January 19, 2022

Special Events


South Dakota Chamber Of Commerce - Capitol-ism E-Newsletter

Masthead will be updated to "2022" for the next issue.

January 19, 2022

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Amendment C for Having More Than a Single Subject

Group filing the lawsuit asked Chamber President David Owen to be a plaintiff

Owen is taking this action as an individual; not as part of his Chamber position

The Chamber is not part of the lawsuit and is not funding any part of the process

Chamber Board and David Owen desires for our members to be directly informed and
made aware of this activity


First topic: What is Amendment C and why would anyone want to file a lawsuit about it?

Amendment C is a constitutional amendment that would change South Dakota’s Constitution in two ways.  First, it would say that any ballot measure that increases taxes or fees will need to get a 60% majority rather than a simple 50% + 1 majority under the current law.  Second, it would say that any ballot measure that requires the legislature to appropriate more than $10 million a year during the first 5 years would also need the 60% majority.  

The Chamber has objected to Amendment C, taking issue with the manner in which it was placed on the June ballot by the legislature.  It was placed on the June primary ballot by having the legislature suspend the normal rules that say when ballot measures are placed on the ballot by the legislature, they must be placed on the next general election ballot.

During the final debate on HJR 5003 (now called Amendment C), the Senate suspended that rule and placed it on the June primary ballot.  Later, the House of Representatives concurred in that change.  This was done to increase the vote required to pass Medicaid expansion in the fall from 50% to 60%.  The Chamber has not taken a position on Medicaid expansion (also on the ballot via signatures as Amendment D) but the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry objects to this move that changes the rules in the middle of the initiative process.

It is important to note that the Chamber has also not taken a position on the concept of a super-majority vote as proposed by Amendment C.  It has only objected to the way it has been placed before the voters.

A new element has developed regarding Amendment C.  This new element stems from the South Dakota Supreme Court’s ruling on Amendment A, dealing with recreational marijuana, in which they declared the amendment unconstitutional because it proposed more than a single subject.  In like manner, Amendment C proposes more than a single subject; (1) increasing the needed votes for tax and fee increases to sixty percent AND (2) increasing the needed votes for ballot measures that require and appropriation of more than ten million dollars.  Taxes are in a separate article of the state’s constitution that is appropriations.  

It is important for Chamber members to know that a legal suit has been filed to challenge Amendment C on the grounds that is covers more than a single topic and the group preparing that lawsuit asked David Owen to join the suit as an individual.

Why him?  David Owen has been asked to join the suit because he is a registered voter living in Minnehaha County and because he has a long history of involvement with ballot issues.  He understands the arguments needed to be made and has the skills to communicate the purpose of the suit to the public and civic leaders. 

Due to David’s leadership position at the Chamber, the Executive Committee met to discuss the perceived connection between David’s individual action in this suit and any implications it may have for the Chamber.  After lengthy discussion, the Executive Committee determined that there appeared to be no reason to prevent David from taking this action as an individual.  Furthermore, no financial support will be provided by the Chamber to support David in this individual action, nor will the Chamber pay to support any portion of the lawsuit.

Here is the rationale used by the Executive Board to approve David’s individual action:

  • David Owen will be acting in a private capacity as an individual. 
  • David Owen will in no way leverage, use, or represent his role as the President of the State Chamber in any communication associated with this lawsuit.
  • The Chamber has no financial impact with this action taken by David Owen.
  • The Chamber Board has previously approved opposing the manner in which Amendment C was moved to the June Primary Ballot

Here is a Summary of Positions on Amendment C and related issues:

  • Amendment C (June ballot) which sets super majority vote requirements for tax/fee increases and ballot measures appropriating ten million dollars per year.
o   The Chamber has also not taken a position on the concept of super-majority votes as proposed by Amendment C.  It has only objected to the way it has been placed before the voters and that the action was taken by suspending the legislature’s rules and this vote was done without a public hearing.
  • Medicaid Expansion (Amendment D November ballot) 
o   The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry has not determined a position (such as support/oppose/remain neutral) on Medicaid Expansion.

If you have additional questions on this, please email contactus@sdchamber.biz.  Thank you for your membership.

Think vaccines are good for your employees?

This Bill Will Make You Sick

One of the more contentious issues today is whether a business can require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.  The current application concerns the Covid vaccines and the booster shots.  HB 1008 goes a step further and subjects businesses that require any vaccines to possible legal action from any employee that claims those vaccines has harmed them in any manner.

Read the text below carefully.  This bill isn’t just talking about Covid vaccines – it includes all those childhood shots that are required to attend school and the ones your parents took you to the doctor to receive which caused thousands of kids to plan on running away from home.

Why a business would bother to require vaccinations that were required for everyone to attend school is not explained within the language of the bill.  Read the entire bill below and know your Chamber membership will be fighting this more than a youngster being approached by a needle-wielding nurse!

HB 1008 -
An Act to provide a cause of action for certain employees that are required to receive a vaccination as a condition of employment and to declare an emergency.
 Representative Deutsch (R-Florence) 

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of South Dakota:

Section 1. That chapter 60-2 be amended with a NEW SECTION:

An employee may bring a claim against an employer in a court of competent jurisdiction for actual and punitive damages for injuries or illness caused by a vaccination if the employer required the employee to receive a vaccination as a condition of employment.

No employer may invoke any limitation of liability or damages, or immunity, authorized by state law, when subject to a claim under this section.

For the purposes of this section, the term, employer, means any person or entity that has one or more employees, the state and any political subdivision of the state, and any agent thereof.


Section 2. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.  (underlined text means the language is new law).


The 2022 Legislative Session by the Numbers

Here is a summary of what legislators do when they are not being lawmakers:

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Schedule of Events
1:30 - Legislative Briefing and Business Caucus
3:00 - Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presenting from Washington, DC
5:00 - Business Day Reception
6:00 - Program featuring Chamber Award presentations and featured speaker

Announcing our first honoree:
            The Outstanding Public Servant Award will be presented posthumously to
                James Soyer 

7:00 - Adjourn

Register at https:/bit.ly/3oD5pOR

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