HB 1275 could end initiative process

HB1275 once again attempts to implement a geographic diversity requirement to signatures on initiatives. The bill would require that the signatures come from at least two-thirds of the state’s legislative districts and that circulators reside in the county they’re collecting signatures in. Last year, I analyzed geographic area and voter population in each county. The bottom third of counties in terms of voter density have less than two voters per square mile.

With such low density, it would take more circulators traveling more distance in districts rural even by our standards to get questions on the ballot. The time and money just wouldn’t be there for volunteer efforts. Only well-heeled out-of-state interests would be able to fund such efforts under such a scheme. Those are the interests the legislators say they want to prevent from using us “as a petri dish.”

The legislators say they want ballot questions to be representative of South Dakota; that's what the vote is for. The legislators say they don’t want to keep us from being able to use the initiative process; this would. They know full well what they’re doing with this and all the other attacks on initiative. Contact them. Stop them.

Nick Zachariasen

Sioux Falls

Environment is worth fighting for

I’m a life-long resident of South Dakota (eight plus decades), so why should I care about our state’s environment at this late stage? Here’s why: my most cherished memories are those family activities - hiking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, swimming and trail riding.

All these are dependent on a healthy environment.

Decisions by elected or appointed officials can positively or negatively affect our state. Two issues of concern are water quality and climate change. By being knowledgeable about these issues, residents can be part of the decision-making process. Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an international organization dedicated to climate change solutions, helps the public and our legislators stay informed.

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Your interest and support for groups such as these are necessary for their effectiveness. There are several active chapters in South Dakota, including the Black Hill chapter. Visit Citizens’ Climate Lobby website for more information.

South Dakota is a great place to live. Let’s keep it that way for future generations. It’s up to us!

Kathy Rick

Rapid City 

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