Entries Tagged 'South Dakotans' ↓

A couple of ‘NON-CRAZY’ SD Legislators weigh in on the session

Sioux Falls Legislators Jamison & Nesiba on Dakotanews

It was refreshing to hear a Republican and Democrat share their feelings on the upcoming session. Notice they both have reasonable answers to the problems we face and how those opinions are pretty similar. I have argued for a long time that Sioux Falls is somewhat an oasis from the rest of the state, dare I say even cosmopolitan when compared to other districts. It’s just too bad our city government can’t stop acting like lazy cavemen.

South Dakota Legislative Reporter explains why they are quitting (Pierre)

While there are many fine points in Dana’s editorial, none of it surprises me one bit. When I started doing editorial cartoons in 2006 the legislature was a very easy target. And while some may argue that target has gotten easier over the years, I just think in Pierre it depends on which way the wind is blowing. Take the transgender bathroom issue;

I just couldn’t take the crazy any longer. I couldn’t take the effort wasted on legislation that’s designed to bully and hurt.

I have always looked at this issue in two ways, 1) Someone’s sexual identity is not your G—— F—— Business and 2) who does it affect? Is this an issue in South Dakota? Are biological boys identifying as girls storming bathrooms and high school gyms across the state? In fact when some journalists and other legislators have asked this question nobody can actually identify more than a handful of transgender youth in our state and only 1 or 2 have made an issue about sports.

It goes along with this argument;

Each year the largely Republican Legislature seems to have its priorities in the wrong place. Bills that pick on the transgendered pass easily while last year members of the GOP said, “There’s nothing to see here” as they killed bills that would have shed light on state airplane usage and the governor’s security costs.

They really don’t want to take on the ‘REAL ISSUES’ this has not changed in the 16 years I have been watching the circus called the legislative session. All and any real reform has come thru the initiative/referendum process which now they are trying to kill in the courts and their own ballot measures. And they are becoming successful.

Often, when lawmakers want to make it safe for the rest of us to go to the bathroom or make abortions impossible to get or guns easier to get, they are getting their marching orders from outside the state.

Which also baffles me. If you do google searches on these three issues, while the poll numbers fluctuate, none drop below 50% (These are nationwide averages based on several polls);

• Support keeping Abortion Legal and Safe: 60% Support

• Federal legalization of Adult use recreational cannabis: 60% Support

• Stricter gun laws and other gun control measures: 53% Support

I kind of scratch my head when the peeps in Pierre act like South Dakota is some island when it comes to how the rest of the country thinks (even though over HALF of our funding comes from Federal taxpayers), I would remind you that when it comes to legal abortion and Rec MJ, voters have supported it in this state.

In journalism circles in South Dakota, we often bemoan the fact that there are fewer and fewer reporters writing about the Legislature. Now there’s one less and I feel bad about that. But not bad enough to force myself back into the press box and try to write objectively about legislation and resolutions that I know are by turns silly, symbolic, wrong-headed and cruel.

. . . and don’t forget destructively moronic.

I also see these same wingnuts taking over our city government (they already have) and the next election probably will only exacerbate the problem since many of the candidates running have NO challengers and were hand picked by the Mayor and his minions.

What can we do? I often tell people to spread the truth about the lies and corruption. Tell anyone you know (especially the 10% who vote in city elections about it).

I know it seems I have been kind of quiet about the upcoming city elections, trust me the silence will be broken soon and my spreadsheet of misdeeds on some of the candidates is filling up fast. I encourage others to run, especially in my Central District which has been given a total overhaul and leans pretty left to center. As of right now the incumbent (who has done nothing for the district) has no challengers or anybody on the horizon. This needs to change.

Living Wage in South Dakota should be at $22.50 per hour

I have been advocating for a long time that living wage in South Dakota, especially Sioux Falls should probably be nipping the heels of $20.00 per hour, imagine my surprise when this report came out;

This means that of the 50 states, (Puerto Rico and D.C. are not included) South Dakota is one which costs the least to survive in. But how does a $9.95 minimum wage match up to a $45,000 living wage?

Assuming a 40-hour work week, and 50 working weeks per year, a $9.95 wage comes to $19,900 per year. To match the living wage for South Dakota, the minimum wage would need to rise to $22.50/hour.

Our cost of living adjustments are also very high (notice housing);

While we have a governor who blabs about liberty and freedom and a mayor who decries ‘wage inflation’ you can tell the reality is that we lag very far behind and don’t look to their supposed leadership to help the situation. It’s time to start electing representation that wants to make changes instead of coddle the business elites, hospital industrial complex, and welfare developers.

South Dakota Public Education’s Dirty Little Secret

While everyone is gnashing teeth over teachers rolling around on ice for a handful of bills, there is one part of the story missing from the conversation;

The South Dakota Education Association President says he believes the event was well-intentioned but…
“It just underscores the fact that educators don’t have the resources necessary to meet the needs of their students and that’s what’s kind of cropping up here I think,” SDEA President Loren Paul said.


Not really. It is a well known secret that while teacher pay in South Dakota may be dead last, administrator pay rates anywhere from 11th33rd in the country depending on the position. I have often asked the question why NON-UNION administrators are paid at such a higher National rate then teachers? This is the real disparity issue here and if it was adjusted there would be plenty of money for teacher pay and school room supplies so teachers don’t have to act like rootin’ hogs on the ice.


What often amazes me when ‘teacher pay’ stories come up every year around this time, nobody in the media talks about this disparity or the fact that a lot of private and public professional jobs like nursing also pay dead last in the state. It seems mentioning management pay in these articles is taboo.


I encourage the local media to dig around a little, and ASK why administrator pay rates average around 25th in the nation while teacher pay rates 49th? Things that make you go hmmmmm . . .

While Hospital Execs walk away with millions in South Dakota nurses are paid nearly dead last

This of course has been going on for a very long time;

South Dakota nurses are paid the second worst, on average, in the nation.
That’s according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average South Dakota nurse is paid nearly $61,000.
California nurses are the highest-paid.
They make, on average, nearly $121,000 a year.

Every time I hear someone bring up teacher pay, I often remind them that most middle-class professions in South Dakota pay about the same in South Dakota, dead last. Ironically, it seems exec/nurse salaries fall in line with admin/teacher pay in South Dakota. Pay those at the top as much as possible and throw crumbs to the rest of the minions.

Until we actually elect a ‘peoples’ legislature that will re-legislate employee/worker rights we will be a slave to these kind of wages. I also find it ironic that this story didn’t come out right after hospital execs walked away with millions for quitting.

Also notice that almost ALL of the bottom 25 in pay are RED STATES! I know, SHOCKER! Cheap ASS trickle down policies. It’s a good thing states like California can subsidize our nurses with Federal benefits like SNAP, subsidized housing and Medicade so the executives can walk away with millions in South Dakota.

Is South Dakota turning into a One-Party Dictatorship?

I guess we should not be surprised about the Amendment A ruling today.

There used to be a time where South Dakotans could actually fight the goofy one-party legislation and that was by putting sensible legislation on the ballot and through the court systems, and now those processes are rigged.

While the SD GOP has been successful taking over most of the local governing boards, the state legislature and the constitutional offices, they now have officially have taken over the courts.

I think the one dissenting SD Supreme Court Justice, Scott Myren said it best;

Myren’s dissent focused on the single-subject decision. He noted that Amendment A received substantial media attention and that voters were informed about its intent.

“I believe that the propositions in Constitutional Amendment A are ‘incidental to and necessarily connected with’ the object of providing a comprehensive plan for all phases of legalization, regulation, use, production, and sale of marijuana and related substances,” Myren wrote. 

He is exactly right. I can guarantee if you interviewed every single voter in that election, whether they voted NO or YES, they would all agree they knew by voting for this measure it would legalize Cannabis for Recreational use if passed. I don’t think the supporters of Amendment A were deceiving anyone. And as Myren also points out, with any initiative or amendment there is a factor of regulation, I also think voters understand that.

But I think the most important part of his dissent was this;

Myren says the majority “departs from the ‘Strong presumption of constitutionality’ we are to accord to Amendment A” and the will of the voters.

This is the most important part of the case, because the will of the voters should always be upheld. The SD Supreme Court could have done that while separating out the regulation part, but cowered to obvious political pressure from the Right Wing Dictatorship that runs the entire state;

Although the Court agreed that the first 13 sections of Amendment A were a single subject devoted to legalizing marijuana, it declined to separate that by finding those sections legal and the rest of the amendment unconstitutional. 

In other words, they could have agreed with Justice Myren that what the voters really wanted could have stood, while striking down the parts in the Amendment that need to be handled by the legislature (regulation and taxation) and the fact the other two parts (Industrial Hemp and Med MJ) are already legal and are moot.

There is also the question of how this even made it to the courts;

Ultimately, the Court ruled they didn’t have standing, but because Gov. Kristi Noem ratified the action, the challenge was valid.

“While Thom and Miller lacked standing to commence this action, our conclusion that the Governor ratified the prosecution of the action and is bound by the outcome of this litigation cures any standing defect,” Jensen wrote.

This part makes me question what kind of cooperation was going on between the governor’s office and the court system in private. How did Noem know she had to make this correction in mid-stream? And how is it that the governor can sue it’s own citizens (voters) while using their tax dollars to do so? That is the epitome of corruption and the foundation of any strong fascist regime. It’s mind boggling.

Like I said from the beginning, I wasn’t shocked of the outcome, South Dakotans have been voting in these clowns for years and we get what we deserve. The problem now is we have no way to remedy bad laws in the initiative process or the court system. We now are stuck with a regime we created by ignorantly electing radical right dictators that want to control our lives, so put that in your pipe and smoke it, cuz you got nothing else.

The Truth about SD Trusts

(H/T to a SouthDacola Foot Soldier who sent me this)

I will admit I learned a lot about SD Trusts listening to Terry Prendergast in this podcast. While Terry points out many great things about trusts that the media hasn’t mentioned, he still can’t convince me that they are good for the average South Dakotan.

While they do create jobs, can be held by anybody with wealth or inheritance, are free from state income taxes and help feed the Federal coffers they still leave me with a lingering question, “How does have $500 billion of someone else’s wealth in South Dakota benefit the average South Dakotan?” It doesn’t. And in a round about way, Terry brings it up. He does admit it is a legal tax shelter (not evasion) does benefit the state with bank financing fees, but also admits there is no actual tax dollars coming into the coffers.

While I appreciate him clearing up a lot of questions, even to go so far as saying nothing nefarious is going on (which is true) I have to disagree with him on the benefit of having them here. While SD Trusts are not illegal, and are being ran with the highest standards, at the end of the day I ask why the state legislature is so eager to pass laws beneficial to a select group of people that live out of our state while having very little benefit to South Dakotans?

If the state legislature really wanted to make an impact with legislation, they would focus on its citizens instead of Kings, Drug Traffickers and Dictators (legally) hiding their money in South Dakota (and an occasional farmer).

Who’s Using South Dakota as a Tax Haven for Foreign Wealth? Live stream tonight at 9 PM on PBS

South Dakota Retailers Association’s Bonehead idea

What a great idea! NOT!

Move to South Dakota, work at a designated retail business, and receive $1,000 cash.
That’s the premise of a new incentive from the South Dakota Retailers Association designed to address the workforce shortage in retail, restaurants, hospitality, grocery, trades and many other businesses.
Individuals from out of state who come to work in South Dakota can qualify to receive a $1,000 cash payment that would supplement any hiring bonuses or other incentives offered by an individual business.


It’s been awhile since I have taken a swipe at the SDRA, but this one is almost too easy. Who would move to South Dakota at the beginning of winter to take a no benefits part-time job that pays half of minimum wage (if you are a server) for a $1,000 bonus you don’t get for another 6 months? WTF? When I first read this, I thought maybe it was some kind of joke.

I have argued for a long time that the hospitality industry in South Dakota and across the country should offer at least a buy in to health benefits even if you are part-time. They should also offer PTO and compensate ALL tipped employees the full minimum wage. Minnesota did this several years ago and it hasn’t hurt the industry one bit, some would argue it has improved it.

As I told an elected official yesterday, “The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough hospitality workers in Sioux Falls, the problem is we have to many mediocre restaurants.” You know as well as I do that 99% of eating establishments in Sioux Falls are below average, not just on food quality, but service and price point. Maybe the solution to our problem is to have restaurants that pay their workers well ALL YEAR LONG, offer benefits and in return we will get a better experience as a consumer. But like most things in good old Sodak, it is about the greed of the business owner while the employee and the consumer are left in the dust.

Is the SD GOP turning into the Party of Domestic Terrorism?

Nothing should surprise us anymore in the world of Trumplicanism. Just look reich here in Sioux Falls where we have city funded theocracy in our government, anywhere from snowplows to Sunday school classes (youth council).

But this past week we had a few eye openers when we found out members of our legislature were members of the Anti-Government group called the Oath Keepers, a right wing, militia, white nationalist, anti-government group. State legislators, Phil Jensen and Jim Stalzer have said very little about their involvement. But I will. Not only should they be removed from the legislature immediately, they should be sitting in Federal Prison for treason. It’s one thing to be upset that our tax dollars went to these obvious jackasses, it’s another thing to commit treason. Their membership was a violation of their oath they took while serving in the legislature. That is called treason, it doesn’t have any other definition.

Then there is the case of the AG Rumblestrips getting away with killing a man while playing with his phone, or the governor abusing her power when it comes to using state airplanes and helping her daughter pass a quiz (heard she flunked numerous times).

Oh, then we had this fantastic event at the SD State Fair where the opposing party, Fair security, the local police and the sheriff’s office refused to intervene on these terrorist like acts;

This year, pro-Trump idiots repeatedly invaded the South Dakota Democratic Party Building. They harassed and swore at volunteers, destroyed campaign material and tried to record and harass Democrats who were simply seeking to communicate with fellow South Dakotans.

I think we are beyond the ‘Basket of Deplorables’ at this point. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is an act of domestic terrorism being disguised as partisan politics and enabled by the kook bird krazies called the SD Republican Party.

Why aren’t party leaders denouncing this? Maybe because the party leader Iowa Dan is too busy trying to help his Iowan business buddies run a muck pipeline through our state.

How can we stop this madness? Stop electing these clowns would be the first step. But with the ones that still remain, we need to bring charges, arrest them and prosecute them. This is not just political bullying, these acts violate local, state and federal laws, punishable by fines, resignation and jail time.

While I tend to be a turn the other cheek when it comes to the violent nature of these ass clowns, we can fight them with FREE speech. Talk to your friends about how the SD GOP has become the party of domestic terrorism, and be genuine and very vocal about it. Let’s stop treating this like a partisan FB and Twitter fight and call it what it really is. Maybe voters who actually believe in peace and justice will step up and throw them to the curb. We can’t sustain 50 more years of this Authoritarian Fascist state in South Dakota. Something has got to give.