Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

I told you so?

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I’m still spitting nails

This is the first of several stories we will be reading about how the Governor’s moronic, ignorant and mostly selfish plan to increase teacher pay falls short;

The legislation promised to give teachers significant raises and give South Dakota schools the ability to compete. But now that districts are doing the math, the Governor’s plan isn’t adding up.

I knew from the beginning, from the dirty track record of Rounds and Daugaard when it came to education funding, that his half-penny increase was a ploy to test the waters of a sales tax increase. Don’t we remember the same promises about Video Lottery?

While the half-penny increase will affect all of our wallets, you will soon see the funding to teachers diluted and the money basically going to property tax relief for the largest property owners in the state.

I warned of the precedent.

It’s easy to point our fingers at the Republicans for acting like a flock of sheep (well, not all of them), but it is the Democrats whose chickenshit votes to push this over a 2/3rds majority that really screwed the chicken on this one, when they all knew that there is millions in the education trust fund that could fill the gap of teacher pay WITHOUT RAISING TAXES!

What a mess, and the worst part about it is we will all be paying more for a broken plan that hasn’t even been implemented yet.

 

Tri-Valley first to pull a stupid

Well, we all knew it was coming, eventually, some po-dunk school in South Dakota would take up the state legislature on the School Sentinel law;

The Tri-Valley School District is considering a policy that could change the look of school safety in South Dakota.

On Monday night, the school board passed the first reading of a school sentinel policy that would allow the district to arm certain employees.

I guess I never expected a school that large to take up the suggestion. Either way, whether you are for or against this (I’m against it) it seems the school board was being sneaky about the way they went about it.

Like I said, there is mountains of evidence why this is a very bad idea, but let’s not talk about that.

The school board decided to try to sneak this under the radar;

The second and final reading of this policy will be on April 11, which is open to the public. 

Yes, they mentioned it in some agendas, but notice they took the first reading without any input. It should have not gotten to first reading if the media would have known about their intentions ahead of time.

Cory also points out the continuing secrecy;

The icing on this bad policy is the secrecy clause. Parents will have no right to know which staff are carrying deadly weapons in school. Parents get no check on the board’s decision, no opportunity to say, “Good grief! They let that yahoo carry a gun? I don’t think so!” Parents get no opportunity to pull their children from an armed teacher’s classroom and demand that their children be placed in classrooms where no guns are present.

I’m willing to bet that most parents would be against an armed sentinel at Tri-Valley, but I guess we will wait and see.

HB1182 passes senate, one of the most ignorant decisions the State Legislature has ever made

I have been following the state legislature for many years, and passing a regressive sales tax increase to give raises to one sector of public employment is probably one of the worst things I have seen our state legislature do in recent memory (besides all the social issues).

I won’t rant about all the other options we had to increase teacher pay without raising taxes, we have seen those options (there are hundreds). One of the best that was actually presented to me a few years ago by representative Hunhoff (who voted yes) was pulling from our gigantic state reserves. We didn’t hear much from Hunhoff on that idea this session. He must have forgotten about it.

So what happened? The only ones voting against this were the cheap skates of the legislature, who would vote against any tax increase. But what about the other Republicans? Are they so scared of property tax and and income tax that they voted to tax the poorest of our society more? Most likely.

But the big losers in this debate? The SD Democratic party. For years they cry about the food tax and general regression of sales taxes to begin with, and when they had a chance to stand up to this and present their own plan they suddenly turn into a gigantic flock of chickenshits.

It doesn’t surprise me our doofus of a governor would concoct such an ignorant plan, I just never imagined 2/3 of our legislature was this moronic to go along with it.

I’ll pray for you tonight.

Is Sioux Falls City Councilor Jamison going to run for State House?

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Dakota Wuss College confirmed that Greg will run for House in District 12, with no primary challenge at this point.

On the Democratic side, Casey Murschel is taking another run at it.

Greg and I had a rocky start when he first got on the council, in fact, I felt like his seat was a coronation from his father. But in his second term, I have felt he had come around and grown as a city legislator, and has become his own lawmaker, and I have appreciated his leadership over the past 4 years.

He would make a great legislator and be a strong voice for Sioux Falls in Pierre.

Last in Pay

One of the big arguments that comes up with bringing up teacher pay is bringing up the pay of other professionals. Is it fair to raise taxes on all of these OTHER professionals so teachers can get paid more? 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.

Let’s pay teachers more, but let’s pay everybody else more to, because if that happens, there will be plenty of school funding sources to go around.

I hope the sales tax plan fails on Monday, but I also hope a doable plan comes forward without raising sales taxes.

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Cameraman Bruce’s Trip to Pierre, Part II-III, Feb 18, 2016

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HB1195 is not more. It’s amazing how a simple idea to clean-up crappy government can get totally blown away by a lobbyist not understanding the issues. Oh well Cameraman Bruce will be back but better prepared to do the work.

A simple, clear and concise rule is already in state law to guide the SD Attorney General for writing statewide ballot language. I most local elections it is also followed but in Sioux Falls the overactive marketing department disguised as a city attorney’s office doesn’t think they need to follow the same rules.

Our Cameraman Bruce went to Pierre on February 18, 2016 to testify before the SD House Local Government Committee on three bills. This video is the second of three videos to show how the process works for other citizens wishing to present their testimonies to a legislative committee.

HB 1195 was placed in the hopper by District 15 Rep Patrick Kirschman to plug one of many loopholes Home Rule Charter communities are allowed to punched their way around.

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Cameraman Bruce rounds out his trip to the House Local Government Committee in Pierre on February 18, 2015 with his testimony on HB 1196. This third bill before the committee was an attempt through legislation to plug another South Dakota Home Rule Charter hole.

HB 1196 was an attempt to close the purview hole found by petitioners. When a petition is submitted to a city attorney for ballot preparation, the city attorney and administration can change the meaning and intent without any oversight by the petitioners. The 2014 city election had the 4 ballot measures submitted by the public. The City Attorney modified each one and would not allow the public to challenge.

This is not acceptable and Citizens for Integrity went to Pierre to see how changes could be made to the process. This day in Pierre was not successful this time but as with any adventure, the first steps are sometimes the hardest. These issues will be addressed with more in the future. As we look into the continuing malfeasance of our higher government officials, we will find ways to counter.

The best parts of the day included the three videos and the shows of support we received behind the scenes in Pierre. Cameraman Bruce and his team will continue to move good government into the public eye. Home Rule Charter abuses must be countered.

Cameraman Bruce’s Trip to Pierre, Part I, Feb 18, 2016

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Our Cameraman Bruce went to Pierre on February 18, 2016 to testify before the SD House Local Government Committee on three bills. This video is the first of three videos to show how the process works for other citizens wishing to present their testimonies to a legislative committee.

The three bills, HB 1194, HB 1195 and HB 1196 were placed in the hopper by District 15 Rep Patrick Kirschman to three of the many loopholes Home Rule Charter communities are allowed to push their weight around.

Sioux Falls with its over staffed City Attorney’s office and compliant City Council has become a trendsetter in abusing citizen rights. We have to close the doors to legalized citizen rights abuse through the poorly written Home Rule Charter. The individuals who put the Home Rule Charter on the 1994 ballot believed in the better values of the leaders so many guarantees we now need were never included.

When this legislation did not make it out of committee Bruce was disappointed but not defeated. This was his first legislative testimony since 1973, this experience has given new energy to how to fix many of the systemic abuses we have been uncovering.

Governor’s ‘Ignorant’ Pay Teacher plan fails by one vote

I guess I am not really elated, it should have failed by a lot more. There will be a reconsideration tomorrow. There was one excused vote today. It could still eventually pass.

I have said from the beginning any plan that uses an increase in sales taxes is short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible.

Think about it, just for a moment. While almost half of school kids in the SF School District get free or reduced lunches (because their parents are living in poverty and can’t afford to buy food) the solution for higher teacher pay is to RAISE the tax on food that these student’s parents can’t afford. I guess as long as teacher’s can afford to buy themselves lunch, the FEDs will continue to feed the needy.

There are options, SEVERAL options;

• Use 100% of lottery money to fund education by upping the state’s take.

• Equalize school administrator pay with teacher pay (we are 26th in the nation for admin pay).

• Reduce reserves of school districts and funnel that money towards teacher pay. I have never understood putting tax dollars in savings accounts. Either spend it, or give it back.

• Eliminate several sales tax exemptions like on advertising.

• Equalize ag land property taxes with urban taxes. Let’s face it, farming is more and more a corporate venture not a small family business.

• Implement more taxes on tourism.

We have options, hundreds of options. Raising taxes on food, utilities and clothing is short sighted and counter productive. Let’s raise teacher pay, but let’s do it in an educated way and responsibly.

Letter Writer Nails it, Almost

While I enjoyed reading Erika’s letter, and she makes some great points, let’s just admit it, Denver is a much nicer place to live if you are a professional compared to Sioux Falls;

When I think of the people I know from my time in S.D. and at USD, a smile comes to my face. They are wonderful and talented. They have masters and professional degrees and successful careers. They are public policy analysts, news anchors, social media directors, teachers and doctors.

And if they all want to make better money, they leave the state, that’s just common sense. I have had several friends in the medical field that literally doubled their pay overnight by moving to places like California, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas and even Nebraska with maybe a 20-30% jump in cost of living. I even have a close friend who literally built herself a small franchise clinic business in Atlanta pretty much overnight. Never would have happened here.

But besides getting paid better, there is also the social/governmental aspect of living outside of South Dakota;

I posted something on Facebook recently about the current legislative session and the hateful measures garnering national attention. I spoke not even so much about the content or the constitutionality of these bills, or the fact that it’s downright crazy they are passing through chambers of our state’s highest branch of government.

You may have answered your own question;

I don’t try to quell their stereotypes that South Dakota is full of backwoods rednecks who hate anyone who doesn’t look, act or think like them. Similarly, I answer glibly with something like “tis the season … .”

These are the very ‘rednecks’ that are running our state legislature and making the rest of us at least ‘moderate to progressive’ thinking folks look like them. If I didn’t live in Sioux Falls, I wouldn’t live in South Dakota. I often call the borders of our fine city ‘outer space’ and Pierre as ‘deep space’.

I think Sioux Falls has become more progressive over the past 4 years or so, there is a lot more diverse entertainment (mostly due to private promotion) visual arts and artists are more recognized, there is more then 2 good restaurants in town (I think we are up to about 5 now, but that number floats quite a bit due to musical chair chefs) and I honestly believe there is a lot more tolerance of the LGBT community then ever before (the city hosts a gay pride festival, just don’t park on the street or you will get ticketed). Things are getting better here, at least in Sioux Falls.

South Dakota, we love you and we miss you. And you’re right: we’ve changed. But we’re not coming back until you do.

It will be awhile before they get back to where they used to be (whenever that was) but we are coming around. Now if we could just get rid of the rednecks in the state legislature.

Get your NEO-CON cracker barrel on!

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My ears are still bleeding. Another fun part was when Omdahl railed on about the death penalty, and how he supports it, and ends his rant with “But I’m pro-life” too which the crowd responded in laughter.