Maybe we can blame Big Pharma for Shantel Krebs’s loss in the GOP U.S. House primary. If she hadn’t had to spend part of May writing up her response to their lawsuit against the Initiated Measure 26 petition, she could’ve campaigned hard enough to flip the 8,796 Dusty voters she needed to win, right?
No, probably not. Assistant Attorney General Ann Bailey probably handled most of the work in composing the state’s eight-page June 1 response. To defend the Secretary’s certification of the IM 26 petition and ensure that the prescription drug price cap remains on the November ballot, the state asserts the following:
- Big Pharma’s claims that the IM 26 petition includes 414 duplicate signatures, 1,371 illegible signatures, and 6,975 signatures from individuals not registered to vote are bogus. If Big Pharma fails to prove those claims, the final signature count would 15,176, just 692 fewer than the Secretary’s original calculated signature count and 1,305 more than necessary to qualify for the ballot.
- Big Pharma has “not stated a claim upon which relief may be granted” and does not “seek to compel an act for which they have a right as required by SDCL § 21-29-1.” (I’ll let the lawyers elaborate on why an industry affected by a ballot question or why any interested citizen does not have a right to point out that a petition is bogus and ask that the petition be tossed for failure to follow petition law.)
- Big Pharma failed to join IM 26 sponsor Clara Hart, “an indispensible party,” to the lawsuit as SDCL 15-6-19(a) requires. Big Pharma subpoenaed Hart to be deposed last week, so perhaps they’ll rectify that shortcoming to the suit shortly.
#2 and #3 are technical arguments; #1 is the factual question: does the IM 26 petition contain at least 13,871 valid signatures or not? Luckily for us, Secretary Krebs didn’t win the Republican nomination for U.S. House, so she can dedicate her full attention to defending her signature count and the people’s will to vote on IM 26.