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Our View: Long has no political agenda

Popular Attorney General Larry Long is under siege these days for his wordings of ballot issues. Those wanting the video lottery repealed complain that the ballot explanation overstates the importance of video lottery income to the state. At the ...

Popular Attorney General Larry Long is under siege these days for his wordings of ballot issues.

Those wanting the video lottery repealed complain that the ballot explanation overstates the importance of video lottery income to the state.

At the same time, those supporting a constitutional amendment that would allow citizens to sue judges also dislike Long's wording on their ballot issue. They say it goes too far by suggesting that the change, if adopted, would allow school board, city and county officials to be sued, as well.

Both complaints, invalid in our view, will be decided in court so that the wording can be finalized for the November ballots.

All of a sudden, we are living in a contentious era in South Dakota. The November ballot is filled to overflowing with issues, some of which have made appearances before. The number of issues voters must decide now stands at 11 -- but that theoretically could change.

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There are four constitutional amendments -- C, D, E, and F. The first, C, restricts marriage to a man and woman; D changes real estate property taxation; E is the judicial accountability matter mentioned above, and F changes compensation for lawmakers in the Legislature.

In addition, voters will decide Initiated Measure 2, which increases the tax on tobacco; Initiated Measure 3, which would prohibit local school boards from establishing the start of a regular school term prior to the last day of August.; Initiated Measure 4, which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes; Initiated Measure 5, which would restrict use of state airplanes; (There is no Initiated Measure 6 because that number was assigned to the referred law on abortion); Initiated Measure 7, which would repeal video lottery; Initiated Measure 8, which would repeal the gross receipts tax on the wireless industry; and the referral of House Bill 1215, Referred Law 6, which limits abortion in South Dakota.

Just recently, for example, the state Supreme Court ruled that voters could indeed vote on video lottery -- even though a previous Supreme Court decided that voters could not vote on issues that produced significant revenue for the state.

Few things seem certain any longer.

However, we continue to believe that Attorney General Long has no political agenda. We believe he is doing his level best to ensure that the wording of ballot issues is politically neutral. That isn't to say there isn't disagreement on how the issues are worded.

That's all too obvious from what we've seen in and out of court in recent weeks.

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