Republican activist Jason Glodt shoehorned his way onto the agenda of the Jolene’s Law Task Force yesterday. Co-opting precious minutes away from a meeting dedicated mostly to practical responses to child sexual abuse, Glodt gained some free press to persuade us that the crime victims bill of rights (a.k.a. “Marsy’s Law”) he’s fronting for out-of-state activists is not just cover for the fake 18%-rate-cap petition that has been consistently paired with his petition by out-of-state mercenery circulators.
Glodt admitted to the task force that “There may not be a lot of overlap between Jolene’s Law and Marsy’s Law.” (The original criminal case that sparked the Marsy’s Law movement in California had nothing to do with child sexual abuse.) Glodt also admitted that his proposal could increase the workload for our courts:
Rep. Peggy Gibson, D-Huron, asked how a victim would proceed if the rights guaranteed in the amendment weren’t upheld. She asked what the follow-through and penalties would be.
Glodt said the victim could sue the government and the judge. “This makes those rights enforceable. It really gives victims a hammer to have their rights enforced,” he said [Bob Mercer, “Victim Rights Constitutional Amendment Depends on SAVIN Technology to Work,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.10.27].
Glodt also acknowledge that state’s attorneys’ offices lack the staff to handle the “expensive and time-consuming” demands of his amendment and that the practical implementation of his proposed victims’ rights depends on successful installation of the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification system (SAVIN), a system not yet working in South Dakota. According to Hughes County state’s attorney Wendy Kloeppner, no crime victims are able to log into the Hughes County’s pilot system. When asked by Kloeppner whether his crime victims bill of rights proposal also provides counties with resources to comply with its requirements, Glodt said no, that his proposal depends on SAVIN:
Glodt said, “In answer to your question, the SAVIN system is the solution.”
He said Minnehaha County has two full-time victim assistants and sought a third. He said SAVIN would streamline the system and reduce workloads. He later added that the victim rights amendment wouldn’t be possible with SAVIN [Mercer, 2015.10.27].
Glodt here confirms the concern I raised when he released his amendment in July: his proposal creates a costly bureaucratic nightmare for the state. Glodt also stated in response to a question from Rep. Peggy Gibson (D-22/Beadle) that his amendment gives victims the right to consult with a government attorney without charge. I don’t know of any information technology system that will provide that service; that’s a new obligation imposed on a state’s attorney or deputy, increasing that public employee’s workload and the public expense.
Voters occasionally ask me about the tax and budget impact of the ballot measures I’m circulating. The four ballot measures I’ve circulated have little to no fiscal impact:
- Killing Referred Law 19, the Legislature’s ill-considered petition-reform bill, increases nobody’s taxes. Preventing the Legislature from raising petition signature requirements and excluding Independents from the ballot may keep the door open for more contested races, but the state and counties budget on the assumption that elections will happen.
- Killing Referred Law 20, Senator David Novstrup’s attempt to cut the minimum wage for young workers and undermine the integrity of the initiative process, increases nobody’s taxes.
- Passing the independent redistricting commission amendment to stop gerrymandering, increases nobody’s taxes. It reduces the number of people involved in redistricting from 105 legislators to nine commission members. It might actually save the state money.
- Passing the real 36% interest rate cap on payday loans increases nobody’s taxes.
Signing those four petitions and voting the way I and many of my fellow liberal Democrats want you to vote doesn’t cost taxpayers money. Signing Republican Jason Glodt’s petition and enacting his proposal creates all sorts of costly paperwork, notification, research, and meeting obligations for public employees. Glodt’s proposal provides no funding mechanism; Glodt is counting on a magic technofix which isn’t functioning in South Dakota yet and which cannot provide the crucial services required by Glodt’s proposal or lower the cost of the lawsuits against judges and the state on which Glodt’s proposal relies for enforcement.
We are fortunate that the Jolene’s Law Task Force allowed Jason Glodt to distract them momentarily yesterday. Glodt’s testimony shows us the costly bureaucratic flaws of his crime victims bill of rights.
By the way, the state authorized the Attorney General to implement the SAVIN system in Section 76 of Governor Daugaard’s omnibus criminal justice reform law, 2013’s Senate Bill 70, another example of how easy it is to get legislators to back something labeled “victims rights.”