IM 24 ruling could come this week

MGN
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(SDBA) - A Federal Judge in Aberdeen says he could rule on South Dakota’s IM24 as early as the end of this week.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann told attorneys on Friday that he would issue a written opinion on the matter of South Dakota’s ban on out of state contributions to ballot question initiatives as early as this week and no later than June 1.

The South Dakota Broadcasters Association reports Kornmann said that because the new law must be enacted on July 1 he was preparing to rule on a permanent injunction – meaning his ruling would be final short of an appeal to the U.S. Eighth Circuit.

He then rapidly denied a plaintiff’s request to consolidate cases, denied a State request to stay for more time, and then announced, “this is going to be a trail on merits today.”

What followed surprised many in the courtroom; Judge Kornamm offered his thoughts on the case to date and expressed his concerns with the implementation of the law, saying he was “concerned” among other matters that “this thing prohibits contributions in the form of volunteers from out of state.”

Judge Kornman went on to say that “in kind are more valuable, or may be, than cash” and that, “in kind amounts to a financial contribution.”

He voiced concern regarding IM 24, pointing out the law, “does not make an effort” to limit out of state contributions to elected officials and only impacts ballot question committees.

The court heard more than ninety minutes of argument and witness testimony and received hundreds of pages of written documentation and affidavits.

Judge Kornmann concluded Friday’s hearing saying that he planned to rule very quickly and that his calendar was clear all week allowing him to work on his written opinion.