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HJR 5001: Prohibit Immediate Retries of Failed Initiated Amendments

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… but first sit around and wait for four years?

In another attack on the right of the people to make their own laws, Republicans Representative Fred Deutsch (R-5/Florence) and Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) are proposing House Joint Resolution 5001, a constitutional amendment to hinder South Dakotans from trying again to pass rejected initiated amendments.

Deutsch and Novstrup propose adding the following language to Article 23 Section 1 of the South Dakota Constitution:

No constitutional amendment initiated by petition that has been determined to be substantially similar to an initiated constitutional amendment that was previously voted on and rejected by the electors of this state may be submitted to a vote of the electors until at least one intervening general election has taken place since the election in which the initiated constitutional amendment was last rejected. The attorney general shall determine if a constitutional amendment proposed by the people is substantially similar to a constitutional amendment that was voted on and rejected with no intervening general election [2023 HJR 5001, proposed addition to SD Const. Art. 23 Sec. 1, filed 2023.01.13].

As usual, Deutsch and Novstrup are trying to rig the system in their party’s anti-democratic favor.

First, they would give the Attorney General unilateral, unchecked power to throw amendments proposed by citizens off the ballot. Suppose Dakotans for Health gets its amendment to codify Roe v. Wade on the 2024 ballot but voters reject it by just few votes. Suppose another group senses that voters would support a different abortion-rights amendment, one that focuses on the stricter Casey standards. Suppose yet another group says Dakotans for Health’s problem was that they went for the compromise of Roe and says what South Dakota women really need is an absolute constitutional right to abortion without any government interference (Freedom!, right, Kristi?). Recognizing that restoring women’s reproductive rights is an urgent matter, both groups start circulating petitions right after the 2024 vote to put abortion on the 2026 ballot. Attorney General Marty Jackley could stall both proposed amendments: They both deal with abortion rights, and we already voted on abortion rights in 2024, so you have to wait until 2028. And the sponsors would have no resource, as HJR 5001 does not mention any role for the judiciary to question the attorney general’s authority on this matter.

Second, what’s wrong with considering a similar amendment, or even the exact same amendment, two elections in a row? As it is, we have to wait two years to reconsider a constitutional amendment, and we have to go through the same enormous amount of work to bring that question to another vote. If the 35,017 voters who sign the first amendment petition are not bummed out by their first loss and are willing to go to the trouble of signing a second initiative petition, why make them wait an extra two years?

Third, notice that Deutsch and Novstrup aren’t placing any such restriction on their own Legislative power to propose amendments. HJR 5001 only says rejected citizen amendments need a four-year cooling off period. Nothing stops Fred and Al from proposing the same old garbage election after election, no matter how many times voters turn it down. Voters could reject something like Amendment C, and HJR 5001 would let Fred and Al put a similar measure right back on the ballot next election, hoping Americans for Prosperity will spend more money on better ads. If the Legislature can respond to voter rejection of an amendment by putting the same amendment up for a vote in the very next election, why can’t citizens, who have to work much harder to put amendments on the statewide ballot?

Fourth, how far should this principle (a funny word to use for anything Al Novstrup proposes) go? If citizens wishing to retry failed amendments should have to sit out an election, shouldn’t legislators whose bills fail in Pierre be prohibited from proposing substantially similar bills in the next Session? What about candidates: since voters rejected Donald Trump in 2020, shouldn’t he have to sit out the 2024 election and wait until 2028 to run for President again?

HJR 5001 is another Republican attack on the people’s power to debate and amend their constitution. Republicans will probably put it up for a vote, but we voters should reject it to preserve our own rights.


  1. Donald Pay 2023-01-17 08:30

    Stupid. These guys are stupid legislators. Anytime you change a word in a bill you substantially change it. Changing “a” to “the” can change the meaning of a phrase and affect the entire bill. Any AG worth his or her law license could never make such a stupid determination.

  2. Nick Nemec 2023-01-17 09:14

    This is just the latest in a long line of attempts by the usual suspects to reduce the rights of South Dakota voters.

  3. Nix 2023-01-17 09:28

    OMG It’s the Fred and Al show.
    I have emailed both of these Dopes in the past.
    Laurel and Hardy.
    Al will just Bob and weave, claim that you don’t understand…..
    Fred, bring the good Catholic that he is will just look you in the eye and lie thru his teeth.
    There must be something in the water in Florence and Aberdeen because the beer at the Sidetrack in Florence and at Schwans in Aberdeen doesn’t make you nuts.
    South Dakota Republicans, you deserve
    these two fine upstanding examples of
    Add Gary Cammack , our Hall of Famer
    Drunk and you have a perfect GOP
    Trifecta of Trash.

  4. Bob Newland 2023-01-17 09:47

    Donald, I’d say Marty Jackley closely resembles the attorney you describe.

  5. 96Tears 2023-01-17 11:23

    The 2023 S.D. Legislature: Welcome to the Suppression Session!

    This bill stinks like a 1st Amendment violation. But there is worse, according to a fresh report from Dakota Scout:
    Rep. Bethany Soye on Tuesday unveiled a “Help not Harm” bill that seeks to make it an illegal act in South Dakota to perform or prescribe gender transition surgeries, cross-sex hormone therapy and puberty blockers to children. The bill also establishes a pathway for someone to collect damages later in life if they’re subjected to those therapies and to put doctors who perform or prescribe gender transition treatments through a review for unprofessional conduct.
    These people are not only as crazy as outhouse rats, they are extremely mean. Their only brilliance is in their Orwellian word play with a term like “help not harm.” Rotten to the core.

  6. All Mammal 2023-01-17 11:51

    Destroy democracy and waller in sulphur. Good job sirs. How very disrespectful and yellow.
    Please stop voting for these yayhoos, SD. Stop the insults to your intelligence by demonstrating you have some.

    96-I noticed a sticker on my man’s guitar that reads: Liar, liar. Racist, racist. Your name is Kristi Noem. -96Tears

  7. 96Tears 2023-01-17 12:35

    Dang, All Mammal! That’s a nice bumper sticker. Tell your man that Woody Guthrie had a great sticker on his guitar that said “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS.” Fascism has always had its suckers in South Dakota with the old John Birch Society, the braindead Concerned Women for America and the Sioux Falls KKK, to name a few. Trump kicked the door open for fascists and now they’re all over the place.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that more and more legislators go to Pierre in winter because the flies are gone for the season back home on the ranch. Pinching off wings is a favorite past time at the hillbilly Yellowstone Ranches in our state. They go to Pierre to inflict pain on people who can’t defend themselves or bankroll lobbyists who write big checks to the fools.

    When you sum it all up, this 90+ percent Republican legislature is incapable of solving a single problem that is rooted in reality. All they and their wicked governor are interested in is political applause lines at the next CPAC and RNC conventions. They are incapable of shame.

  8. ABC 2023-01-17 14:50

    Let’s all play guitar or ukulele (to expand our Hawaiin-ness) to destroy fascism in our state!

    Unbelieveably Bad bill!

    Right now, let’s focus on creating a Winning Machine!!!

    Since we might have 40% of the vote, that’s not enough to win an election where typically 25 to 45% of voters never show up to vote or even register.

    So we need a different Winning Machine then the typical First Tuesday in November every Two Years Non-Orgasm!

    What things are outside of (Taliban) Government?

    LOTS! People, companies, nonprofits, churches, bookstores, Federal things like post offices and Federal Parks and Grasslands…Plenty!


    IMAGINE!! We can increase our wages, investments and money coming to the People WITHOUT waiting for State Government to grow a Heart, Brain and Spine! Wait for the State or the Democratic Party, ohh, that’s a very long wait!

    So our Daily Life gives us all the AMMO we need to live a happy, loving and prosperous Life NOW.

    Right now, all we the People can do is defeat bad bills in Referendum or Pass Good Bills by Initiative. We dont have the power to legislate laws and reduce taxes through a legislature because of the 100% Monopoly-Monotony of the Republicans-and Me-Too Republicans that call themselves Democrats.

    So let’s make all of us Rich NOW, and over time, we will replace the Republican party 100% monopoly with 8 center-left and center and center-right Parties a la Europe or Finland.

    I can imagine a day when the Trump Republican Party will cease to exist, and those people will switch to Libertarian or other Center-Right new parties.t, your Soul

    Your Winning Machine? Its called your Heart, your Soul, and it creates Winning Things every day!

    View your choices every day as Elections, where you choose whats good and great for you!

    We are the Asteroids! The Republicans are dinosaurs! As Vanna White says: “Bye Bye!”

  9. ABC 2023-01-17 14:58

    96, Noem is Wicked?

    I would say her ignorance thrills her, but doesn’t solve the everyday problems in South Dakota.

    My focus–What can we DO to make everything better?

    Relying on a November day every 4 years to defeat her, well, that’s a long wait. Shes term limited now. She could come back as a Senator or US Representative or Lt Givernor maybe.

    We need to rely on our 365 day a year WINNING Machines, and make every one, all of us rich, and more knowledgeable and wise. That is GREAT VICTORY!

    Relying on Noem and others losing every 2 or 4 years, thats not a PLAN.

    Believing everyone in the state is stupid and will always be poor nonvoting and dumb is NOT the right way we should look at our fellow citizens.

    Life is about Winning ievery day! Complaining about Noem and others is non productive.

    Wealth is Now! Share it, spread it, create it!

  10. ABC 2023-01-17 15:05

    The PLAN is 2 words!

    WE DO.

    We is us, all of us, not the Republican or Democratic Parties or the Governor or the Legislature. We the people CAN do it!

    Do is daily doing kind, good , great, thoughtful, loving generous things, always.

    “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, ” Zechariah 4:10.

    Small beginnings, that’s what we Rock Stars do every day, all the time!

  11. Bob Newland 2023-01-17 17:06

    I have read and re-read 5001 three or four times now. I am left with one overwhelming ambition: to beat Deutsch and Novstrup with pool cues. Cues, plural, because I would wear the first one out on one of those pieces of shight.

    If 5001 fails this session, it faces no possibility of being banned from appearing in the next session. Who votes for these antediluvian mudsuckers?

  12. buckobear 2023-01-17 17:09

    Maybe we change that state motto to “Under GOP the people are ruled.”

  13. grudznick 2023-01-17 17:48

    The Messrs. Deutsch and Novstrup, the elder, are both dolts and very short sighted.

    All measures, initiated, should be outlawed.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-01-17 18:28

    I checked ballot question history: since we gained the right to initiate amendments, South Dakotans have successfully petitioned 19 amendments onto the ballot. Voters have rejected 11 of those initiated amendments. Never has a defeated initiated amendment been retried in the general election immediately following its defeat.

    It would thus appear that Fred and Al’s HJR 5001 is another Republican solution in search of a problem.

  15. Bob Newland 2023-01-17 18:38

    Just off-hand, I’d say that if a defeated proposed amendment were re-offered in the form of a statute proposal, it could be construed as “substantially similar” under the same set of rules that allowed the SoDak Supreme Court to waste an unprescdented amount of time deciding that SoDak Voters were confused by “multiple,” i.e., more than zero, subjects.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-01-17 19:15

    If Rep. Deutsch is attempting to stifle marijuana initiatives, he ppears to have neglected to address the 2020 Amendment A situation. Voters approved Amendment A in 2020; the court overturned it in 2021. Had HJR 5001 been in effect in 2021, it would not have stopped petitioners from putting a revised but substantially similar amendment to legalize marijuana on the 2022 ballot. HJR only applies to initiated amendments rejected by the voters, not approved amendments rejected by the courts.

    Of course, if a retread amendment is substantially similar to one rejected by the courts, it may face the same legal peril.

  17. P. Aitch 2023-01-17 19:29

    Right, Cory. As previously noted, “The MAGA’s who outsmarted the Deutschs and the Novstrups and got Monae in office once will continue to do it, no matter what new rules the “shallow thinkers” come up with.”

  18. Bob Newland 2023-01-17 19:30

    It appears as though Cory and I share a visceral contempt for this and several recent legislative philosophies.

  19. grudznick 2023-01-17 19:41

    If Mr. H were to go to the legislatures and get into the lobbies, half of this business would not happen. The news could interview him every night from the front steps and they’d probably pay him for his take.

  20. P. Aitch 2023-01-17 20:11

    grudznichts – Cory and Erin have zero need for anything life in South Dakota offers. He can raise rabble and afflict the unjustly comfortable from Nebraska or Colorado or wherever their desire for success leads them. She can comfort the faithful from wherever the need arises. (Ordained ministers of the ELCA may retire at age 60 or after 30 years as a Lutheran pastor. A retired minister remains a pastor of the ELCA.)

  21. grudznick 2023-01-17 20:26

    Well without Mr. H, Ms. P.h, his last employer has collapsed.

    What’s an ELCA? Is that like the Moose or Oddfellows?

  22. P. Aitch 2023-01-17 21:42

    ELCA is a little town in Nevada. CAH is a Leadership Programs Coordinator at their high school.

  23. All Mammal 2023-01-17 22:43

    Oh my word, I love you guys. Yess! I’d barter with a pawn shop for some sturdy pool cues, Bossman.

    Everything coming from these beauty school drop-out wannabes is full of divisive concepts that didn’t exist before they jutted them out into people’s faces.

    How about come up with not-so-original suggestions like water, education, housing, childcare, you know; the most basic job we send them to do?

    But no, they suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect, it seems.

    This session, PLEASE grown up white people of the legislative body, do something beneficial and CRUCIAL. Such as get a handle on:


    Of all the imperative tasks on the list, the leg is blowing smoke with a rally to bully our kids? Lord Almighty. What a bunch of fluffers. Got my pancreas churning up bile and I have no qualms saying it to Soya, Jensen n ems faces. Now I have to go prepare my spiel to submit for the imposter public comment show to oppose the Social Studies standards wet-burped up by the Hillsdale honks.

  24. grudznick 2023-01-17 22:48

    You go, Ms. Mammal. grudznick got your back on that sheeit. The socials studies business, I mean. Lunches are good. Waters are important. Bats are neato. Yeah, grudznick and you agree on most things.

  25. All Mammal 2023-01-17 23:48

    There is no phrase to express my über contentment we are smelling what each other is stepping in, Mr. G. Will you please sign my petition to codify Roe? Hit me up in my ad on Craigslist(:

  26. leslie 2023-01-18 00:21

    How would Republicans feel if armed audiences intimidated the legislature’s constant evisceration (regulation by a thousand cuts) of initiated and referred measures?

    Shoot outs! Flame throwers! Poof! They would love it.

  27. Robbinsdale Radical 2023-01-18 23:47

    I left the state and this is so outrageous I am still embarrassed. Maybe I will say I moved from Wyoming.

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