South Dakota Length of Legislative Session, Amendment I (2008)

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The South Dakota Length of Legislative Session Amendment, also known as Amendment I, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in South Dakota as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure was referred to the ballot by the South Dakota Legislature acting on House Joint Resolution 1004 (HJR 1004). It was a proposed amendment to Article III, Section 6 of the South Dakota Constitution.

The measure provided for a maximum of forty legislative days each year.[1][2]

Election results

See also 2008 ballot measure election results

South Dakota Amendment I (2008)
Approveda Yes 184,722 52.41%

Election results via: South Dakota Political Almanac, South Dakota Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives and Referendums 1970-2010

Text of measure

The text of the measure can be read here.


Bill Peterson, a Republican from Sioux Falls and the Majority Leader for the House of Representatives, wrote the "pro" arguments for the state Ballot Question Pamphlet:

  • The Executive Branch of South Dakotan government is full-time, whereas the Legislative Branch is only part-time. This creates an imbalance of power.
  • Adding days to the legislative session would help to correct the current imbalance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches.
  • The Legislature already meets in 40 day sessions every odd numbered year, why not have the option of doing so every year?
  • The Legislative Article (the section of the Constitution setting out guidelines for the legislature) has been changed very little since statehood. The world however, has changed quite a bit and it is not as easy to write laws as it once was. The Legislature needs more time to do it's job.[3]

Arguments Against

Senator Jerry Apa, a Republican from Lead and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wrote the "con" arguments for the state Ballot Question Pamphlet:

  • There is an added cost to the taxpayers if the session is lengthened of $550 per legislator per day, plus additional travel costs. The total additional costs would be at least $115,000 per year.
  • On a number of occasions the Legislature has finished it's business and gone home before the end of the session. Why give more time if it is not needed?
  • Making the session longer will only result in important work being put off to the last minute.
  • A vote for Amendment I is a vote for expanded government.[3]
  • Amendment I is basically the legislature trying to give itself a raise.[4]


  • The Press Dakotan endorsed the passage of Amendment I.[5]

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading


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