South Dakota Repeal Term Limits, Amendment J (2008)
The South Dakota Repeal Term Limits Amendment, also known as Amendment J, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in South Dakota as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. The measure would have eliminated term limits for legislators. The South Dakotan public voted to enact term limits in 1992. The legislature made an unsuccessful bid in 2006 to repeal term limits by inserting it into a broader measure.
See also 2008 ballot measure election results
|South Dakota Amendment J (2008)|
Text of measure
The text of the measure can be read here.
Members of the legislature, including those who introduced the bill: Senators Napoli, Apa, Katus, and Representatives Haverly and Moore.
Senator Bill Napoli, a Republican from Rapid City, wrote the "pro" arguments for the state Ballot Question Pamphlet. Sen. Napoli was originally a supporter of term limits, but has since changed his mind:
- Limiting the amount of time that a legislator may serve will limit the amount of experienced people in the legislature.
- Limiting experience in the legislature leaves room for more experienced lobbyists to exert undue influence.
A No on Amendment J or Don't Touch Term Limits committee was formed in late September 2008 to oppose the effort to repeal South Dakota's term limits. The group raised $30,205 since July 1, with $30,000 coming from the national organization, U.S. Term Limits.
Vermilion Representative Eldon Nygaard spoke in favor of retaining term limits, saying they "serve an important purpose, forcing change upon the Legislature."
The South Dakota Conservative Action Council (SDCAC) opposed the measure.
Rick Skorupski and Jeff Partridge wrote the "con" arguments for the state Ballot Question Pamphlet. They are affiliates of Don't Touch Term Limits BQC:
- The legislators who put this measure on the ballot are indulging in a power grab - they wish to remove the limits set on their terms, but not on other branches of government.
- Term limits were already approved by 64% of voters - why change what the people obviously want?
- Continuing the current influx of new faces and new ideas into the legislature enabled by term limits can only lead to more and more fresh ideas and more competitive elections.
- Passage of this amendment would mean putting more power in the hands of incumbent politicians and the lobbyists who know them well.
Ballot Language Controversy
Opponents of the initiative mentioned concerns that the phrasing of the question on the ballot may be confusing to voters. According to Rick Skorupski, an affiliate of Don't Touch Term Limits says, "The big issue, and the big education challenge, is to make sure people know that if they vote 'Yes' because they favor term limits, they'll actually be voting to repeal that provision. A 'No' vote supports term limits." Senetor Napoli, a proponent of the measure, agrees that Skorupski might be right.
- See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.
|Month of Poll||Polling company||In Favor||Opposed||Undecided|
|October 2008||Sioux Falls Argus Leader||30 percent||55 percent||15 percent|
- South Dakota 2008 ballot measures
- 2008 ballot measures
- List of South Dakota ballot measures
- History of Initiative & Referendum in South Dakota
- South Dakota Political Almanac, South Dakota Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives and Referendums 1970-2010
- South Dakota Secretary of State: 2008 Ballot Question Text
- Constitutional Amendment J would eliminate term limits, but now is not the time, Dakota Voice, October 6, 2008
- Voters Will Decide Seven Issues, Marshall County Journal, October 1, 2008
- Some states have repealed legislative term limits Associated Press, April 14, 2008
- South Dakota Political Almanac, "South Dakota Constitutional Amendments, Initiatives and Referendums 1970-2010," accessed August 27, 2014
- South Dakota Secretary of State, "Historical Election Data," accessed August 27, 2014
- South Dakota Secretary of State, "2008 South Dakota Ballot Question pamphlet," accessed August 27, 2014
- Dakota Voice, "No on Amendment J group formed to oppose South Dakota term limit repeal," October 7, 2008
- Mitchell Republic, "Opponents of term limits repeal spend $30,000"
- Ballot item on term limits gains notice, Argus Leader, September 2, 2008
- Ballot might confuse voters on term limits, Argus Leader, October 9, 2008
- KELOLand TV, "KELO TV/Argus Leader Poll: Amendment J," October 22, 2008
State of South Dakota
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Secretary of Education | Director of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor | Chairman of Public Utilities |
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