Three ballot issues passed – now what?
By Mark Lee
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
In the November general election all three ballot measures passed. They included Initiated Measure 17 known as any willing provider; Initiated Measure 18 raising the minimum wage; and Constitutional Amendment Q to allow keno, craps and roulette in Deadwood casinos. Below is an explanation of the implementation and affects of these three measures.
IM 17 – ANY WILLING PROVIDER
The measure is law right now. However, you cannot simply find any doctor you want and assume the doctor will be considered part of your current insurance provider network. In fact, doctors will have to apply to be included in provider networks and be accepted in them before the network will honor their services as "in network." The Chamber is not sure how this will play out or how much time it will take to practically implement this measure that is law now.
IM 18 – MINIMUM WAGE
This measure takes effect on Jan. 1, 2015 – in less than one month. Beginning then, the new minimum wage will be $8.50 per hour and the minimum wage for tipped employees will be 50 percent of the prevailing minimum wage or $4.25.
The third component of the measure ties wage increases to the national Consumer Price Index (CPI). This will be measured in August 2015 compared to August 2014 and wages will be adjusted beginning Jan. 1, 2016. In no case may the wage decrease and the wage must be rounded-up to the nearest 5 cents. For example, if the CPI in August 2015 is measured 3 percent over August 2014, the precise calculation would be $8.755. Though not confirmed, it appears this would be rounded-up to $8.80 per hour and the tipped wage would be $4.40 per hour or effectively a 3.53 percent increase.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT Q – KENO, CRAPS AND ROULETTE
Effectively, South Dakota´s State Constitution is amended now, but don´t plan to place any bets on these games in the near future. In short, Article 3 Section 25 notes that the Legislature may authorize games in Deadwood. Of course, it already has done so with games like slot machines and card games so those are in place. It will take another act of the Legislature to authorize the three games in this amendment. Thus, a bill will need to be presented during the 2015 session to accomplish this.
Also, keep in mind that Native American casinos can only allow games that are authorized by the state. Thus, if the Legislature acts to authorize these new games, they will also very likely be offered in these casinos as well.
Just to clarify, the legislature still has options with respect to the three ballot issues. As noted above, affirmative action is needed on Amendment Q. The legislature could choose to not authorize.
Remember, however, the initiated measures are simply laws on the books of South Dakota. Like any measure passed by the legislature, they can be amended or repealed by an act of the legislature and the Governor´s signature.