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Legislators: Ballot measures should take effect in July, not November

PIERRE -- Ballot measures that amend the state constitution, initiate new state laws or refer new laws to statewide votes in South Dakota should take effect on July 1 in the future, state legislators decided Monday.

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South Dakota State Capitol

PIERRE - Ballot measures that amend the state constitution, initiate new state laws or refer new laws to statewide votes in South Dakota should take effect on July 1 in the future, state legislators decided Monday.

The House of Representatives voted 53-14 for final approval. The change now goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his decision whether to sign it into law.

Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton, said initiated laws, constitutional amendments and referrals currently take effect one day after the official canvass of the vote is completed. That usually is about one week after the election.

SB 59 would have them take effect July 1, similar to most state laws.

House Democratic leader Spencer Hawley of Brookings said July 1 is "too far." He said the Legislature could use the legislative session to repeal it before it took effect.

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Hawley wanted to ban the use of an emergency clause on the repeal within one year, so that voters could refer the repeal.

House Republican leader Lee Qualm, of Platte, argued against it.

"The way the constitution is set up the Legislature has the discretion to use the emergency clause any time they see fit," Qualm said.

The Hawley amendment failed on a voice vote.

The Senate voted 28-7 on Jan. 24 to approve the change.

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