On June 9, 2022, South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) announced that an initiated state statute to expand Medicaid will appear on the ballot for November 8. The initiative will appear on the ballot as Initiated Measure 28.
This is the third measure to appear on the South Dakota ballot this November, and the second measure that would expand Medicaid.
The campaign supporting the measure, Dakotans for Health, submitted 23,000 signatures on May 3, 2022. In South Dakota, a citizen initiated measure needs 16,961 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. The Secretary of State then verifies the signatures using a random sample method. Based on the random sample, 17,249 signatures were deemed valid.
If enacted, Initiated Measure 28 would expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.
Another measure on the South Dakota ballot this November, Constitutional Amendment D, would also expand Medicaid in the same way. However, Constitutional Amendment D would amend the South Dakota Constitution, while Initiated Measure 28 would amend state statute.
Former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D), who sponsored the initiative with Dakotans for Health, stated that he would like to see both measures pass.
“My hope is that both of these will pass and it will send a very strong message to the people in power, to our legislature, to the governor,” Weiland said.
Weiland says that he views Initiated Amendment 28 as a backup plan in case Constitutional Amendment D is not successful.
“I think it’s really important that voters know that they’ve got two paths forward to pass Medicaid expansion this fall,” Weiland said, “A constitutional amendment, now an initiated law, and we’re encouraging them to vote for both.”
There three measures currently set to appear on the South Dakota ballot in November are:
- Constitutional Amendment D, an amendment to the South Dakota constitution which would require South Dakota to provide Medicaid benefits to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.
- Initiated Measure 27, an initiated state statute which would legalize marijuana for people 21 years old and over.
- Initiated Measure 28, an initiated state statute which would also expand Medicaid to adults between 18 and 65 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.
In South Dakota, 32 citizen-initiated measures have appeared on the ballot between 2000 and 2020. Twelve of them (37.5%) were approved and 20 of them (62.5%) were defeated.