Press "Enter" to skip to content

Temptation: Will Anyone Oppose Amendment Y, Marsy’s Fix?

This is fun: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is soliciting submissions for opponent statements to Amendment X, G. Mark Mickelson’s cowardlyMarsy’s Fix“!

The South Dakota Secretary of State is seeking an opponent statement for Constitutional Amendment Y, an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution revising certain provisions relating to the rights of crime victims, to include in the ballot question information pamphlet for the Primary election.

…The opponent summary may be no more than 300 words. If the summary contains testimonials or stories about real people, the subjects must sign a notarized release authorizing the inclusion of their testimonial or story in the pamphlet.

Please submit your statement to the Secretary of State’s office no later than 5:00 pm central time on Tuesday, April 3rd.

Fax: (605) 773-6580
Mail: 500 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 204, Pierre, SD 57501

[South Dakota Secretary of State’s office, press release, 2018.03.29]

House Joint Resolution 1004, the measure that placed Marsy’s Fix on the ballot, drew no opponent testimony in either committee. It drew no Nays until the Senate amended it to place Marsy’s Fix on the primary ballot instead of the general election ballot like the rest of this year’s ballot measure. Our tax dollars have already been appropriated and will be spent by the time we get our primary ballots, so those 200,000 reasons for opposing HJR 1004 will be moot when we vote on Amendment Y.

So who would dare to publicly oppose a measure that purports to reduce costs for counties while preserving the crime victims rights that are so dear to Kelsey Grammer and his California billionaire friend Henry T. Nicholas?

Why Y? Kelsey Grammer & Henry T. NicholasMarsy’s Law is an abomination, graffiti scrawled across our constitution by a California billionaire who has never set foot in our state to explore or explain the need for his proposal in South Dakota. Amendment Y—Marsy’s Fix—etches this abomination indelibly into our constitution.

When first proposed by legislators, Amendment Y originally offered the one true fix for Marsy’s Law—complete repeal of this unnecessary, costly, and unconstitutional amendment. But when that California billionaire came waving his money, legislators caved and offered Marsy’s Fix to appease him.

Amendment Y promises to save some money, though no one has explained how much, and Marsy’s Law will still place demands on county budgets that didn’t exist before that California billionaire barged into our constitution. Amendment Y is actually costing us more money right now by its special placement on this primary ballot. Amendment Y also does nothing to address Marsy’s Law’s unjust infringement on the sacred principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

By failing to take this bull by the horns, by letting Amendment Y pass, we will only strengthen the California billionaire’s ability to force his vanity project down the throats of other states, imposing untold expense on taxpayers across America as he has imposed on us.

If we really want to help counties, we should reject this appeasers’ proposal and demand that the Legislature return to its original, braver, wiser idea: repeal Marsy’s Law completely. Send a message to America that this California billionaire’s folly does not protect victims, does not protect due process, and does not belong in any state’s constitution [CAH, draft opponent statement to Amendment Y, 2018.03.30].

260 words. I welcome your suggestions, revisions, and warnings (like “Cory! Don’t do it!”) over the weekend. But if no one else jumps at Secretary Krebs’s invitation, then for the sake of civic debate, for the sake of offering voters opposing views to weigh at the polls, I’ll submit a revised opponent’s statement on Monday.


  1. Spencer 2018-03-30 14:33

    No, Cory, this is probably the best idea you have had in an long time. It is stunts like this that have greatly harmed the initiative measure and amendment process in South Dakota.

  2. Donald Pay 2018-03-30 16:18

    I love it. I’d add a short statement something like this: “Placing this Amendment on a primary ballot, rather than following South Dakota’s culture and custom of placing all such Constitutional amendments on a general election ballot is a corruption of the normal process, a time-gerrymander of the electorate. Even if you might support some of the provisions of this Amendment, you can send a message to the Legislature that such corruption does not meet your approval.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-30 16:29

    66 words, Donald! We have 40 available. I’ll look for ways to shorten both your suggestion and my draft to make it fit.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-30 16:30

    Spencer, really? I’m always pleasantly surprised when we agree. :-) Elaborate on your thought: how does this “stunt” (and I assume you mean Mickelson’s proposal) harm the I&R process?

  5. Donald Pay 2018-03-30 16:43

    “South Dakota’s culture is to consider Constitutional Amendments at General Elections, not Primary Elections. This vote is corrupt, a time-gerrymander of the electorate. Voting “NO” sends a message to legislators that corrupting the process is not approved.”

  6. Bucko Bear 2018-03-30 17:20

    The other message to send is to vote out any incumbent who voted for this monstrosity.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-31 07:56

    Bucko Bear, would Krebs would allow such an electioneering statement in the ballot question pamphlet?

  8. John W 2018-03-31 11:22

    Wait a minute??? Isn’t she passing off her or the AG’s job on the general population? Seems to me it is up to the AG to provide the pro and con statements………. Talk about passing the buck!!! If this administration can’t be objective enough to put something together that is fair and factual, then every last one of them need to go down the road kicking their lunch bucket.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-31 17:26

    Au contraire, John W! She’s doing exactly the job spelled out for her in SDCL 12-13-23: “The secretary of state shall compile the public information by printing a statement in support of the constitutional amendment, initiated, or referred measure written by its proponents, if any can be identified, and a statement against the constitutional amendment, initiated, or referred measure written by its opponents, if any can be identified.” The AG’s explanation, plus his title and Yes/No recitation, will also be in the ballot question pamphlet.

    The AG’s explanation should be entirely neutral; the Pro/Con statements are free shots for proponents and opponents.

  10. Nick Nemec 2018-04-01 09:57

    Does statute describe a procedure to pick a con statement if more than one is submitted?

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-01 12:01

    Nick, I think the answer is No!

    SDCL 12-13-23 simply says the SOS “shall compile the public information by printing a statement in support… and a statement against….” The statute speaks of printing single statements, one Pro, one Con. It does not speak to how many statements may be solicited for consideration.

    I don’t see any administrative rule addressing the ballot question pamphlet. Eeny-meeny-miny-mo?

  12. John W 2018-04-01 13:31

    I stand corrected………… I should know better than to open my yap before digging into codified law. I just had this overwhelming notion that any politico firmly fastened to Trumps coat tails was doing something bass ackwards.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-04-03 09:22

    I understand the error, John W. I operate under a similar default assumption about G. Mark Mickelson. Every now and then he does something right… like… hmm… like… oh! like not running for reëlection! But for the most part, if Mickelson’s doing it, we should be wary, as we should of any actions by the one-party regime in Pierre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.