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South Dakota Supreme Court Affirms Attorney General Ballot Explanation for Initiated Measure on Prescription Drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, May 10, 2018

CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215 

PIERRE, S.D. -  Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the Attorney General’s explanation for the initiated measure establishing a cap on the price a State agency may pay for a prescription drug.

"I have worked to provide a fair, clear, and simple summary of the proposed measure in order to assist our voters. The role of the Attorney General when writing the voter explanation is to be fair and neutral and not to advocate for or against a ballot measure. The Court has reaffirmed the fairness of this process,” said Jackley.

The Court ruled that although ballot explanations must satisfy the threshold requirements of the law, it was repeatedly emphasized that the Attorney General must be given “discretion as to how to author” them. 

Under South Dakota law, the Attorney General is responsible for preparing explanations for proposed initiated measures, referred laws, and South Dakota Constitutional Amendments. Specifically, the explanation includes a title, an objective, clear and simple summary of the purpose and effect of the proposed measure and a description of the legal consequences. The Attorney General Explanation is not a statement either for or against the proposed initiated measure.

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