House speaker to push Marsy’s Law amendment

The Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s House Speaker said Wednesday that he’ll push to give voters a chance to scrap a victims’ rights constitutional amendment approved at the ballot last year.

The Marsy’s Law amendment brought too many unintended consequences with it, Republican Mark Mickelson told the Argus Leader . Mickelson said he plans to offer a measure in the upcoming legislative session to put a repeal plan before voters.

The amendment passed with about 60 percent support in 2016. It has restricted access to information about crimes and caused confusion shortly after voters approved it.

Mickelson called South Dakota’s constitution “sacred,” saying he would bring the repeal proposal along with a bill to replace its provisions in state law.

“We’re not going to do away with victims’ rights, we’re just going to put them in statute,” he said.

The amendment established rights for victims, including privacy, protection from harassment or abuse, and timely notice of trial, sentencing and post-judgment proceedings.

A national Marsy’s Law campaign spokeswoman told the newspaper that efforts to strike it would be met with opposition. Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, said any repeal push should include guidance from victims’ rights groups and an effort to maintain the anonymity and continued involvement of victims.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting first reported the news.