South Dakota required citizens to submit petitions for statewide initiated laws a full year before the general election… until this afternoon, when United States District Court Judge Charles Kornmann declared that deadline unconstitutionally restrictive on First Amendment rights. South Dakota law used to give sponsors until the first Tuesday in May to submit petitions for initiated laws, before the Legislature started taking that time away. Today’s ruling thus gives us back six months of legal petition time.
However, today’s beating was not total! Judge Kornmann applies his ruling strictly to initiated laws, not initiated constitutional amendments. Judge Kornmann says constitutional amendments warrant more scrutiny, and the one year petition deadline for initiated amendments is part of both statute and the constitution itself (Article 23, Section 1). So all you folks out there circulating petitions for constitutional amendments to expand Medicaid, establish independent redistricting, and run top-two primaries, well, I apologize—I couldn’t win you a later deadline. Your petitions are still due on November 8.
Read the full story at the Dakota Free Press.