When South Dakota voters go to the polls on Tuesday they're not only deciding candidates. They'll be deciding the fate of several constitutional amendments and initiatives.
There are four constitutional amendments on the ballot. Amendment M gives corporations more flexibility by removing restrictions on how corporate directors can be elected and how corporate stocks and bonds can be issued.
South Dakota's constitution, written more than 100 years ago, sets the travel reimbursement rate for state lawmakers at five cents a mile. Amendment N would repeal it.
Amendment O changes how cement plant trust funds are distributed by requiring a set, yearly transfer into the state general fund for education.
The last constitutional amendment and the other three ballot measures are a little more controversial. Amendment P requires the state to have a balanced budget. Supporters like Governor Daugaard say it puts safeguards in place. Opponents claim it weakens the state's constitution.
There's also Initiated Measure 15, which increases the state sales tax by a penny, taking it from four to five percent. The money would only fund K-12 public education and Medicaid. Supporters say helps children and the most vulnerable. Opponents say it'll force taxpayers to pay an additional $180 million a year in taxes.
Referred Law 14 establishes the "Large Project Development Fund" where contractor excise tax revenues would be used by the South Dakota Board of Economic Development as grant money for projects that are bigger than $5 million. Supporters say it'll help bring in jobs and industry. Opponents say it costs too much and doesn't provide enough accountability.
And finally Referred Law 16, which is considered an education reform act. It establishes a scholarship program for college students who become teachers, creates math and science teacher bonuses, and merit bonuses. It also eliminates teacher tenure.
Supporters say it's a multi-million dollar commitment to teachers and will improve student achievement. Opponents say it'll result in standardized programs and shift control of a child's education from school boards to politicians in Pierre.
You can find more information about these ballot measures on the Secretary of State website when you click here.
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