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South Dakota Attorney General’s Response and Position in Support of Constitutional Amendment

 

PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that South Dakota, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah Attorneys General have by joint letter rejected the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) demand to “stipulate to the unconstitutionality” of our state constitutional amendments that guarantee our citizens the right to vote by secret ballot.   On January 14, 2011, via a press release and correspondence delivered to the Attorneys General of South Dakota, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah, the NLRB threatened to sue the states over their recently approved state constitutional amendments.  The NLRB claimed the amendments conflict with the federal National labor Relations Act (NLRA).  The NLRB further stated that it had “been authorized to bring a civil action in federal court to seek to invalidate the Amendment[s]” absent the Attorneys General entering into a “stipulation concerning the
unconstitutionality of the Amendment[s].”
 
In a January 27, 2011, joint letter to the NLRB, the Attorneys General rejected the NLRB’s demand to stipulate to the unconstitutionality of these amendments.  The Attorneys General noted that under the NLRA, “secret elections are generally the most satisfactory--indeed the preferred--method” of ascertaining whether there exists majority support for a matter. The Attorneys General went on to state that “our constitutional amendments protect the right to cast secret ballots, a right that the NLRB itself is ‘under a duty to preserve.’”
 
In another joint letter dated March 4, 2011, the Attorneys General noted that communications between their offices and NLRB have broken down over NLRB’s request for a confidentiality agreement which may limit our ability to explain to our citizens any course of action in this important matter.   The Attorneys General emphasized their position that the states’ constitutional amendments are consistent with existing federal law, and therefore the NLRB’s threatened federal litigation against the states is unwarranted. 
 
“South Dakotans have spoken loudly on this issue with the passage of a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the fundamental right to vote by secret ballot.  If challenged, our Attorney General’s Office will vigorously defend our South Dakota Constitution,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley.
 
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:     Wednesday, March 16, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215