The SDAHO Board of Trustees has taken a position on two ballot questions to be considered in November, choosing to oppose Initiated Measure 23 and support Constitutional Amendment R.

Initiated Measure 23

Having a job in South Dakota has never been dependent on being a member of a union or being required to pay money to a union. This is known as a “right to work” law, and it has been part of the South Dakota’s Constitution’s Bill of Rights since 1946.

Initiated Measure 23 (IM-23) would change South Dakota’s status as a right to work state. The text of IM-23 is vague, reading:

Section 1: Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, an organization, corporate or nonprofit, has the right to charge a fee for any service provided by the organization.

Beginning with the phrase “Notwithstanding any other provision of law,” IM-23 would effectively overrule South Dakota law prohibiting non-union employees from being required to pay union fees—SDCL § 60-9A-14. IM-23 is being paid for by out-of-state unions, specifically the International Union of Operating Engineers.

IM-23 will force hard-working South Dakota teachers, police, firefighters, nurses and factory workers, to pay fees to unions, even if they don’t want to.

Having a job in South Dakota has never been dependent on belonging to a labor organization or having to pay money to a union. That should not be changed. South Dakota is a right to work state not a pay to work state.

The board voted to oppose IM-23.

Constitutional Amendment R

The South Dakota Legislature passed the House Joint Resolution 1003 in 2015 to place Constitutional Amendment R on the 2016 ballot. Amendment R would change Article 12, Section 3 of the state Constitution to allow the South Dakota Legislature to clarify who is in charge of the state’s post-secondary vocational (vo-tech) schools. This effort was supported by the governor, the legislature and the Board of Regents (BOR)

Present practice is the BOR manages the state’s public universities, while vo-techs are run by local school boards. Amendment R clarifies that the vo-techs shall be governed separately from BOR by a mechanism specified by the legislature.

If approved by the voters, Constitutional Amendment R will clarify:

  • Postsecondary technical institutes will be governed separately in a manner to be determined by the Legislature.
  • BOR retains control over state-funded postsecondary educational institutions offering:
    • Associate of Arts degrees
    • Associate of Science and bachelor’s degrees
    • Post-graduate degrees

The board voted to support Constitutional Amendment R.