The campaign for a constitutional fix to the “Marsy’s Law” victims’ bill of rights in South Dakota has been successful.
Voters decided in a landslide Tuesday to change the victims’ rights law. Around 80 percent of voters voted for the change.
Officials have said Marsy’s Law caused unintended consequences since it passed in 2016. At least three large counties hired new people to work with victims, privacy provisions in the amendment have curtailed the information that some law enforcement agencies release to the public to help solve crimes and prosecutors’ offices must now track down and notify a broader swath of victims about their cases, the Associated Press has reported.
The law was named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend. Mark Mickelson, Speaker of the House for the state house of representatives proposed getting rid of the amendment but instead made a deal with the Marsy’s Law campaign during the 2018 legislative session.
The bill that ultimately won legislative approval proposed changes to Marsy’s Law that required victims to opt in to many of the rights enumerated in the law and specifically allow authorities to share information with the public to help solve crimes.
Because the legislature was proposing to amend the constitution, the question had to be put to voters. The bill appeared on the South Dakota primary election ballot as Amendment Y.