Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

Should South Dakota State Law change to help with wage increases

Wage collusion has been going on in Sioux Falls and the State for quite awhile. Would a change in State Law or even city ordinance that requires all employers (big and small) to show either the hourly wage or salary in an employment ad that is posted within the state or city help matters? Would it hurt?

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.

Open letter to Rep Schoenfish

 

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.

Mayor Huether’s Nephew in Deep with Gear Up scandal

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

We’ve talked about Mr. Schoenfish in the past, he has been the mayor’s favorite nephew for quite awhile. Kyle received campaign donations from Uncle Mike when he first ran for the legislature as a Democrat, and after losing that race, he realized putting an ‘R’ behind his name was the winning ticket, Uncle High Crimes slipped him some more money that time to. Ironically, Mike left the Democratic party to, it’s a family thing I guess, when the going gets tough . . . the tough switches parties. I wonder if the ‘R’ behind Kyle’s name will be enough to save him this time?

It looks like he is finally going to see his day in court over being the auditor for Mid Central and Gear Up;

The Co-op, which is now defunct, is pointing fingers at its accounting firm which performed yearly audits for more than a decade.

It’s the accounting firm of a current lawmaker, Kyle Schoenfish. Schoenfish is a Republican representative from Scotland, SD.

It is also no secret that Kyle has been looked at from the beginning on the Gear Up investigation;

We looked at Schoenfish’s audit report on Mid Central from July of 2013 to 2014, right before the South Dakota Legislative audit found problems with GEAR UP.

Schoenfish said, “We identified certain deficiencies in internal control that we consider to be material weaknesses. It did find that over an eight year period “errors and omissions were noted in the annual finance statements prepared by cooperative officials.”   Mid Central promised to be more “accurate and complete” when preparing financial statements.

KELOLAND News tried to reach Kyle Schoenfish Tuesday for comment.  We’ll let you know when we hear back from him.

This isn’t the first time the accounting firm of Schoenfish & Company has been under scrutiny over not catching the misuse of GEAR UP funds.

An independent group of citizens has prepared a list of ten questions it would like lawmaker Kyle Schoenfish to answer and has submitted them to the South Dakota Auditor General.

They specifically ask about discrepancies in Mid Central’s balances and if Schoenfish ever reported them to anyone outside of Mid Central. We’ve posted those ten questions online on this story if you’d like to read them.

Maybe Stormland should be calling MMM, see what he knows? Too bad you couldn’t keep those audits secret like the Events Center siding settlement. I wonder if Uncle Hubris will come to the rescue of his favorite nephew if he is charged and faces jail time? Get Fiddle Faddle on it!

The South Dakota Legislature really is an international embarrassment

Pretty sad it takes a foreigner (and a teenager to boot) to observe the absurdity of our state legislator;

We have a foreign exchange student staying with us from Venezuela. Recently, her class went to Pierre to see democracy in action. She came home stunned.

The students were to listen and take notes on debates about issues they had studied including Initiated Measure 22. The Majority Whip, called to speak several times, was absent. He wandered in with a “huge” burger, then visited with friends during testimony. When votes were called, my friend observed that all the lawmakers she could see were on social media. Several looked around and voted the way their peers voted.

“I don’t think they even knew which bill they were voting on. I don’t think they cared!” She shook a paper at me. “Look,” she said, pointing at a paragraph. “It says, carefully … lawmakers will carefully consider all the information and then vote.”

Later, the class went to committee to witness citizens give testimony. “They were so rude!” my friend exclaimed. “They could have at least said, ‘Thank you for coming.’ They didn’t even pretend to listen.” A final insult, “They didn’t even take notes. What are they doing?”

It’s time for us voters to lay some tile in Pierre.

Or maybe just fire all of them.

Crickets

The SD Democratic Party got clever with some video Cameraman Bruce shot. Thanks for sharing! The irony is how these same folks (Republican Lawmakers) are all of sudden constitutional scholars when repealing IM 22, but they can’t answer questions about simple bills on the docket for a cracker barrel.