Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

Rep. Haugaard hates the petition/initiative process because he says ‘Direct Democracy’ doesn’t work.

Haugaard said this, this morning during the legislative coffee; “Direct democracy doesn’t work.” I about fell out of my chair laughing. Once again, another state legislator makes a ridiculous statement NOT based on facts.

First, let’s look to direct democracy in our state. Many of the greatest changes in state law have occurred due to initiatives, some of the worst changes in state law have occurred in the state legislature. I could go thru a long list of examples, but you know what I am talking about.

As for internationally, the Swiss people have had ‘Direct Democracy’ for decades and it works and is very popular. The Swiss people vote on laws 4 times a year and voter turnout is around 50% over the past 30 years (Americans are around 50% over the same time period in national elections). A recent poll shows 65% of Swiss people are satisfied with their government (Americans are at about 58% but another 61% want to see ‘significant changes’). On top of that the Swiss people have one of the highest standard of living in the world. Switzerland rates #2 in the world for per capita wealth.

I challenge Mr. Haugaard to tell a Swiss citizen that “Direct democracy doesn’t work.” They would certainly disagree. Not only does it work, it lifts people up in more ways then you can even imagine. Leave the petition/initiative process alone, it’s not broken and it works extremely well. Our state legislature, not so much.

Legislative Coffee • Sioux Falls • Feb 2, 2019

I guess not all of our legislature is Whacky. It seems (most of) this delegation supports having a Spanish driver’s license test, legalizing industrial hemp, studying making ingestion a misdemenor. But they want to change absentee voting from 45 days to ‘something else’. I don’t agree, leave it as is. As Representative Sullivan said, “I started campaigning and knocking on doors in August.” She also added we need to make it easier for people to vote. 100% Agreed!

I do however think that absentees should be mailed to the SD address, NOT snowbird address. I think if you travel for business and are out of state quite a bit that should be an exception, but if you don’t actually physically live here at least 95% of the time, you shouldn’t be able to vote. A great example is a certain individual who is extremely wealthy who has a SF address, and constantly is nosing around in city government but lives most of the time in California. I don’t agree with this. If you want to participate in state and municipal government, great, but you also have to live here. It is obvious you are keeping your SD address for tax shelter purposes (another law that should change).

Majority of Legislature and Governor must think we are going to be attacked by Canada

As you probably heard, permit-less concealed carry passed the legislature and Donita Trump said she will sign the bill. If you do any REAL research on the 2nd Amendment, you will know that it’s main purpose was to create a ‘regulated militia’ in parts of the country that didn’t have one (We have the SD National Guard) and so slave owners could control their slaves. There of course was killing critters for food. Other than that, there is really absolutely NO reason anyone needs to own a gun. But since it is legal to own a lethal weapon, the permit process is NOT broken and works fine (well, it really should be stricter by requiring owners to get an operator’s license and carry liability insurance on every firearm they own). Why are we going backwards on gun safety? I can’t answer that, even after a large majority of gun owners and non gun owners just recently polled said they are OK with the permitting process.

As we all know, this will open up a whole new market of people buying guns privately and carrying without a permit. Not all of these people could pass a background check. This will only make law enforcement’s job harder, a lot harder. It will also give a free pass to anyone who couldn’t get a gun before. It is complete insanity, and anyone who voted for this needs to have their head examined.

Besides the possible increase in crime, it could also affect tourism in our state, in fact I was surprised that the Chamber, Retailers Association and the Department of Tourism did not oppose such an ignorant bill.

It also proves that our legislature wastes a lot of time on bills that are not only not needed but harmful to the citizenry as a whole.

Once again, they have done nothing to ensure;

More open government.

Eliminating food taxes (and taxes on other necessities like clothing, utilities and hygiene products)

Expanding Medicare to assist with nursing home residents (and frankly help the economy)

Funding ALL education better (Pre-K, Higher Learning, Technical and K-12)

Giving counties more revenue through realigning alcohol taxes.

Cutting the Half-Penny tax due to the new internet sales tax revenue.

Our State Legislature is a black hole of nothingness, it has been horrible for a very long time, and this year will go down in history as one of the worst. In fact, one of the key members went to Texas for 3 days to attend a Mini-Golf concessions conference (Al Norstrup). Will his pay be cut for missing several crucial votes?

It’s time to clean house in the next couple of election cycles.

Government Secrecy costs A LOT of money!

Well, you know the old cliché, Lawyers are professional liars. They brought those talents to Pierre to try to get an open settlements law killed in committee;

“Transparency is a good thing, but at what cost?” said Sioux Falls lawyer Steve Siegel, who represented the trial lawyers. Siegel noted that parties in lawsuits use confidential agreements to keep embarrassing information out of the public, and he noted that the South Dakota Newspaper Association was in favor of the bill.

I guess we only have a right to information if it isn’t embarrassing? Only a lawyer would come up with such a ridiculous excuse. He also apparently tried to peg the SDNA as a tabloid and gossip rag organization. Hey Steve, they represent NEWS organizations, not the National Enquirer.

They also tried to use the tired old excuse that keeping things secret saves money. LOL. How would we know if the settlements are kept secret?;

David Bordewyk, the executive director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, pointed to the secret settlement that Sioux Falls negotiated with contractors over flawed exterior panels on the Denny Sanford Premier Center. That settlement only became public because a lawsuit had not been filed. The settlement agreement showed that Sioux Falls officials mislead the public about receiving $1 million in cash from the contractors.

That settlement, in which we got $1 million of our own money back, cost taxpayers well over $100,000 to defend it’s secrecy in court. In fact, the Federal government forbids secret settlements because government secrecy tends to cost them billions of dollars a year.

This isn’t about saving money (a lie) but it is probably about embarrassment. We had a mayor who probably signed off on bad siding, and in order to cover it up he lied about a supposed settlement. And even after the city lost the Supreme Court case, the shame and embarrassment didn’t seem to bother him at all, in fact, in true Trump style he doubled down on the lies and to this day has refused to admit if he singed off on the Shi**y siding.

Opening up these settlements will save taxpayers in South Dakota millions of dollars, and maybe the ‘public embarrassment’ will keep these settlements to a bare minimum, if they are not truly deserving. But I don’t think the recipients are the ones that will be embarrassed, it will be the corrupt politicians who got our tit in a wringer to begin with, and to that I say OPEN THE BOOKS!

South Dakota MSM should be against this bill

It surprises me that the print and TV MSM is not against this bill since it leaves out the internet as a news service;

(1)    Obtains or receives the information, with or without solicitation, in the course of gathering or obtaining news for publication in a newspaper, magazine, or for broadcast by a radio or television transmission station or network; and

(2)    Is employed by or otherwise associated in a new-gathering capacity with the newspaper, magazine, or radio or television transmission station or network [HB 1074].

While I have several arguments against being ‘PAID’ to qualify as a journalist (I do sell advertising). It amazes me in this digital age that the local TV and Print wouldn’t be against this legislation because it does NOT include the internet.

The argument is obvious. The Argus Leader and all of our local TV stations maintain very active websites. Even some of the more advertising slanted media in town like 605 Magazine has an active website. Siouxfalls.business is only web based.

I get no news from TV. Haven’t turned one on in over 6 years (except in my occasional hotel stays). I read the state’s dailies online. In fact, if I had to guess, most of these media sources could not pay the bills or survive if they shut down their websites.

While it is obvious the ‘internet’ was left off of this bill to poke an eye at bloggers, it really misses the point that most people get their news digitally. While Pitty Patt may not be my favorite person in the whole wide world, I think he said it best;

Given the prevalence and shift of resources to the Internet in the news world, I would argue that it’s the legislative equivalent of writing legislation for licensing requirements for the horse and buggy… and ignoring the fact that most people are traveling by automobile.

I’m surprised there wasn’t a bill proposed this year that asks the Capital Building to maintain a stable.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr comments on the Municipal League suit

UPDATE: I guess the hearing has been called off, and Taylor is NO LONGER banned. Still waiting to hear more details. I wonder if our AG stopped eating cookies for a couple of minutes and read the constitution instead.

Pat called into the B-N-B show this morning (towards end) and expresses his feelings on the issue;

“I’m concerned as a taxpayer,” Starr told The Greg Belfrage Show this morning. “It’s a great group for the municipalities to come together across the state. This just distracts from the organization that does this for us.”

Starr said it, unfortunately, the parties have had to go to federal court to determine for what he calls “a personality conflict.”

“I think you expect professional decorum on both sides,” Starr said. “I’m disappointed.”

But he said he needed to back Taylor, as she has free speech rights and works for “his” organization.

“To ban someone indefinitely is overreaching and probably one of the reasons she used to for the terminology,” Starr said.

I think both Taylor and Haugaard were out of line, they should just make up and move on. But instead, it’s going to cost taxpayers coming and going;

So, win, lose, or draw, South Dakota taxpayers will be paying indirectly for the two sides’ attorneys.

If we had an AG’s office with at least a half a brain that actually understood the Constitution, they would have sent a polite letter to Haugaard telling him his actions were unconstitutional and that he had no right to ban Taylor. Then send a letter to Taylor telling her she was no longer banned. Pretty simple. The postage may have cost the taxpayers a couple of bucks, but problem solved. So now we have two publicly funded institutions fighting it out in Federal court over a clear violation of 1st Amendment rights. Not only is it ‘Whacky’ it’s down right stupid. I think our state house is not only full of ‘Whackies’ but it also is full of the mentally challenged, mentally ill and just down right ignorant. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Steve.

UPDATE: Kettle meet Black

My first reaction to the kerfuffle over the banning of the Municipal League’s Chief Lobbyist and Director was complete laughter. It seems to be a couple of ‘Whackies’ going at it. I wanted to call Haugaard and ask him to ban her for life.

Either way, it doesn’t seem he has the legal authority to ban Taylor based on free speech rights.

But also in defense of Taylor (though it pains me) I thought she was a little light on her criticism of 20% of the legislature being ‘Whackies’. I would set that bar much higher, like closer to 90%.

But what makes the situation even more ironic (and down right funny) is Taylor and Haugaard both are on the anti-citizen team when it comes to proposed and passed legislation. Steve’s party consistently is working against the good folks of South Dakota, and so is Taylor (just on different playing fields). I would say they have a heckuva a lot more in common than differences.

UPDATE: For instance there is a DRAFT bill the Anti-Citizen League (my nickname for them) is pushing to repeal the law that basically would ban public input at all public meetings EXCEPT regular meetings held by city councils and county commissions. In essence going backwards. The ACL has long hated public input into anything and has strived for years to let muni’s pass sales tax increases, that they say would ‘Sunset’. Nothing ever sunsets, especially tax increases.

COPY OF DRAFT: Open-Meeting-Cleanup-DRAFT

Highlight;

In a corresponding email, Taylor says, “Hi, all – attached is the copy of our re-write of the open meeting laws.  The intent is clean-up, readability, and clarification.  This has been a long, negotiated process, and in its current form, the newspapers are OK with it.  I will appreciate you thoughts and comments, and am happy to answer questions.”

The ‘newspapers are OK with it.’? What about the citizens?! You know, the people who pay your wages! Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky, Snake.

With Haugaard’s recent ‘banning’ of Taylor, I think it is finally time for Sioux Falls to cut our ties to the League and stop wasting approximately $70K a year for their ‘Lobbyist’ help. They are not helping. As I have argued in the past, we have a city council operations manager and a deputy COS, T.J. TypeOver who can handle our lobbying needs.

I also wonder what our very Republican City Council Chair, Erickson, who has long been a defender of Taylor’s actions thinks of this latest ripple? Seems she is in the best position to alleviate the situation. My solution? FIRE Taylor and send Haugaard a Thank You card with a copy of the Constitution.

SD State Legislature won’t fund education properly but want schools to buy plaques that violate church and state

God, Guns, and Abortion, that is all the legislature seems to be concerned about. Now they want schools to violate separation of church and state, yet provide NO funding mechanism;

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require 1 the national motto of the United States to be

2 displayed in public schools.

3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

4 Section 1. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

5 Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the national motto of the United States, “In God

6 We Trust,” shall be displayed in each public school. The display shall be located in a prominent

7 location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student

8 artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.

9 For the purposes of this section, a prominent location is a school entryway, cafeteria, or

10 other common area where students are most likely to see the national motto display.

While some may argue that the term ‘GOD’ doesn’t talk about a specific religion, I still think it borders on violation of the separation clause. What’s even worse is that the legislature wants schools to apparently fund this on their own without providing a funding mechanism. A sign or plaque that is prominently displayed could cost anywhere from $75 to $750 dollars. This is a waste of educational dollars. If I was one of these schools I would take a highlighter to a dollar bill and put it in a frame and hang that up. In America, we only have one true God, and it is green.

Complete Insanity!

As I have joked in the past, some in legislature need to be evaluated for mental illness, and while I was being ‘sarcastic’ when I see crap like this, I sometimes wonder;

State lawmakers are proposing legislation that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota.

The so-called constitutional carry legislation was introduced Friday. The proposal languished under former Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but new GOP Gov. Kristi Noem offered support for such a law during her campaign.

Republican Rep. Drew Dennert is sponsoring a constitutional carry bill in the House. He says backers have the promise of the governor and support from the public and both legislative chambers.

Support from the Public? Bull . . . . sh*t!

How do you think this will make us safer? Allowing anyone to have a gun without a permit, or a permitting process is complete insanity. Also, how do you think this will help with tourism? If I was a major player in the Tourism industry, the Education system, or heck any business person in this state I would find a way to put a halt to his frightening legislation. We are not living in the Wild West anymore, and if my memory serves me, it wasn’t a very pleasant time. More guns, and especially guns in the hands of people who are not properly vetted is a horrible idea. How do these clowns get elected? Baffling.

Which headline is true?

Ironically, either one could be . . .

You had Ted the amateur gyno

Lynn, who felt it was okay to run over Liberals with cars

Mike the bigot

Matt who thought session was about drinking and having sex with legislative college staff

Gene who wants to watch female lobbyists pee

Saving babies while allowing more guns and cutting education funding . . .