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Johnson v. Jackley

Supreme Court of South Dakota

May 9, 2018

JONI JOHNSON, SOUTH DAKOTA BIOTECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION, and PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA, Applicants and Appellants,
v.
MARTY J. JACKLEY, in his Official Capacity as South Dakota Attorney General, Respondent and Appellee.

          CONSIDERED ON BRIEFS ON MARCH 19, 2018

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA, THE HONORABLE MARK BARNETT Judge.

          JON HANSEN LISA M. PROSTROLLO MATTHEW S. MCCAULLEY Redstone Law Firm LLP, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Attorneys for applicants and appellants.

          MARTY J. JACKLEY Attorney General STEVEN R. BLAIR Assistant Attorney General Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for respondent and appellee.

          ZINTER, JUSTICE.

         [¶1.] 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.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2.] 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 [measure]"; and
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 adopted."

See id. Additionally, the explanation may not exceed two hundred words. Id.

         [¶3.] 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.[1]

         [¶4.] On August 22, 2017, the Attorney General submitted the following ...


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