballot question will be named Initiated Measure 24. The deadline for a citizen to challenge the measure's approval for the ballot is Feb. 5.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson's initiative would prohibit contributions to ballot question committees from non-residents, out-of-state political committees and entities that haven't filed with the Secretary of State's office for the preceding four years.

Mickelson said the initiative is necessary to preserve the ballot measure process for South Dakota citizens and to prevent "out-of-state liberal political groups and business interests from using South Dakota as their playground for their ideas."

It comes after out-of-state donors pumped over $10 million into campaigns for or against South Dakota questions during the 2016 election cycle.

"All we're asking for is the people live under the laws that they advocate for," Mickelson said.

Backers needed nearly 14,000 valid signatures for the initiative to go before voters. Supporters turned in roughly 18,000 signatures, and a random sampling found about 81 percent were valid.

A similar bill capping out-of-state contributions failed in the Legislature last year. The attorney general's explanation of the 2018 ballot measure says it's likely to be challenged on constitutional grounds.