Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓
November 21st, 2013 — food tax, State Legislature
Trust me, I don’t stand out on street corners holding a sign that says ‘End the Food Tax’ but I do think eliminating the tax, at least partially would be a good idea.
So why am I bringing this up months before the legislative session? Well it seems there may be winds of change blowing on the issue in Pierre this year.
The other night I ran into a state representative, and let’s just say this, we are on ‘talking terms’. One of the topics of conversation was ‘legislative’ proposals. They had a great idea; eliminate the food tax on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets to encourage healthy eating habits. I liked where this person was going with the idea, so I told them they should go a step farther, and eliminate the food tax on all fresh foods and preparable foods (i.e. milk, flour, eggs). I told them that Bread for the World has been fighting this fight for years in the legislature, but maybe if they teamed up with a legislator that wasn’t a Democrat, they might get somewhere on the issue.
They gave me that normal right winger scowl you often see when you ask them to be bi-partisan. They did say they would take that into consideration. I hope so, I already told Bread for the World about your proposal. Teamwork kids! Teamwork!
July 18th, 2013 — South Dakotans, State Legislature
I say yes, but it often makes me chuckle that South Dakotans consistently support Democrats ideas in the form of initiated measures at the ballot box, but vote for Republicans to represent them. Here’s a clue, SD Voter, if you like and support Democrats ideas, maybe you should vote them in office, just a hint;
The minimum wage hike will come before South Dakota voters next year if its proponents, the South Dakota Democratic Party and two labor unions, manage to get almost 16,000 signatures by November of this year.
Of course the SD Chamber of Commerce is against it, because you know, it’s ‘complicated’
Owen, the president and CEO of the state chamber, predicted his group would oppose the minimum wage increase.
“The higher you drive this up, the more you’re going to complicate people entering the workforce,” Owen said.
What complication? Forcing employers to pay a wage (which ironically) isn’t even close to a living wage.
I am of the opinion that higher wages only boost the economy, the more money (lower income) peeps make, the more they will spend, this of course only adds more profit for businesses, which means they can pay their workers more (or at least they should). It is unfortunate you have legislate greedy business owners.
But Zach Crago, the interim executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, predicted a minimum wage increase would help the economy.
“It’s common knowledge that people with more money in their pockets will spend that at businesses across South Dakota,” Crago said. “That’s money that will ripple through our economy and create opportunities for all people.”
I also like the idea of tipped servers getting paid more ($4.25 per/hr) though I still think they should at least get $5 per/hr. Restaurant owners in SD and across the country have been very successful at making a lot of dough off of the backs of their poorly paid employees. The restaurant owners will of course argue that prices will have to go up if they have to pay servers more. Boloney. The fact is, what most restaurants will do is cut their service staff, which isn’t a bad thing. Servers will make more money, not just from their wages but in tips, but it also has it’s consequences, less service, but that is for the restaurant owners to decide.
I think it is wonderful if this gets on the ballot, and I think it will pass. Like I said at the beginning, Democratic ideas once again will be approved by the SD voters, while they continue to send loser Republicans to Pierre and DC.
June 6th, 2013 — Blake Curd Turd, State Legislature
Big surprise here . . . not;
Blake Curd, a Sioux Falls orthopedic surgeon, was tapped Wednesday to replace Mark Johnston in the state Senate. Johnston resigned last month to accept a new job with Sanford Health.
Make no mistake, this is about money and bringing in the teabaggers.
May 2nd, 2013 — District 12, State Legislature
Just another Republican QUITTER
Here they go again, playing their little games. Resigning before their term is up so the governor can appoint a FAKE incumbent. This is beginning to get a little ridiculous;
South Dakota State Senator Mark Johnston is resigning. Governor Dennis Daugaard made the announcement Thursday morning.
Johnston has served as a state senator since 2011. He is resigning to accept a position with Sanford Health as Vice President of Health Policy.
Mark already works for Sanford and has been voting for their self-interests all along, how would this position change anything he has already been doing in the state legislature? This early resignation crap has got to end. I think if any politician resigns before their term is up there should be a special election not a governor’s hand picked crony.
April 28th, 2013 — Ethics, State Funding, State Legislature
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.
April 23rd, 2013 — ALEC, State Funding, State Legislature
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.
March 11th, 2013 — State Funding, State Legislature
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.
March 10th, 2013 — South Dakotans, State Funding, State Legislature
March 4th, 2013 — State Funding, 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.
March 3rd, 2013 — abortion, State Legislature