Rep. G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) wants special treatment for his new out-of-state friends’ revised version of Marsy’s Law, the crime victims bill of rights. That special treatment will cost South Dakota up to $200,000.
Rep. Tim Reed (R-7/Brookings) went to Senate Appropriations Thursday and surrendered his House Bill 1162 to Speaker Mickelson, who brought what Reed called a “friendly” hoghouse amendment. Speaker Mickelson and his anti-democracy pal Senator Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton) tag-teamed at the mic to explain their desire to put House Joint Resolution 1004, their “fix” to the crime victim bill or rights on a special ballot in June instead of on the general election ballot with all the other ballot measures in November.
The HB 1162 hoghouse has eight parts, many of which show how many laws and divisions of power Speaker Mickelson has to break to get this special treatment for his out-of-state friends:
- Section 1 redundantly places HJR 1004, the Marsy’s Law fix, on the June primary ballot. (HJR 1004, as amended in the Senate and awaiting House concurrence, already does that.)
- Section 2 excepts HJR 1004 from the ballot timeframe in SDCL 12-13-1 and orders Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to certify the proposed amendment for the primary ballot by April 11.
- Section 3 excepts HJR 1004 from SDCL 12-13-9 and orders Attorney General Marty Jackley to produce a statement, title, explanation, and Yes/NO recitation for the amendment by March 27.
- Section 4 excepts HJR 1004 from SDCL 12-13-2 and orders all county auditors to send copies of the amendment to their official papers by May 1.
- Section 5 appropriates up to $200,000 to the Secretary of State’s office to pay for printing ballots and other costs of this special initiative vote.
- Section 6 authorizes this emergency spending.
- Section 7 reverts any funds not spent to the general fund.
- Section 8 is the emergency clause.
Both the emergency clause and the appropriation require the Senate and House to muster two-thirds votes to pass the HB 1162 hoghouse.
Now the cost of this special election may be recouped by the changes HJR 1004 would make if passed by the voters. Speaker Mickelson claims Pennington County is spending $400K more due to Marsy’s Law; Senator Bolin claimed Lincoln County has over $300K in additional expenses in less than a year. Back in 2016, right after passage of Marsy’s Law, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposed budget projected perhaps $600,000 more in state spending caused by Marsy’s Law. Neither Mickelson nor Bolin quantified how much HJR 1004 will save.
Mickelson did note that California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas had sent his Las Vegas organizer Erinn Mahathey to testify for the bill, yet, strangely, Mahathey continues to list her place of origin on committee sign-in sheets as “Pierre.” Mahathey claimed polls show 80% of South Dakotans want to keep her boss’s vanity bill and urged the committee to pass the HB 1162 hoghouse and let this vote happen as soon as possible to save the counties lots of money.
Note: in 2016, the Republicans backing the crime victim bill of rights poo-pooed opponents’ arguments that the measure would cost a lot of money. Now in 2018, the Marsy’s Law are claiming that making the changes Mickelson proposes will save counties a lot of money.
Appropriator and Senator Reynold Nesiba (D-15/Sioux Falls) criticized the Speaker and his out-of-state friends for wanting to move HJR 1004 to an early election in which far fewer South Dakotans will come vote than in the general election. He complained that HB 1162 included no fiscal note to quantify the “suppositions from various members.” He urged his colleagues to oppose the HB 1162 hoghouse “about as fiercely as I possibly can.”
Chairman Larry Tidemann (R-7/Brookings) said the dollar amount written in the bill “is the fiscal note.”
Speaker Mickelson responded with clear snark:
Mickelson: Well, you know, I’ve never expected common sense to…. Sometimes we can live in theory or we can live in practice, and the practice is, if you talk to your county commissioners, Senator Nesiba—
Nesiba: I will.
Mickelson: You should have already [Senate Appropriations, 2018.03.01, time 20:10].
When he got done violating committee protocol, Mickelson added that Minnehaha estimates its Marsy’s Law costs at $200K and mentioned that Marsy’s Law is keeping a woman from Watertown getting the accident report she needs to resolve her dead husband’s estate.
Mickelson also said that it’s very hard to make adjustments to the constitution, which further flies in the face of the argument Mickelson, Bolin, and other anti-initiative figures have been making to justify making it harder to amend our constitution.
Senate Appropriations approved the hoghouse 7–2, along party lines. It goes now to the Senate.