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Noem Tells Jackley to Add Language to Single-Subject Initiative Explanation; Jackley Says, Yes Ma’am!

Yesterday, Attorney General Marty Jackley released his final revised version of his official title and explanation for the proposed initiated amendment to strike the single-subject rule for initiated amendments that voters approved in 2018. After taking comment from the public, he added three sentences to his first draft:

Title: An Amendment to the South Dakota Constitution Removing the Limitation That a Proposed Constitutional Amendment Embrace Only One Subject.

Explanation: The South Dakota Constitution provides that a proposed constitutional amendment may not embrace more than one subject. In addition, the state Constitution requires that multiple amendments proposed at the same election must be individually presented and voted on separately. These rules are known as the single subject rule and the separate vote requirement.

This proposed amendment removes those provisions from the Constitution. If the measure is approved, voters may be asked to vote on amendments containing multiple subjects. Also, if approved, voters may no longer be able to vote separately on each constitutional change [Attorney General Marty Jackley, final title and explanation to initiated amendment proposed by Quincy Hanzen, 2023.03.30; plain text = text in first draft; bold text = text added for final version]

The text Jackley added came from the Governor’s Office, who used the single-subject rule to overturn Amendment A on marijuana in 2021 and would hate to see that useful anti-democracy tool disappear:

General Counsel Katie Hruska, letter on behalf of the Governor's Office to Attorney General Marty Jackley, 2023.03.22.
General Counsel Katie Hruska, letter on behalf of the Governor’s Office to Attorney General Marty Jackley, 2023.03.22, p. 1.
General Counsel Katie Hruska, letter on behalf of the Governor's Office to Attorney General Marty Jackley, 2023.03.22, p. 2.
General Counsel Katie Hruska, letter on behalf of the Governor’s Office to Attorney General Marty Jackley, 2023.03.22, p. 2.

We delay the petition process for 20 days to solicit public comment on the Attorney General’s titles and explanations for ballot initiatives, and the only relevant comment the A.G. receives and acts upon comes from the Governor. Yeah, sure, that process is working really well.


  1. Donald Pay 2023-03-31 07:04

    The AG’s explanation is unconstitutional for two reasons. It is forced speech and it is executive branch meddling in a legislative branch process. This change in the explanation makes that clear.

  2. Bob Newland 2023-03-31 10:28

    I don’t understand the final sentence: “The voter would no longer be able to vote separately on each separate issue presented when the voter may vote differently on each issue.”

  3. Al Froiland 2023-03-31 10:56

    Single subject rule should not be changed. Voters should be able to vote on each subject.

  4. Donald Pay 2023-03-31 19:20

    Al Froiland, The problem is no one has defined “single subject,” which is why the single subject rule has been unworkable. Is every section a separate subject? If so, the Legislature breaks the rules with nearly everything it passes.

  5. jakc 2023-03-31 19:40

    Bob Newland, it is a terrible sentence. Probably should read “when the voter may want to vote differently on each issue” “when the voter would vote differently on each issue, if the issues were presented separately.”
    Law school is largely an experience in learning how not to write and what not to read.

  6. Christy Brubaker 2023-03-31 20:32

    I vote we leave it alone. Too easy to confuse voters of the contents.!!! Also to hide to many things together.

  7. Francis Schaffer 2023-03-31 21:11

    Doesn’t this amendment violate the single subject rule?

  8. DaveFN 2023-03-31 21:14


    Excellent translation.

    Jackley evidently regressed even further than law school right down to the level of his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from SDSM&T if not before.

  9. larry kurtz 2023-03-31 22:37

    Thank you, Mr. Evans for your commitment to truth in a state where obfuscation is a commodity.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-04-01 07:41

    Francis, yes, a good lawyer or even a casual blogger could make that argument.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-04-01 07:42

    Christy, don’t you trust voters to either see through such attempts to confuse the voters or to simply vote overwhelmingly against any initiative that appears to contain multiple unrelated and confusing subjects?

  12. larry kurtz 2023-04-01 17:31

    Wasn’t it Ms. Besmer who said Democrats have more honor than RINOs do?

    As vocal as the citizens for liberty/christian nationalists are in South Dakota there seems to be only a tiny few actually willing to run as principled third party or unaffiliated candidates in the general elections even with overwhelming evidence the establishment SDGOP is corrupt by design. What do you make of that, Mr. Evans?

  13. bearcreekbat 2023-04-01 17:33

    In reading the article linked by Kurt Evans in support of his accusation that “Marty Jackley is profoundly corrupt” I could not find any evidence of corruption in any form. While the article reported Laura Kaiser asserting “What he said is blatant lies,” I couldn’t find what it was that Jackley supposedly lied about. The artcle states he did accuse Kaiser of “ginning up a controversy,” which he denied doing. The article reports that Kaiser seem to speculate Jackley was in control of the settlement payment, while Jackley “said that his office had nothing to do with negotiating the settlement with Kaiser’s attorneys. Those duties were handled by the Governor’s Office of Risk Management (GORM). He said his office has no authority over the process of the agreement or its terms.” I saw nothing in the article to indicate that Jackley’s statement was untrue.

    Kaiser also accused Jackley of trying to impose a requirement that Kaiser sign a non-disparagement agreement after the settlement had been agreed upon, and accused Jackley of causing a delay in payment when she didn’t sign the agreement, apparently by convincing someone in the State office (perhaps the above GORM) to tell Kaiser the State couldn’t pay the amount when she wanted it paid and telling her that “There was a storm and someone’s roof came off. You name it.” Trouble is, I could find nothing in the article to verify Kaiser’s suggestion that either excuse for late payment was untrue or originated with Jackley.

    As to which party brought the controversy to the attention of the public, i.e. ginned up the controversy, it appears that Kaiser’s proceeding to enforce the settlement may have been the source of the public’s attention.

    The bottom line is that it is easy to publicly accuse someone of lying or being corrupt even though such an accusation may be entirely without factual support, but merely opinated conspiracy-like speculation by the name-caller. I have no personal knowledge of whether Jackley is corrupt, but the Argus Leader article provides no evidence of corruption that I could ascertain, and I am unaware of corruption charges ever being filed against Jackley.

  14. larry kurtz 2023-04-01 18:24

    Just leafing through my own pile Mr. Jackley has been credibly accused for using his office for political purposes to bury, cover up even conspire with donor defendants to the FLDS to Sturgis bribes to Brady Folkens to Westerhuis, Benda and on and on.

  15. bearcreekbat 2023-04-01 18:59

    larry, by credibly do you mean Jackley has been accused and the found to have done these things by an impartial court, or other impartial tribunal, or are you making your personal credibility speculation?

  16. larry kurtz 2023-04-01 19:03

    Marty Jackley wouldn’t be where he is today without somebody else paying for it, bat. He’s sleaze.

  17. larry kurtz 2023-04-01 19:15

    That Mr. Jackley wasn’t able to keep his marriage together implies lousy management skills if not serial outright deception.

  18. larry kurtz 2023-04-01 19:19

    Kurt Evans makes a strong case that Mr. Jackley is incapable of faithfully executing the duties of his office.

  19. jakc 2023-04-01 19:51


    Mines had a pretty good English department, at least when I went there. No publish or perish pressure for the professors, just an expectation that they would improve the writing skills of kids who didn’t really expect to ever have to write things. I blame law school for eroding the skills of Mr Jackley

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