Contact Your Legislator to Oppose HB 1200

Don’t Allow Your Free Speech to be Silenced

The legislature repealed Measure 22 for constitutional reasons. Legislators expressed frustration that the drafters of IM22 would move forward with a ballot measure that they had been told was likely unconstitutional. Now, here comes HB 1200 which is an attempt to restrict the constitutional right to free speech.

The political speech surrounding IM 22 was deceptive and at times quite vicious. That doesn’t mean that free speech should be silenced.

South Dakotans have the right to support causes they believe in without fear of retribution, and HB 1200 would remove that protection.

The IRS has determined that citizens who make charitable contributions to 501(c) issue advocacy organizations are entitled to anonymous free speech, because of the sensitive nature of the issues that these groups advocate for or against. Several court cases have upheld this right.

HB 1200 would force all 501(c) organizations to either spend less than $50,000 on their issues, which would limit their impact, OR to place the names, addresses, and employers of their supporters on a searchable government database. Imagine if everyone knew your name, home address, employer, and the amounts you donate to your favorite charities!

When other states have tried legislation similar to this, it resulted in cases where people lost their jobs because their beliefs were different than their employers.

We are better off as a state when more people engage in political discussion, not less. Transparency is important for our government. Private citizens deserve privacy.