Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

Does the Right Wing of the SD State Legislature REALLY care about children?

isaaclatterell_headshot

I care about children, but only the unborn with genetic disorders that are either a male or female and come from the hand of God, not a monkey. After they are born, they are on their own.

Every year, Pierre changes it’s name to ‘Guns & Abortion, SD’ for about 40 days, and our legislature wastes time on guns and abortion legislation. Their reasons? They care about children. Really?

Well this year, as in the past, they had a chance to tell us just how much they do care about kids, you know, the ones that are born and living already. Some of them failed.

You would think after watching this year after year a group that large couldn’t be that ignorant. I must clarify, some Republicans get it, I am talking about the extreme right that think the earth is 6,000 years old and evolution isn’t based on science.

So let’s look at their failures;

• Supporting anti-science, secular education while censoring evolution science. The right wingers think they are doing the children of the state a favor by teaching them anti-science supported creationism, while instilling theological ideas into the public schools ignoring separation of church and state. This is a civics and science lesson gone awry. It goes against everything the 1st Amendment is about, and is more harmful to children then helpful.

• Legislating and teaching Hate. This one speaks for itself, making it legal to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation. This one thankfully failed, but that it even came up as legislation is pretty scary.

• Full Medicare expansion. This isn’t rocket science. Not only would it help a lot of children and keeping their working parents healthy it would put $200 million into the state economy. Of course some of legislators, like Isaac Latterell believe that the Federal Government is broke and a day of reckoning is coming where we won’t be getting money from the Feds anymore. Yup, Isaac, Ronald Reagan was using that talking point before you were born. As one of the legislators said in the last coffee, “If you have concerns as a constituent of how the Federal government is spending Federal funds, you need to bring it up with your Washington delegation, not state representatives.”

• Removing the sales tax on food. Democratic representative Marc Feinstein has been trying to remove the tax for years, unsuccessfully. For obvious reasons, removing this tax would help children. I have suggested instead of raising the taxes on other things – three adjustments could be made. 1) Remove the tax from raw, preparable and fresh foods only 2) Tax all products at the same rate-4% 3) Tax advertising.

• Denying counties a share of state sales tax revenue while voting against more lenient enforcement of non-violent offenders, like marijuana users. Why is the county getting further and further behind? Crime and the clogged court system. This also has to do with the safety of our children. When we simply just fine non-violent offenders instead of incarcerating them, we free up law enforcement and the courts to handle the more violent and serious crimes. This makes our community safer, and ultimately children safer.

So while the Right Wingers are busy talking about abortion and guns to keep our children safe and healthy, the work that actually that should be done is going straight over their heads . . . as usual. Some things never change in Guns & Abortion, SD.

ALEC, guns, cold medicine and cell phones

flu

I’m not making Meth, though it would probably make me feel a lot better now.

It is no secret our State Legislature wastes a lot of time on pointless bills, and they are at it again.

They want to put you in a private database for the pharma companies to track sales of cold medicine, which in no way stops meth production (you can make meth from several substances besides cold medicine).

Secondly, they want a statewide ban on texting, which is not needed, because distracted driving laws already cover texting and driving recklessly.

This is all a distraction. Why? First of all, our state legislature doesn’t have a clue, that is why they go running to daddy (ALEC) anytime they need legislation. They even go as far as defending the very organization that is funded by big pharma (the ones that want the database) saying they ‘teach’ legislators (more like brainwash).

Why not have a bill that requires all handgun owners be registered on a public website? Wouldn’t you like to know if your neighbor had a handgun? And the numbers don’t lie, handguns in our country kill more people then any other country in the world. If we are worried about texting and meth production, shouldn’t we be worried about people who carry dangerous weapons?

Oh, I know the argument, not every one that carries a handgun is dangerous. Couldn’t agree more. Just like everyone who texts doesn’t do it while driving and everyone who buys cold medicine isn’t making meth.

Double standard if you ask me. But big Pharma could care less about gun ownership.

The legislature needs to focus on more important things that actually make our state better, like bringing in living wage jobs, ending the food tax and funding education properly.

It’s time that Pierre pulled ALEC out of their asses and did the work of the people.

 

No Medicaid for You! Work Harder!

Good News, Right?

The poll, conducted by Virginia-based political and public affairs research firm Public Opinion Strategies, asked 400 South Dakota residents a series of questions related to the state’s Medicaid program and found 63 percent of them favored the expansion.

The poll was good news to supporters of Medicaid expansion. Megan Myers, the Cancer Action Network’s grassroots manager, said expanding Medicaid would help some of the 48,000 South Dakotans who don’t have health insurance receive preventive care.

And what is our governor’s response on his resistance;

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has been unwilling to expand Medicaid since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would have forced states to expand their programs, and despite the federal government’s promise to cover the vast majority of the costs, especially in the initial years.

Daugaard’s office declined to comment on the poll.

Denny has said in the past the able-bodied working folk should be able to afford their own healthcare. What Denny fails to tell us is that many ‘working folk’ in our state can’t afford food let alone healthcare, and the Republican lawmakers in DC are not helping matters by blocking single-payer initially in the ACA and recently cutting SNAP programs.

So what is Denny telling the working poor that can’t afford private insurance or even to feed their families? WORK HARDER or I’ll be forced again to blow a cool million at one staffing agency to recruit a handful of welders for a single trailer building company in Mitchell.

Why did the SD School of Mines hire right-wing extremist Heather Wilson as President?

I can’t even remember all the bat-shit crazy right-winger things she has done, but this isn’t good kids;

Heather Wilson, a Republican former member of the U.S. House of  Representatives from New Mexico, is the new president for the South Dakota  School of Mines and Technology

No doubt that Wilson has a ‘science’ resume. But her ‘political’ resume reads like a mob hitman’s;

In the lead up to that primary, Wilson  suffered a series of public relations blows for her role in the U.S. attorneys’ scandal, improperly politicized firings of U.S. prosecutors by the Bush  administration, which Democrats spent months investigating in 2007 and 2008. A  lot of information about Wilson’s role wasn’t ever really scrutinized to the  extent it could have been because she lost her first Senate bid.

Wilson always had a close race to keep her House seat, and the 2006 election  was no different. At the beginning of the U.S. attorneys  scandal, former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, a Republican, accused  Wilson of contacting him in mid-October 2006 while he was still in office to  pressure him to take action on a political corruption case, which Wilson was  using as political fodder against her opponent Patricia Madrid.  Anti-intimidation rules prohibit elected officials from contacting U.S.  attorneys to inquire about progress on a case.

After the Wilson call, Iglesias said her mentor, Domenici, then called him  and angrily hung up when Iglesias objected and told him the call was  inappropriate. Wilson has long refuted Iglesias’ account, arguing the calls were  aimed at checking on the status of the investigation, not influencing it.

Here is a longer version of the same story.

And I guess if you like GW Cronies running our state universities, you will like this;

On key votes in 2003 (as defined by the organizations themselves), Wilson  voted the position of the Christian Coalition 76% of the time (92% of the time  in 2002); 62% of the time shared the position of the Eagle Forum (73% in 2002); and 72% of the time for the  positions of American Conservative Union (73% in 2002).
She routinely  receives scores of 0 from the American Civil Liberties Union, Peace Action, and  the Human Rights Campaign. In 2002 she received a 9% score from the League of  Conservation Voters.
And Cory Madville adds one more log on the fire, making fun of gays is okay, because Heather thinks it is ‘just teasing’.

Wilson opposed anti-bullying laws, comparing anti-gay bullying to mere “teasing.” Earlier this year, she outlined her opposition to SB 555, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, explaining that “with respect to this particular agenda we have to recognize as parents that children tease each other.” Wilson mocked the bill — which would merely provide LGBT students with similar civil rights protections against bullying to those already granted to students bullied based on race and gender — dismissing it as “so broad it would actually punish children and say that it’s prohibited to express an opinion with respect to homosexuality in the schools” [Josh Israel, "Better Know An Anti-LGBT Senate Candidate: Former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM)," Think Progress, 2012.09.05].

State funded ALEC trips and hiring an extremist to run one of our state universities. Some days, South Dakota makes me so proud :(

 

Is this a satire piece?

Monty wrote an article about ‘conflicts of interest’ in the state legislature and how lawmakers ‘don’t see any problems’. LOL. Here are some great comedic snippets;

Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, who works for Sanford Health, has been involved in many health care-related debates. He was active on the issue of whether South Dakota should expand Medicaid — something Sanford and the other big health systems in the state support — and opposing a health insurance reform the big hospitals opposed.

His experience in the health care industry is a strength, not a problem, Johnston said.

“There’s two sides to every issue,” he said. “Based on my experience, my knowledge, my skills, and the input from the folks that I represent, that’s how I (approach) the particular issue.”

Johnston’s employer, he said, is “irrelevant,” except that it gives him more knowledge to bring to debates.

“I look at it in … what’s best for the citizens, what’s best for the folks that elect me into office,” he said.

And if your side doesn’t hurt after that load of crap, listen to this one;

Rep. Tim Rounds said he took a back seat when the Legislature debated a bill to create a new class of artisan distillery licenses — on the request of two of Rounds’ brothers, Jamison and Tom.

“I voted, but I did not get involved with the bill itself,” he said. “I did not testify. I didn’t speak on it.”

. . . but you voted for it. That would pretty much mean you were ‘involved’.

Oh, and how do you like these apples;

South Dakota does not have an independent standing ethics board, though there are provisions to create ad hoc panels to consider alleged ethical violations. It’s up to each legislator to decide for themselves whether they face a conflict of interest, and if so what to do about it.

Meanwhile, many other lawmakers from both parties say the system work fine as it is.

Because, you know, how else will the SD GOP stay in power for another 35 years?

This last part is actually non-comediclicious;

“The counter-argument was that states with few of the structures to prevent or sniff out corruption might be less likely to find any corruption,” he said.

Whatever the size of a state, Witkin said preventing conflicts of interest is important.

“Avoiding conflicts of interest and avoiding voting in self-interest is a core value of accountability and transparency,” he said.

Duh. When you don’t have an agency that looks for it, it is easy to say it doesn’t exist. It’s kinda like falling off a ladder and breaking your leg and  saying, “My leg isn’t broke, because I didn’t go to the doctor and get it x-rayed.” After watching the Gant/Powers thingy unfold last year, I am even more supportive of having conflict of interest laws put into place, not just for legislators but for state employees.

DEMOCRATS WON’T TAKE ALEC TRIPS: CALL THEM WASTEFUL AND BIASED

The Republican-controlled legislature hiked its own budget $5,000 per lawmaker last session, and today (Tuesday) they started spending the money by voting themselves more out-of-state travel, including trips to the controversial ALEC conventions where conservative lawmakers mingle with corporate special interests.

Democrats tried to strike the $5,000/legislator funding for the trips on the final day of the legislative session, and they tried again today (Tuesday) when the legislature’s executive committee expanded the travel policy.

“When we can’t afford to fund our schools or cover other basics of government, we can hardly afford to turn legislators into frequent fliers,” said Senator Larry Lucas of Mission, who opposed the measure as a member of the executive board.

Lucas said he and other legislators were blind-sided by the proposal to include ALEC.

“That’s unconscionable, especially this year when we pushed school costs onto property taxpayers. The priorities of our Republican colleagues are hard for me to fathom today.”

Rep. Bernie Hunhoff said the spending priorities of the GOP-dominated legislature are hurting South Dakotans.

“On the last day, the legislature couldn’t even find $25,000 to help fund a van for disabled veterans. We couldn’t find support for scholarship programs or prenatal care to the very poorest young mothers in South Dakota — let alone provide adequate school support. And yet we have the money to fly ourselves all over the country? This is not a proud day for the South Dakota legislature.”

Hunhoff said the 2013 session was remarkable in its lack of partisanship, and substantive reforms were enacted.

“I’m still hopeful we can continue that spirit into 2014, but today’s vote and the way it was conducted is not particularly helpful in that regard.”

Sen. Jason Frerichs, the Democrats’ senate leader, said spending state tax dollars on ALEC dues and trips is shocking.

“This is an organization that has raised more than $20 million over the last several years from the biggest corporate special interest groups in the world. They take great pride in promoting legislation that benefits the coffers of these large corporations, often at the expense of the average American taxpayer.”

Frerichs and Hunhoff said they intend to demand that no dues monies be paid for Democratic legislators.

“We won’t attend the ALEC conferences and we do not want a dime of the taxpayer’s money to be used for this biased, extremist lobbying organization.”

They said they’ll also try to correct the executive board’s decision in the 2014 legislative session.

Detroit’s NOTE’s; It amazes me the very organization that is meant to screw over the middle-class, is getting funded by us, thru taxpayer funds, to bend us over the barrel. I will do my best to get photos and deets on the legislators who attended this convention, on our dime.

How ALEC member/state legislator Corey Brown w/ Denny DoGood suckered in the ‘smart’ ones over a $30 million dollar windfall for the state (H/T – GP)

Unclaimed property in rural Georgia? Not anymore.

A short time back we asked the question “SD State Treasurer Sattgast must have asked SOS Gant to design a website”?  Go back and read it.  We now ask the question again in light of the November, 2012 election results where the Governor lost his pet projects to the people’s revolt and are now getting SB 235.  For those who do not follow the actions of our esteemed elective officials playing government in Pierre for their enjoyment (and potential profits?) we bring it up again.

SB 235 started out life as an empty piece of legislation. A quirk our legislature has, is the ability to change empty bills to do whatever it so chooses.  This year’s session has created a monster rollup bill to hide a great deal of ugliness covered by pretty gift wrapping with the passage of SB 235.  Everything we the voters of South Dakota did not like about the Governor’s special projects fund and its untraceable / unregulated gifts, are now going to be rolled into this law.  There are some nice things the ALEC funded pushers of this law have allowed to happen to gain supporters but digging deeper into their motives shows the depths of the subterfuge.  A massive amount of new money is falling into the hands of South Dakota politicians to divide up.  To divide up this massive amount of new money, they have sucked in a bunch of naïve Democrats and tea partiers to block future organized efforts to rein it in.  How can you have a petition effort to stop something you are part of? Shame on you Bernie and Jason…

How does this apply to Sattgast, Gant and the unclaimed property fund?  Well, according to reports, big USA banks are rechartering their national banking operations to operate under the rules and laws of the State of South Dakota.  Why is this important? A former SD State Treasurer fought to guarantee the owners of misplaced or unclaimed property the ability to get it returned to them.  SD Treasurer Butler fought Wild Bill Janklow and his legislators all the way to the Supreme Court on our behalf before losing.  Butler became a hated man in Pierre and Citibank, probably still is.  Janklow brought Citibank to South Dakota and he continued to help them, by losing track of the owners of “property” so it could be split without audit.  South Dakota gained a bit and Citibank gained a bunch.   We had to believe the banks without any audit.  Right…

Now we fast forward a few decades to this year’s session.  The Mitchell Daily Republic has an excellent discussion of SB 235.

This surge was fueled when several major banking corporations, such as Citi and Wells Fargo, consolidated their charters in South Dakota for tax reasons. That means money left behind in accounts throughout the nation will become unclaimed property here.

The part they do not tell you is how the state gets to keep all these funds.  Remember the state’s unclaimed property website?  It has been made impossible to use.  We had wondered why it was designed so badly. Now we know.  People looking for their property will never find it.  Now add millions of unclaimed accounts or property to this fund having originated in other states or countries.  If you did not have a chance before, guess what opportunity you have now?  Now think of the millions of account holders from around the world who will never see their investments.

So, to steal money from unsuspecting depositors, insurance policies, safety deposit box holders and more, South Dakota has designed a website to make sure the scam works.

Gawd Bless South Dakota (H/T – Helga)

Public High School Students Won’t Learn About Voting In Government Class If Iowa Bill Becomes Law

By Igor Volsky posted from ThinkProgress Education on Mar 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm

South Dakota Now Permits Teachers To Carry Guns In Classroom

By Igor Volsky posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Mar 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Kansas Republicans Want To Cut College Aid For The Poor To Pay For More Tax Breaks

The normal dilly-dally by the state legislature

This is why I don’t blog as much about the state legislature, it’s like a freaking broken record. They do this every year. (notice the cartoon is from 2009)Waste enormous amounts of time on guns and abortion without really addressing the budget;

The South Dakota Legislature’s budget-writing committee has delayed a decision on how much revenue to expect for the rest of the current year and the budget year that begins July 1.
The Joint Appropriations Committee had planned to make a formal decision Monday. But House Appropriations Chairman Fred Romkema of Spearfish says the decision is delayed until at least Tuesday because the Legislature has not settled the fate of some other bills that could affect revenue collections.
The committee later this week will put the finishing touches on the spending plan so the Legislature can pass the budget by Friday, the end of the main run of this year’s legislative session.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proposed a $4.1 billion state budget, with $1.3 billion to come from state tax funds.

Oh, but they had time to thumb their noses at voters with this proposal;

A comprehensive South Dakota economic development fund proposed by state legislators would be paid for with contractors excise tax collections and money from unclaimed property.
Republican Sen. Corey Brown, of Gettysburg, outlined the Building South Dakota Fund to the House State Affairs Committee on Monday. The panel voted unanimously to move the bill to the House floor.
The measure was introduced at a bipartisan news conference last week. It would focus on providing tax breaks for large projects that the state otherwise might not attract. It also would provide money for training workers and helping communities build the infrastructure needed to encourage development.
Republicans and Democrats have worked for the past two months to find a compromise plan.
The bill received supportive testimony from nearly two dozen people.

At least it is not coming out of the general fund, and supported by contractors, BUT voters clearly told them last November, NO HANDOUTS TO LARGE CORPORATIONS, and what do they do? Well at least job training is included, but I have a feeling that will be trickle down. You know, if the state was attracting businesses that paid living wages, I would be all for these incentives.

Sacrificial Lamb

Though I would like to take credit for this, I did get help writing this toon. They would like to remain anonymous. I hope that is okay with Stormland-TV News.