Debates continue over constitutionality of Initiated Measure 22

Published: Jan. 30, 2017 at 4:59 PM CST
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This Wednesday, South Dakota lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a proposed repeal of Initiated Measure 22.

The repeal issues a state of emergency, citing a judge's stay of the measure.

But ahead of the legislative repeal, the two sides are still arguing its constitutionality.

This repeal proposal has an emergency clause attached to it, which means if South Dakota lawmakers do repeal Initiated Measure 22, it would not be able to be referred back to the voters for their approval.

"This is such a fragrant abuse of the political power when you have a state with no checks and balances, and frankly IM 22 was an effort to provide some checks and balances," Rick Weiland, the original sponsor of IM 22, said.

"Rick Weiland and his friends have an obligation to comply with our constitution," Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson said. "They were warned by the legislative research council and they were warned by the attorney general that their measure likely contains several unconstitutional provisions."

State lawmakers who want to see the measure repealed argue a judge's stay of the measure proves it violates South Dakota's constitution.

But Weiland says the judges ruling simply says constitutionality should be determined by a higher court.

"Its a temporary ruling until you get down the street, that's what happened in the 6th Circuit Court, it wasn't a decision based on the constitutionality of the bill, it was kick it to the Supreme Court and let them weigh in," Weiland said.

Weiland said if the legislature votes to repeal the measure with the emergency clause this week, it will never make it to the Supreme Court or the voters, to give their opinion on the issue.

Republican lawmakers say even though they plan to repeal IM 22, they will respect the will of the voters by passing legislation that covers some of its key points.