Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

Do South Dakota Legislators deserve a raise?

If you were asking me that question as their direct employer, I would answer ‘NO’ and probably fire about 90% of them based on job performance.

But let’s play along and pretend they actually get things done.

I would be OK with a 3-5% raise, but not 70%.

It really is our legislators fault they haven’t implemented some kind of system to give themselves automatic raise/decline each year, not the voters. To blatantly ask for a 70% raise at one time is ridiculous.

I have even argued that $6,000 a year is pretty good (they also receive per diem, mileage) and if they are smart they would receive 3 FREE squares a day from the different lobbyist groups.

You have to realize, for the average representative this is only about 40 days. $150 a day is probably around the average individual salary in SD ($39K).

Also, part of the problem is the location of the Capital. A lot of people who have regular day jobs struggle to participate because you have to venture to bum-f’ck Pierre in the middle of winter. Embracing a little technology would go a long way. It reminds me of when Rounds had a fleet of airplanes at his disposal and people wondered why he had to be at meetings in person and didn’t do more teleconferencing. I think the legislature should extend the session to 60 days. I also don’t think they should start business until 3 PM Mountain time and work until 9 or 10 PM. This would only work if legislators with no leadership or committee duties could vote and follow along with the session VIA the internet on a closed circuit channel and could also debate the issues VIA their cell phones. It would get more working class legislators involved, save the state buckets of money and most importantly working class voters could watch and follow the sessions at night if they wanted to. This 40 days in the dead of winter in the middle of nowhere is why our legislature gets away with practically murder each year. Nobody is watching the ruling class of businessmen that make up our legislature, that’s the real issue, not pay. Ironically the ‘night’ sessions would solve another problem Pierre has, the nightly drinking and sniffing around.

The legislature should get a raise, but they need to be logical about it, something that is lacking in Pierre.

Want to reduce opiod use? Marijuana.

A recent news report says that Sanford Health is researching alternatives to opiod pain relief and reducing there usage.

One word; Marijuana.

And I am not talking about the medical stuff they have to make syrup out of, I’m talking about good old natural THC. Either vape it or get it in an edible. It has been a natural pain reliever for thousands of years. And here’s why the medical community and big pharma doesn’t like it.

Unlike prescription drugs that are often made from dangerous highly addictive chemicals, Marijuana can be grown at home without a prescription from a doctor.

Obviously, it cannot be used for extreme pain but it can help with minor aches and pains, relieves spasms, increases appetite and can relieve minor stress and depression.

Like any drug overuse can cause problems, uh like, laziness and laughing a little too much. There is NO record of anyone dying from an overdose of Marijuana, but can cause anxiety in some people.

Why the medical community doesn’t study this natural drug more is beyond me.

There is a good chance that on Monday valid petitions will be turned in for Recreational Marijuana to be put on the ballot in 2018. I think it will pass with over 55% of the vote if it makes the ballot.

We not only need to embrace this like other states have for pain relief but the sale of recreational marijuana could change state funding like nothing before and has shown to reduce crime and criminal justice spending.

Enough goofing around with dangerous chemicals and skyrocketing crime, South Dakota needs to embrace the legalization of Marijuana.

 

South DaCola Podcast 8: Legislator & Mayoral Candidate Greg Jamison

We touched on the upcoming legislative session, Greg’s run for mayor, and a few ghost stories.

Maybe the Governor should take the lead with the sexism problem in Pierre

One of my lobbyist friends has an appropriate moniker for Pierre, he calls it a ‘toilet’. I couldn’t agree more. Trust me, I wasn’t shocked to hear all the stories coming out of Pierre. As another lobbyist said to me last year, “Everyone is screwing everyone in Pierre. It’s like some big disgusting orgy.”

Maybe the Governor and Mark Mickelson need to take the lead on this ‘sexual revolution’ going on in Pierre and own up to their own skeletons in the closet. Mark is fortunate he lives in Sioux Falls and has a buffer from the day to day operations, but Dennis should know these things are going on, in fact he does know.

He fired a high ranking cabinet director this past year and has yet to tell us why. Let’s just say it had little to do with his job performance and more to do with his extracurricular activities. All the governor told us of the termination after a brief suspension was it had to do with personnel reasons. Hardly. Ironically Janklow fired this person for some of the same reasons during his administration, and he got hired back by (I think) Rounds. Don’t they keep a file on these things?

Maybe if Dennis would have came clean on why this person was fired it would help the process of eliminating the gigantic ‘sex fest’ the legislative session has become and that continues throughout the year with state employees.

His cheesy dumb farm kid persona won’t cut it on this issue. And while Mickelson is worried about outside money on petition drives he should be more concerned about inside pocket pool going on in our capital city. Address the real issues going on in Pierre for once.

It’s gearing up to be an interesting week

Mark Mickelson concerned about big money influence, maybe he needs to have that discussion with his wife

Many people across the state are having a good chuckle (or good cry) about the hypocrisy of Mickelson’s proposal to limit big money influence in initiatives. Besides the fact that the Koch brothers have funneled millions into our state from out-of-state donors from ALEC supporters to Republican State legislative races, let’s look at the influence LOCALLY in his wife’s race for school board. While the money may be local, you have to question the BIG money influence in her race. This is from her last financial report (I think the next one is due on July 18);

SE Friends of Affordable Housing $500

SD RPAC $250 (Association of Realtors)

Two Minnehaha county commissioners $600

Dan, Steve & Joe Kirby $750

Dennis Breske (Developer) $100

Dr. Vance Thompson $250

Tom Walsh (Formerly Burger King, now Great Life) $100

Sweetman’s $350

Valerie Fox (Former Principal of Lincoln HS) $500

Dr. Alvine $100

Doug Hajek (Bond Attorney for largest bond provider in the state) $100

Chris Houwman (Developer, Washington Square) $250

Scott Abdallah (Attorney) $100

Erickson’s (City Council) $200

Dana Dykhouse (First Premier Bank) $250

Dave & De Knudson (Sanford Health) $250

Russ Janklow (Attorney) $250

Arch Beal (Beer Distributor) $200

Scott Lawrence (Ad agency) $100

Michael Crane (Developer) $100

Dave Owens (SD Chamber of Commerce) $200

And that is just a sampling. I know what you are thinking, none of the donations are HUGE but they speak volumes, especially when you consider she raised 10x more than her closest competitor.

Mark doesn’t sweat big money when it helps him, his wife or his fellow Republican legislators, but when it comes to ethics reform he wants to crack down on it. Go figure.

Online Petition to push for Gear UP hearings

On September 17th, 2015, South Dakotans awoke to horrific news stories of the entire 6-member Westerhuis family discovered dead in their burnt out home in Platte, brutally killed by shotgun blasts.

SIGN THE PETITION

News reports have confirmed these deaths are at the center of acknowledged corruption in the mismanagement and misuse of taxpayer monies given out in grants by the SD Department of Education. Reports are that Department of Education administrators have known for years that these taxpayer monies were not being handled properly by its contracted agent MidCentral Education Cooperative. News reports identified former and current public education officials as having received large amounts of taxpayer monies via these programs administered by MidCentral Education Cooperative; however, these programs cannot identify any Native American children who benefited from these monies specifically designated for these needy youth.

South Dakota statutory law, 2-6-2. Empowers the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) to inquire and review “any phase of the operations and the fiscal affairs of any department, institution, board, or agency of the state..” With the ability under 2-6-4. to “examine all records and vouchers, summon witnesses, and thoroughly examine all expenditures and the general management of each department.

The MidCentral Education Cooperative was contracted and answerable to the South Dakota Department of Education to administer these taxpayer monies. They were agents of the Department of Education and a contractual entity of the Department of Education. Accordingly, the Joint Legislative GOAC has authority to conduct hearings and demand answers of the Department of Education and its agents in this admitted corruption surrounding taxpayer monies, in order to seek corrective legislative actions to address this infamous corruption of SD government.

We, the signatories of this petition, hereby call for Senate President Pro Tem Brock Greenfield (R-Clark), Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd (R-Sioux Falls), Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton (D-Burke) House Speaker Mark Mickelson (R-Sioux Falls), House Majority Leader Lee Qualm (R-Platte), and House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley (D-Brookings) to require immediate public hearings be held by the GOAC into this notorious corruption responsible for the murders of Kailey (9), Jaeci (10), Connor (14), and Michael (16) Westerhuis.

SEN Nelson calls out fellow lawmaker Kyle Schoenfish for GEAR-UP audits

Stace is not the only one who is wondering how the audits didn’t catch such obvious corruption;

There have been significant concerns and questions expressed by voters in our district, by other legislators, and even KELO’s Angela Kennecke in a news story, regarding our district Rep. Kyle Schoenfish’s reported involvement in the auditing of certain entities at the center of this scandal. On Jan. 31, I officially forwarded those questions to Rep. Schoenfish. He responded on Feb. 4 stating the questions were “..fairly easy to address.” Despite that statement, to date he has refused to provide answers to those questions asked by Kennecke and others. Additionally, Rep. Schoenfish failed to show up for two of our district’s five cracker barrels (legislative forums), one in Corsica on Feb. 16, and the other in his hometown of Scotland on March 11. He now claims repeatedly in his articles to our local papers that he has been “attacked” by “dishonest politicians and people” and claims to be a victim of “meritless political attacks.”

Rep. Schoenfish is being “attacked” by his own record and the ugly appearance that comes from avoiding answering questions that the public has a right to have answered. In regards to his missing or avoiding cracker barrels, if I as a husband, daddy, grandfather, small Sioux Falls business manager, hobby farmer and busted-up old Marine can make time to meet my obligations and drive several hours to attend the voters’ cracker barrels to be answerable to you, I expect a young, single man living at home and working for his father to make time for the responsibilities he knowingly signed on to (and got paid for), or to resign if he is unwilling to do so.

Hey Stace, it’s hard work covering up lies.

Suckers! Everyone of you!

This is what I said about the sales tax increase last February for teacher pay;

As I have said, it is purely ignorant to raise regressive sales taxes for teacher pay when the money is already there (heck, probably sitting in reserves). This is about presenting intelligent plans to raise teacher pay, not knee jerk reactions. People want this increase SO bad, they are willing to fall back on fiscally irresponsible and ignorant taxation plans to get it. That my friends is called GREED.

They went on to pass it anyone. And guess what, they could not have done it without the help of the Democratic legislators (and as Pam Nelson has pointed out, maybe a reason why they failed so bad this past election season). The worst part about it is they had a better plan, but didn’t present it, instead they went along with the Republican Governor’s plan, and guess where that got us? Exactly where I knew this would end up!

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved Senate Bill 35, which strikes the specifications for how the half-cent sales tax are used. Appropriators on Wednesday morning said that given the strained state economy and lower than expected revenues, education funding would remain flat.

Only one year later and the Governor (who cooked up the sales tax increase to begin with) already wants to rob the pot. ONLY ONE YEAR LATER! And once it happens, there is NO going back. The tax will NEVER be repealed and the teachers will never fully receive the money.

Some accuse me of being too cynical. But it is my cynism that sees this crap a mile away. When crooks are in power for the past 40 years, you don’t just wake up one morning in 2016 and say, “Let’s trust them this time, it’s for the teachers.”

Can you hear that sound . . . it gets louder the closer you are to Pierre.

Hypocrisy from Pierre Update & the Ghost of Janklow

I was going to do a couple of full-fledged posts on these two issues, but with the nice weather and all, I really don’t want to waste too much time farting around blogging.

Mark ‘Gigantic, Enormous, Forked Tongue, Hypocrite’ Mickelson

Last week, State Legislator and I think the head dude in Pierre, Mark Mickelson wrote a guest column in the AL decrying all the dark money coming in the state for initiatives. Call a whaaabulance Mark. He then began to chastise the groups and voters for not being aware of such darkness. Not once did he mention all the out-of-state donations the SD GOP has received over the years to fund state legislative candidates. Actually, just a few years ago when Jason Gant was tasked with those efforts, he dispersed over $90K to legislative candidates all over the state.

I’m sure Mark’s next letter will be about all the dark out-of-state money Kristi Noem received while serving in Congress that she has now swiftly moved to her governor’s campaign fund (over $1 million). Hypocrisy at it’s finest, and dark on both sides. Why shouldn’t we elect his wife to the SF School Board?

SB 176 the (Janklow) Protest Bill

Does anyone remember when Billy Bob Janks pulled this spade out of his ass?

Sept. 23 – South Dakota’s tactic of stopping Canadian trucks to protest what it sees as unfair trade practices with Canada is spreading to other states.
A week ago, South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow ordered state troopers to stop and inspect shipments of Canadian grain and livestock coming into the state. The action was intended to send a message urging U.S. officials to ensure fair trade between the two countries. Several trucks were turned away at the state’s borders for not having paperwork required by the state.

It seems Dennis not only has a short memory, but a tinge of hypocrisy when it comes to protest rules. Or maybe he is just taking a page from his dear old buddy Uncle Bill? Now that I think about it, it is too bad we didn’t block Janklow from driving on the roads in SD, probably be a lot more people alive today.