Ladd Erickson: Marsy’s Law Is a Debate Over Public Policy Not Sad Stories

By Rob Port

We’re already voting on Measure 3 – hopefully more no’s than yes’s – and we will soon know if “Marsy” will be part of our State Constitution. The defense attorneys, state’s attorneys, retired judges, victim advocate groups, and lately the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police, have all been trying to educate the voters on the poor and harmful constitutional policy Measure 3 represents.

At this point, I believe Marsy’s Law should be a case study for our lawmakers on whether our initiated measure process is due for serious review and repair.

North Dakota needs initiated measures as a check on our government. We wouldn’t have oil extraction taxes without it, nor many other successful policies. Initiated measures give the grassroots a voice in policy when there is a will for it.

However, when a billionaire from California bypasses the grassroots and simply pays signature gathers, the foundational reason for our initiated measure system gets usurped. Of late, this isn’t the only measure that has gotten on the ballot through paid signature gathers. But we should all reflect on whether bypassing grassroots will to get agendas on our ballots is healthy.

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