Elevate Rapid City Position on the 2020 General Election Ballot Measures

October 08, 2020

Written By: Elevate Rapid City Staff

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Elevate Rapid City is committed to promoting business and personal advancement in western South Dakota through a targeted spotlight on jobs, infrastructure, and overall quality of life in and around the Black Hills region and Rapid City metro area.  Together, we strive to embrace the heart and soul of our community through diversified growth and strong professional opportunities advocating the strengths of the Black Hills.

Elevate encourages all South Dakotans to vote in the 2020 General Election. In addition to electing public officials on the state and national level, this year South Dakotans will also find three ballot measures.

As the leading advocate promoting business and personal advancement, Elevate Rapid City has taken a stance on two of these ballot measures. We would encourage you to vote "NO" on Constitutional Amendment A and "YES" on Constitutional Amendment B. To learn more about why the Elevate has taken these stances, please read the following summaries:

Constitutional Amendment A

Approval of Constitutional Amendment A would legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana for South Dakota citizens 21 years or older. Legalization of marijuana (or any substance) should be done through the legislature instead of the constitution. Any change, for example increasing the one-ounce limit, would have to once again be put to the vote of the people—a process that is lengthy, expensive, and inefficient.

Constitutional Amendment A is also a workforce issue. Currently, there is no standard of what constitutes impairment. This creates a challenging human resource and legal environment for employers, and employers may be at risk in the future to not be able to hold “impaired” employees accountable to their own HR policies. Elevate would urge a NO on Constitutional Amendment A.

Constitutional Amendment B

Approval of Constitutional Amendment B would legalize sports wagering in Deadwood. The gaming industry in Deadwood positively impacts and benefits the Black Hills region. In 2019 $15.3 million in gaming revenue taxes was paid to the region through state, county and municipal governments as well as local school districts. The industry employs more than 1,200 people paying around $47 million in wages, benefits and tips each year. Supporting Constitutional Amendment B allows the region to entice visitation and keep the Deadwood area competitive with surrounding gaming jurisdictions. This means to increase revenue and resources in support of the area’s schools, community resources and the workforce. Elevate would urge a YES on Constitutional Amendment B.

The Process

These positions were voted on by the Elevate Board of Directors. The Public Policy Committee, comprised of volunteer business leaders and industry experts, heard from proponents and opponents of all initiatives to inform their recommendation to the Board.

The most important thing for individuals to do, is get out and vote. Early voting began September 18. You can register to vote until October 18. Polls will be open 7 am – 7 pm on Tuesday, November 3.

For more information about Elevate’s Advocacy work please contact Public Policy Director, Anna Hays (605.718.8480).