Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

South Dakota Legislature expects annual reports from DSU’s Cyber Lab, What about the City of Sioux Falls?

The South Dakota Legislature approved and made appropriations of $30,000,000 to be given to Dakota State University to help build the Cyber Expansion Building in Sioux Falls. This is in conjunction with the City of Sioux Falls providing additionally the $10,000,000 as per City Ordinance 38-22 from city funds to the same cause. The state legislature goes an additional step, by ordering a report each year the balance of funds remaining, and an itemized list of expenses of money already spent each year. When will the city expect the same?

HB1033 Amended to block Developer Welfare Cookie Jar


Not everything that happens in the legislature this year is a total toilet flush. HB1033 which provides $200 Million towards housing passed after being amended to leave the welfare developers hands out of the cookie jar.

Section 6. The executive director of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority shall approve vouchers and the state auditor shall draw warrants to pay expenditures authorized by this Act.

Originally the private contractors and developers wanted a portion of this fund to carte blanche build whatever they wanted  whether it was affordable housing or not. Now the SDHDA has the power to make sure the funding goes towards worthy accessible housing projects. The private developers still get a piece of the pie if they are willing to help build affordable housing.

Are South Dakota Trusts hiding Russian oligarchs money?

While Republicans in our state and DC want to whine about the Biden administration not doing enough to prevent war in Ukraine they say little about the possibility that some bad actors that could be hiding Russian oligarch money in SD;

Chuck Collins, the author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions and the director of the programme on inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, said the situation with regard to South Dakota was “an embarrassment” for the US.

“We are the weak link. And South Dakota is in a race to the bottom to be the weakest link on trusts,” said Collins. “We have seen the hidden wealth apparatus but it is always considered offshore. The more we understand that it’s onshore, the US is a weak link and we are now the magnet for kleptocratic capital the better for national understanding and the greater the potential for national legislation.”

Our super majority Republican legislature with the help of the governor could dig deep and enact legislation that prevents ANY ties to ANY oligarch from ANY country from hiding money in South Dakota. But while Ukrainians are dying all we get is silence and inaction.

It goes back to what I have often accused Republican lawmakers of (especially in our state), when it comes to THEIR personal wealth and livelihoods they could care less where the money is coming from as long as they can control it, this is why they refuse to take sales tax off of food even though 47 other states have done it successfully.

War, drought, poor healthcare, poverty, gambling, you name it, GREED is the only thing that controls them.

Failures of the RR Redevelopment negotiations rear their head again

And here we go, throwing more Federal money at the project and it’s an EMERGENCY even though the trains have tooting their horns through SF for over 100 years!

While I don’t oppose creating quiet zones throughout the city (even though we know this is probably for DTSF exclusively) it is pretty obvious we have to do this because we failed to remove the RR tracks from downtown during the negotiations. While it will make DTSF safer with the crossbars, the only noise it eliminates is the sirens from the trains, you will continue to hear them barrel down the track and cause traffic interruptions.

I have NO DOUBT the Feds will probably reimburse the state, but you have to admit since we didn’t successfully remove the tracks from this area to begin with, we are just playing a game of whack a mole and this is the latest.

So far the developer in this area has received millions in improvements to the River Greenway, a significant discount on the land, multiple TIFs (to build condos) and now another $5 million to create quiet zones next to those condos.

Here’s a concept DON’T BUILD CONDOS AND APARTMENTS NEXT TO A RAILROAD TRACK, or better yet work with our Washington delegates to get the tracks torn out. Nope, let’s just keep throwing tax dollars at small bandaids that doesn’t fix the bigger problem TRAINS RUMBLING THROUGH DOWNTOWN FOR NO DAMN GOOD REASON!

South Dakota State Representative Mark Willadsen gets laughed at during the Legislative Coffee

Class Clown Willadsen

It all started with a question from moderator Melanie Bliss (FF to 1:18);

‘Will the legislature outlaw masks and vaccine mandates?’

After one legislator answered, Mark takes a stab at it;

. . . I think we have had great leadership . . . (Referring to Covid and the Governor)

After the very audible laughter from the crowd, you could hear Bliss say ‘Thank You’ to which Mark says fine, and you could tell he was very angry. Bliss coninues, ‘I didn’t say thank you to you I said thank to them because they stopped laughing. Mark then continued about all this great leadership and how the schools and state stayed open.

What I have always found ironic about that statement is that it is false. Many state, education, and City of Sioux Falls employees worked from home for months while the rest of us either trudged through at our private sector jobs or took unemployment because the businesses were closed especially in the hospitality industry.

It is probably why he was laughed at. When you say ridiculous things YOU will get a reaction.

House Speaker Gosch owns Noem

While I was glad to see Noem’s proposal on abortion killed (because there is already oodles of SCOTUS abortion litigation heading their way) I was more entertained by Gosch’s response to her crocodile tears;

“Look it wasn’t my intention to hurt anybody’s feelings in the way that things went but sometimes that happens in legislation right. Some people get really tied to their idea and it just doesn’t go their way,” said Gosch.

Gosch says he doesn’t dislike anyone

“But ultimately we are going we’ve got a lot of work to do and we are going to need to continue to work hard to accomplish what we need to accomplish without any sideshows or personal vendettas,” said Gosch.

“The intention wasn’t for feelings to get hurt we just have a job to do and I think we did it,” said Gosch.

In his statement Gosch said it is not the governor’s job to introduce legislation, she can only recommend language. He says the power to legislate is reserved to the legislative branch.

That last part is the best part. I often tell the city council they need to be the ones forming policy, NOT the mayor’s office. But most of them lack courage or the will to stand up to Poops. And they ain’t real hardworkers.

Speaking of abortion, this latest clip from Sam B weighs in on the possibility of having a right to an abortion using religious exemption. I loved what the Catholic said; ‘Freedom of Religion also means Freedom from Religion.’ Amen.

South Dakota Legislators look to limit Med MJ

Detroit Lewis for Pierre BTT News


While 70% of South Dakota voters approved Medical Marijuana in November of 2020 and the state has worked for over a year to implement rules statewide along with local jurisdictions it hasn’t stopped some legislators from trying to limit it more.

“Initiatives? What are those?” asked Rep Jon Hansjob

I explained to him that petitioners travel across the state to gather thousands of voters signatures just to hopefully have the opportunity to put their initiative on the ballot and if it is able to receive the majority of votes from even thousands more of constituents it becomes law.

Hansjob responded, “What are constituents?”

After another long explanation to him, he replies, “The only laws that count are written by God and the SD GOP Legislative delegation . . . oh, and ALEC.”

I realized I was getting nowhere with Rep Hansjob as he begin to mutter something about bathrooms and started chasing some teenager in a rainbow colored wig while yelling at them ‘TERRORIST’.


I decided to see if I could track down the sponsor of most of these repeal bills, Rep Ted Doutche. I was hoping he would SPILL his guts to me so I could CLEANSE myself of my curiosities about the repeal bills.

While looking for Doutche I ran into Democratic Rep Austin Healey suddenly emerging from a mop closet to ask her what she thought about the MJ repeal bills. She replied, “What was your question about abortion and trans athletes?” Before I could repeat the question, she said, “I think it is perfectly fine for female trans athletes to use Medical MJ while they are pregnant, especially if they are seeking an abortion.”

Before I could ask her how any of that was even biologically possible she returned to the mop closet telling me, “Sorry, I have to return to the caucus meeting.” I asked if I could attend as a member of the press and she said, “While there is plenty of room for you, I would have to deny your request since Rep Lynn Doobage doesn’t like reporters breathing on her. And don’t look her in the eyes, that’s dangerous.”

I finally found Doutche guarding the door of the women’s bathroom with a AR-15. I asked him if any constituents asked him to repeal Med MJ after 70% of voters passed the initiative. Doutche responds, “When you say constituents you mean out of state lobbyists from the Big Pharma? Correct?”

I was going to ask him what voters were but I didn’t want to go down the same path as I did with Hansjob. I asked him, “Besides the lobbyists, what has possessed you to write these authoritarian bills that clearly violates what the voters asked for?” Doutche responds, “Let me fill you in on a little secret. While most reps here will tell you they are inspired by the Bible, Trump, FOX News or Noem, it’s really the circus music playing in our heads that guide us.”

Not sure why the mayor had to have secret meetings about this?

Looks like the DSU deal is being released to the public. Not sure why Mayor Secret Poops had to have a secret meeting with the council about this at city hall. That’s what baffles me about his secrecy sometimes . . . what’s the point? So you want to give $10 million to a public university? And that needs to be kept secret why? Oh that’s right, not to piss off the great one;

Of the $90 million going toward this initiative, $50 million over five years will come from T. Denny Sanford to expand in Sioux Falls; $10 million will come from the city, pending council approval; $250,000 from Forward Sioux Falls for a cyber/IT park in Sioux Falls; $30 million from the state as proposed in Gov. Kristi Noem’s State of the State address, pending legislative approval.

While I certainly don’t discourage DSU building a facility in Sioux Falls AND certain tax dollars going towards higher education, I’m not sure the money should be coming out of the city’s kitty. We can do a lot of infrastructure repairs with $10 million. Which brings us to the other big question, where is this money coming from*? If the city has $10 million laying around to throw at this, it tells me one thing, we are overtaxed. It seems lately the city is just flush in money for all kinds of these kind of projects. Can you imagine how many affordable homes and apartments we could refurbish with $10 Million? Probably well over a 1,000 units combined.

Looks like another handshake deal with the Denny Warbucks and Matty P. where the private sector is dictating where taxpayers should spend their money while our local leaders have secret meetings about it in the basement of city hall. Hopefully the black hoods and candles were donated 🙂

*Speaking of money, I guess councilor Starr was mislead last week about where the $150K is coming from for the Bunker Ramp legal fund. The story going around is that our legal department has a slush fund for litigation like this. I wonder if our city attorney will apologize and correct his statements at the next public meeting?

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.