Well you know what they say, once an Authoritarian Ignoramus, always an Authoritarian Ignoramus. It seems Steve Haugaard’s Covid death dance wasn’t enough for him to change his mind;
But attending a session remotely would require a change in the rules, something Haugaard doesn’t support.
â€œLife has risks. I think we need to move forward and get our job done. If you’re expecting entire session to be problematic, you’ve got to consider, do I resign my position and let somebody actually get out there who can fill the role,â€ Haugaard said.
This has always been my strongest argument against conservatism. It’s not their stone-age views on race, sexuality, women, gun safety laws or abortion it’s their incredible incapability of excepting change, even if that change is easy, doable, economically sound and beneficial. Essentially Steve is saying, â€œHey, this is how we have always done things, so tough sh*t, either Linda can show up and face possibly getting a life-threatening virus or resign.â€
Sure, as bewildering as Haugaard sounds, trust me, I’m no fan of Linda Duba either. She has tried to pull the puppet strings of the South Dakota Democratic party and has tried some vindictive tricks on members of her own party (I was asked to NOT blog about it -oops, I guess I did anyway). Either way, Duba or any legislator has the right to work from home, because quite honestly, it’s pretty easy to do.
The main argument floating around is that legislators need to be in Pierre to talk to lobbyists. That is the biggest problem with Pierre, the lobbyists. They should be banned from the Capital grounds, in fact the entire city during the legislative session. If the legislators need to talk to them, they can do via Zoom, phone or email. This also includes all the dinners and drinky sessions the lobbyists throw for the legislators. Also, not necessary, and in fact should be in state law that they are banned.
Legislators MAIN engagement should be with constituents, via phone, email, etc. and anybody can testify via zoom or phone during the committee meetings and hearings, even legislators. Sessions and voting should also be no different.
A former legislator admitted to me that being in Pierre is the optimal place to legislate, but it could be done remotely with little inconvenience.
In fact moving forward I think that legislative sessions should be remote (or partially remote). There is no reason for legislators to drive to middle of nowhere in the middle of winter to talk about legislation next to each other in person. It’s actually a very primitive concept considering they don’t really pass anything until the last couple of days of session. We could save taxpayers thousands of dollars NOT paying per diem for travel and lodging. It would also give the opportunity for people to run who are NOT self-employed with more flexibility to serve. You only have to turn on your laptop when it is time to participate in discussion and debate and voting instead blowing 40 full days in the barren land of Pierre.
Like I said above, the more we re-elect and elect conservatives, the farther behind we become as state. Let legislators participate from the safety of their homes and stop acting like a cavemen.