Dakotans For Health
How and Why to Contact your State Senator and Tell Them to VOTE NO on HB 1200
Updated: Mar 2
HB 1200 Threatens Your Right to Make Laws in South Dakota
South Dakota has a proud tradition of direct democracy, where citizens can propose laws and even amend the state constitution by gathering enough signatures to put their ideas to a vote in a statewide election. This process, known as the ballot initiative, has given South Dakotans a way to make their voices heard on issues ranging from minimum wage and marijuana reform to campaign finance, ethics, and affordable health insurance.
Unfortunately, career politicians in Pierre want to change that by passing HB 1200, a bill that would make it nearly impossible to use the ballot initiative process. Just like their Amendment C bill in June 2022, they claim that the bill is needed to prevent out-of-state interests from hijacking our laws, but in reality, it's a naked attempt to protect their own power and undermine the will of the people. Including the 63% of South Dakota voters who, in recent poll, say they don't want the legislature making it more difficult for citizens to qualify ballot measures.
This post will tell you what you need to know about HB 1200 and what you can do to stop it from becoming law.
What is HB 1200?
HB 1200 is a bill introduced in the South Dakota legislature that would make significant changes to the ballot initiative process. Specifically, it would:
Require a minimum number of signatures from each legislative district in the state, regardless of population, making it much harder to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Why is HB 1200 a threat to the ballot initiative process?
HB 1200 is a threat to the ballot initiative process because it would make it much harder to propose and pass laws through direct democracy. By requiring signatures based on legislative districts regardless of population the bill would discourage sponsors and volunteers from participating in the process, especially those who lack resources or live in rural areas.
What can you do to stop HB 1200?
If you care about preserving your right to make laws in South Dakota, you need to act now. HB 1200 has passed in the South Dakota House and is now up for consideration the South Dakota Senate. Please contact your state senator to urge them to oppose HB 1200. Here's how:
Identify your legislative district either on the Secretary of State 's website HERE or with this map:
Find your senator's email and phone number in this list of all the state senators:
Then call, email, and text YOUR senator and encourage others to do the same! Explain to them that YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT who who feels very strongly that they need to VOTE NO on HB 1200. Please remember to be courteous!
Here are a few themes you can focus your talking points around:
Vote NO on HB 1200 because it is not needed. South Dakota pioneered the ballot initiative, and we should not change it now.
Vote NO on HB 1200 because it will take away our rights and put them in the hands of career politicians.
Vote NO on HB 1200 because it's Amendment C all over again and we need to reject the South Dakota legislature's repeated attempts to trample on majority rule.
Vote NO on HB 1200 because it's a step backwards for democracy and freedom in South Dakota.
Vote NO on HB 1200 because 63% of South Dakotans don't think the legislature should make it more difficult to qualify ballot measures.
Remember, the fate of the ballot initiative process in South Dakota is in your hands. Don't let the legislature take it away from you. Contact your state senator today and urge them to VOTE NO.
Your friends at Dakotans for Health and the Democracy Center
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