If I were a Republican legislator running for Governor, here’s the statement I would have released Wednesday (and retweeted this coming Monday to get back in the news cycle after everyone recovers from turkey and shopping) to blast Kristi Noem for overturning the will of the people on Amendment A:
Today, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Amendment A (Medical Marijuana, Hemp, and Recreational Marijuana) was an unconstitutional initiated measure, and was rejected by the Court on a technicality called the single-subject rule, a subjective and infinitely malleable standard that disrespects the wisdom of the voters, chokes our cherished right of initiative, and has no place in our state Constitution.
The voters definitely supported decriminalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana. However, by fouling this reasonable amendment with taxpayer-funded courtroom antics, Governor Kristi Noem showed her contempt for the voters and for the basic principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, property rights, and limited government engraved in our party platform That is why it is important to replace Kristi Noem with a Governor who puts Us the People and our principles above her own attention-seeking ambitions.
The Legislature is keenly aware of the public’s concern that the people’s voice must be heard and respected. As a result, I am drafting two pieces of legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session: a bill to reinstate the marijuana-related provisions voters approved in 2020, and a resolution to place before the voters an amendment to repeal the absurd and unnecessary single-subject rule [Alt-Universe Heidelberger for Governor, press release, 2021.11.24].
Back in our actual universe, we are stuck with Republican Steve Haugaard missing an opportunity to fry the Governor, win supporters, and promote the will of the people and instead pouring out this wrong-headed mumbledy-peg:
“Today, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Amendment A (Medical Marijuana, Hemp, and Recreational Marijuana) was an unconstitutional initiated measure, and was rejected by the Court on a technicality, due to the fact that it included more than one subject,” Haugaard explained.
“The voters definitely supported the availability of medical marijuana (which passed in IM 26 and remains as law) and it appeared voters were generally intending to support the idea of decriminalizing the use and possession of ‘recreational marijuana.’ However, the concern is that voters were left with some confusion as to whether both had to pass to legalize medical. That is why it is important to make sure that each measure contemplates only one subject, and that is why the Court ruled against it.”
Haugaard continued, “The Legislature is keenly aware of the public’s concern that the people’s voice must be heard and respected. As a result, the Legislature has already been working on bills and recommendations for the upcoming Session to work through the issues surrounding marijuana. It will be a subject of special interest during the Session” [Steve Haugaard for Governor, press release, 2021.11.24].
Haugaard’s first paragraph fails as a campaign statement as he endorses Kristi Noem’s twisted position as “fact.”
Haugaard’s second paragraph reinforces that position, but it also veers off into an unrelated and unfounded claim about voter intent that distracts from what the focus of every communication from his campaign should be: demonstrating his superiority to the callous corruption of Kristi Noem.
Haugaard’s third paragraph offers vague promises that sound like the usual Republican caucus secret-keeping instead of the bold leadership any Noem challenger must promise. Haugaard doesn’t tell us what measures he would support. He doesn’t promise to reinstate the popular will that Noem has thwarted. He doesn’t promise to take a personal role in passing any legislation. The Legislature isn’t running for Governor, Steve; you are! Don’t just say others are going to talk about the problem; say, “I will propose and advocate and pass Solutions X, Y, and Z!”
It’s frustrating being a Democrat and knowing I could be a better Republican candidate than the challengers who float to the top of the GOP pool.