Proposed constitutional amendment would limit power of state to alter ballot measures
Legislature would have to wait 7 years before altering voter-approved measures, amendments
An Aberdeen man who ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 is spearheading an effort to change the state constitution to keep the Legislature from subverting ballot measures approved by voters.
Brian Bengs hopes to begin collecting signatures soon for a one-sentence addition to the state’s constitution. It would prevent the Legislature from changing or repealing any voter-passed initiated measure or constitutional amendment for seven years.
“A measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the Legislature for seven years from the enacted date of the measure,” reads Bengs’ proposed language.
Bengs said since measures approved by the voters during a general election in November don’t take effect until July 1 the following year, the words “enacted date” are key. That means as soon as voters approve of a measure, it can’t be altered even though there’s a legislative session between the vote and when the measure takes effect.
That, he said, is important, because time and again South Dakota lawmakers have taken ballot measures approved by voters and amended or completely done away with them.