JONI JOHNSON, SOUTH DAKOTA BIOTECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION, and PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA, Applicants and Appellants,
MARTY J. JACKLEY, in his Official Capacity as South Dakota Attorney General, Respondent and Appellee.
CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON MARCH 19, 2018
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES
COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA, THE HONORABLE MARK BARNETT Judge.
HANSEN LISA M. PROSTROLLO MATTHEW S. MCCAULLEY Redstone Law
Firm LLP, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for applicants
J. JACKLEY Attorney General STEVEN R. BLAIR Assistant
Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for
respondent and appellee.
Joni Johnson, the South Dakota Biotechnology Association, and
the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
(collectively, "Appellants") requested a writ of
certiorari to challenge an Attorney General's ballot
explanation of a proposed initiated measure. The proposed
measure would limit the price state agencies may pay for
prescription drugs. Appellants alleged the Attorney
General's explanation did not comply with the
requirements of SDCL 12-13-25.1. The circuit court denied the
writ, and Appellants appeal. We affirm.
and Procedural History
In South Dakota, a proposed initiated measure's full text
does not appear on the ballot. Instead, the Attorney General
prepares, and the Secretary of State includes, a statement
that contains a "title, " an "explanation,
" and a description of "legal consequences."
SDCL 12-13-25.1. Under the statute:
1. The title must be "a concise statement of
the subject of the proposed initiative";
2. The explanation must be "an objective,
clear, and simple summary to educate the voters of the
purpose and effect of the proposed initiative or initiated
3. The legal consequences must be "a
description of the legal consequences of the proposed
initiative . . ., including the likely exposure of the state
to liability if the proposed initiative. . . is
See id. Additionally, the explanation may not exceed
two hundred words. Id.
The proposed measure in this case, according to its title, is
an act to "establish a prescription drug pricing law
enabling a State Agency to pay the same or lower prices for
prescription drugs as the prices paid by the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs." The first three
sections prohibit state agencies from entering into
agreements with drug manufacturers for the purchase of
prescription drugs unless the net cost is equal to or less
than that paid by the United States Department of Veterans
Affairs. Section 4 requires the promulgation of implementing
regulations, and section 5 purports to provide legal standing
to the proponents if the proposal is approved and challenged
in post-election court proceedings.
On August 22, 2017, the Attorney General submitted the