Initiatives, referendums make full ballot

Initiatives, referendums make full ballot
South Dakota voters will have to decide 11 ballot issues Nov. 7 dealing with everything from taxes to gay marriage and whether abortion should be legal.

The last time that many issues filled the state's ballot was 1970 when voters dealt with residency requirements, retired judges, games of chance, four-year terms, the voting age, presidential election, income tax, constitutional revision and school lands.

The following is an overview of the ballot measures South Dakotans will vote on Nov. 7, according to information from the Attorney General's Office.

Constitutional Amendment C would change the state constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman. State law already prohibits gay marriage.

Constitutional Amendment D would value property based on its sale value as of Jan. 1, 2007. The Legislature could annually adjust the assessed value of that property by 3 percent. Amendment D will not apply to property sold

before Jan. 1, 2007. Valuations could be adjusted if the size of the property, use or classification changed.

Constitutional Amendment E would allow a 13-member citizen grand jury to

review and reverse decisions made by judges and then penalize those decision-makers. Attorney General Larry Long said in his written opinion about the measure that those serving on local government boards and commissions would also be subject to the grand jury. Those who have been prosecuted are allowed to serve on the jury. Cases can be reviewed as long as anyone involved is still alive.

Constitutional Amendment F would allow legislators to receive salary, per diem, expenses and mileage reimbursement as provided by law. It would remove the prohibitions against creating special or private laws. It would remove a congressional term limit that was ruled unconstitutional. The

changes in Amendment F would require two-thirds of state lawmakers to vote to close a legislative session and require that votes be taken in open session. It would also give lawmakers emergency powers in the case of manmade or natural disasters.

Initiated Measure 2 would increase the tax on cigarettes by $1 on a 20-stick pack, and $1.25 on 25-stick packs. Other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco would be taxed 35 percent of the wholesale price.

Initiated Measure 3 would prevent schools from starting prior to the last day of August.

Initiated Measure 4 would legalize marijuana for medical use. Those using the drug for that purpose would have to be registered and show medical records or a doctor's orders.

Initiated Measure 5 would allow state-owned planes to be used only for state business. Violators would face criminal and civil penalties.

Initiated Measure 7 would outlaw video lottery. Last year video lottery revenue totaled $112 million, 11 percent of the state's general fund budget.

Initiated Measure 8 would end the four percent tax on gross receipts of cell phone companies. Last year the tax raised $8.5 million. Counties

receive 40 percent of those revenues. The rest goes to the state.

Referred Law 6 would ban most abortions in the state except those to save the life of the mother. Women could receive emergency contraception prior to the time her pregnancy was confirmed by testing.

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