Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

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.

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.

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).

I moved, kind of

Ever since I have owned my home I have lived just barely in District 13. The district used to be pretty balanced but it seems lately it has become ran by Republicans. I have been watching the districting process over the past few months. It seemed that I was destined to be moved to District 10 and I barely slipped in. I welcome it. The District has moved out of Brandon (Thank God) and mostly encompasses the Whittier neighborhood, Beadle and a tiny chunk of McKennan, it also leans Dem. It will be fun to watch how the legislative seats in the District play out in 2022. It’s time to kick Maggie Sutton to the curb and create a left of center district in Sioux Falls.

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.

South Dakota Trust Companies don’t benefit us One Iota

With the story about Pandora Papers coming out yesterday, the one thing that has often frustrated me about the trust companies in South Dakota is that having all that money parked here doesn’t benefit the state coffers one bit.

Even if we had a simple state finance charge or a transaction fee that was incredibly tiny, we could rake in millions for education and infrastructure.

The first problem with that is the ones that hold onto the trusts could no longer be secret.

I ask our legislators, why are we allowing them to be here if they serve no public good? You know like PO box RVers, sales tax on food and video lottery.

Nevermind.

Spineless South Dakota Legislature will NEVER impeach AG Jason Ravnsborg

I made a risky bet with a friend a few weeks ago, loser has to take the other one out for a night of mayhem in Downtown Sioux Falls. He actually reduced the bet to ‘a couple of drinks’ but not because he thought he would lose.

A couple of days after Noem asked Jason Rumblestrips to resign and the legislature was moving forward with impeachment I bet a Republican friend (I have a few) that it would never happen (resignation or impeachment). I know, I haven’t quite won yet, but the odds are in my favor.

The legislature wants to wait until the trial is done (whatever) and Jason will never resign while this is making it through the court process. In fact it could be 4-12 months before this even sees the inside of a courtroom. His attorney has already said he needs 60 days of discovery and may extend it after that.  I get the itching feeling that Jason, his attorney and the state legislature are just going to run out the clock, or try to. Most people will probably even forget about it in a year, or at least they are hoping.

While I agree with Noem that he should resign, why would he? It’s just misdemeanors at this point and he still has to have his day in court. Why not just hide in your office, milk the clock, and suck on the taxpayer’s teat as long as possible. Besides, even if he finishes his term, which I think he will, he will never be re-elected or even elected to dog catcher ever again. His political career starts and ends with this term. Yeah, it’s pretty disgraceful to not resign, but expected from another gutless South Dakota Republican office holder in Pierre.

Lie, Deny, Deny, Deny. Kristi does it all day long, like her famous one that the family was destitute after her father died because of a $169K estate tax bill they had to pay failing to mention the millions the family received in insurance and farm subsidies (Federal taxpayer funded welfare).

We all know the real reason Kristi is salivating over a JR resignation is because she wants to appoint a Trumper to push her agenda of dismantling abortion and Mary Jane in the state, and probably a whole host of other crap. My advice, sadly to AG Rumblestrips is to ‘Stay Golden Pony Boy’.

As for the legislature, they are even more spineless than Kristi or Jason. They make a bunch of noise about how they are going to impeach him, then once they realize they are breaking the Reagan Rule of destroying your own they chickensh!t out.

I knew they would. BACH! BACH!

While their argument of waiting for his day in court may seem honorable, it’s just a lame excuse. He has already been charged, and the preoccupation alone disqualifies him from performing his job duties. Heck, he can’t even tell us what the state has spent on trying to kill Rec Jane. His own resignation or impeachment would prove he has integrity, even if he is found not guilty – of course the evidence says otherwise. Most common folk in this same scenario would have already admitted that they may have screwed up, but these same folks are also NOT elected officials such as the top law enforcement agent for the state. I sometimes wonder if he knows that. I would ask him to google it, but he would probably do it while driving.

In the real world, most of us probably would have been arrested that night and a blood drawn done. We also probably would have been charged with reckless driving. It is pretty obvious that Jason has gotten mountains of preferential treatment in this whole deal, even when he was too stupid to have a lawyer with him while answering investigator questions, heck I wouldn’t even agreed to a sit down interview, but this is the same guy who doesn’t even have a passcode on his smart phone (hand on head right now). This F’up alone should disqualify him to be AG or even having a law license.

Sadly, no matter how this turns out, a majority of South Dakota voters will continue to elect these same Republican clowns.

South Dakota State Legislature Update

Hello, Advocates, Cathy Brechtelsbauer for the Advocacy Project

   I hope you are all being careful to be/stay well.

   Legislators have begun a 3-day weekend. They’ll be back on Monday.

Weekend advocacy. You can help make contacts on these, or ask about them in emails or at a crackerbarrel. Try to use your own words, or better yet, make up a different question.:

SB 77, SB 86, HJR 5003,  all interfere with citizens’ rights to initiatives.

Question: Isn’t it difficult enough for citizen to exercise our right to initiative and referendum already? Why are legislators trying to add more complications and difficulties?

HB 1126  Says the secretary of state may not mail an application for an absentee ballot unless the voter has requested it. (probably Senate State Affairs)

Question: Shouldn’t the legislature be promoting voting, rather than putting limits on the Secretary of State to use his judgment in assisting voters?

SB24  provides for voter registration online. The current version allows updates, etc, but not actual registration. (probably House State Affairs)

Question: How about putting online voter registration back into the bill that was introduced to allow online voter registration?

HB 1125 takes away discretion of county auditors in conducting vote counting. If so many ballots mean a 2-day count is needed, county auditors should have discretion to call rests if needed. (Senate Local Government)

Question: If your mother were helping out as a ballot counter, should she have to stay up all night?

SB 146 allows eligibility for parole after age 50 for lifers whose crime was committed age 25 or before. (House Judiciary)

Question: Wouldn’t it make sense to allow lifers to at least request parole after age 50, if their crimes were committee over 25 years before?

HB1013  funds the tax refund program for elderly persons and persons with a disability. (in Senate Taxation committee)

Question: Will you support this small tax relief program for these certain extremely poor South Dakotans?

SB 171 needs-based scholarship funds.  (Appropriations)

Question: Do you support putting some more funds into needs-based scholarships?

HB 1194  authorize the review of certain executive orders issued by the President of the United States. (in House State Affairs)

Question: Should states get to ignore Presidential executive orders?

(FYI- These topics are mentioned in the bill: pandemic or other public health emergency, natural resources, agriculture, land use, the financial sector, guns)

Updates:

HB 1136, a proposal to rein counties and municipalities in so they don’t do more to protect public health than the state Department of Health. Happy to report, it failed in committee today   5-7-1, so it’s done.

We can thank these seven No votes:  Deutsch, Miskimins, Perry, St. John, Davis, Rehfeldt,and Keintz

SB 52, Sorry to say, it passed the House floor now, and it’s off to the governor.  Now polluters will get 10-year permits. No reviews at 5-year intervals.   

We can thank these for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Duba, Fitzgerald, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Mills, Odenbach, Ernie Otten, Pourier, Jamie Smith, St. John,  Stevens

HJR 5003, to ask voters to approve a supermajority requirement for our own initiatives that involve over $10 million. It’s another way they are trying to the thumb on our ability to do initiatives.

Sorry to say, it passed on the House floor. But we can thank these rep’s for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Derby, Duba, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Olson, Pourier, Reed, Jamie Smith,  Tidemann

Note: This one is not done!  Not scheduled yet, but we can be asking Senate State Affairs committee to Oppose.

2-19-21  AP,  Useful info

Advocates,

Here’s info you can use:

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have.

2. Reasoning on HJR 5003. Why ballot votes are different from legislators’ votes

3. Info on Medicaid expansion. A handy reference

4. ACA Insurance sign-up. How you can help. 

Here we go.

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have is this, but surely there are more elsewhere.

   SIOUX FALLS

#2: Sat. Feb.20,10:00-11:45am (Districts 10, 12 and 14)

#3: Sat.Feb.27,10:00-11:45am (Districts 11, 15 and 25)

Where: the Hub at Southeast Technical College (2001 N Career Ave). You can watch on Facebook Live through Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page or the Argus Leader’s Facebook page, or through www.argusleader.com . Submit questions to siouxfallslwv@gmail.com  

   DEADWOOD & all LAWRENCE CO : Sat.Feb.20, 10am. Deadwood Mountain Grand, a large space to accommodate social distancing.  For more information, Melissa at the Spearfish Chamber 605-642-2626 or Ingrid at the Deadwood Chamber 605-578-1876.

2.  HJR 5003 attempts to require a supermajority (60%) for ballot initiatives. (Last weekend, I made a mess of trying to explain this. Maybe this helps.)

a. HJR 5003 is a thinly disguised plan to stop many citizen ballot initiatives.

b. Sponsor Rep.Hansen says it fits with SD’s fiscal conservatism. We agree SD is fiscally conservative, and we’re fiscally conservative enough already. In fact, it would be hard to balance the budget these days without certain past statewide ballot votes, such as the state lottery and video lottery, both of which passed with less than 60%.

c. Supporters point to legislators’ 2/3 requirement on certain fiscal matters and say the ballot votes should require a supermajority too. So why not?  [My thanks to Cory Heidelberger for help explaining this.]

   There’s a big difference. In the legislature, deliberation on bills is limited. With only 40 days (or 37 this year), bills can be rushed, even hoghoused near the end. Public scrutiny can be avoided is multiple ways. The 2/3 threshold may prevent ill-advised bills from rushing through.

    But citizen ballot measures have a long process. It starts long before the vote, even 2 years. People are out with petitions for over a year before the vote. Opponents have over a year to campaign against the initiative. Already there are a number of hurdles to overcome – large numbers of signatures, legal scrutiny before and after the election, besides winning a statewide vote. These hurdles are much harder to overcome than a 2/3 vote in the legislature.

    The citizen initiative system has enough guardrails already. We do not need more.

3.  Medicaid expansion. Of course, we should keep asking for it. This legislature could adopt it and it would start this year — much simpler and quicker than a ballot initiative.

Questions for crackerbarrels: When can we get Medicaid expansion? How hard is it to see that SD needs Medicaid expansion now? If we can’t get Medicaid expansion during a pandemic, when can we get it?

Info about Medicaid expansion is one of the sections on BFW-SD’s website: www.BreadSD.org

4. ACA Insurance Sign-Up

The Biden administration has opened up an extra sign-up period, because so many people may have missed the opportunity to get this highly subsidized health coverage. If you can help spread the word, some currently uninsured people might get covered now – this year. (The info is the same for people in most other states.) The income needed to qualify is what’s expected for 2021, so it obviously may take guesswork. My understanding is that reasonable estimates are accepted.

   There’s a section on this at www.BreadSD.org with info and a half-page handout to share. Might your local food pantry share the handout? Can you post it on a public bulletin board? Can you get it to agencies in your town? Thanks for your help.

Thanks for keeping up. The legislature will move very fast now.

Mask Mandates are NOT a 1st Amendment issue, they are a 4th Amendment issue

I often scratch my head by how little our state legislature and governor know about the US Constitution;

Governments in South Dakota, across the country and the world used mask mandates and business restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some lawmakers, though, say those mitigation efforts don’t jive with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And now a bill making its way through the legislature would narrow the scope of when cities, counties and townships can make people wear masks or force businesses to close in the name of public health.

It is NOT a 1st Amendment issue, it has to do with trespassing and property rights which is covered under the 4th Amendment;

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The 5th and 14th could also apply. But I have often said that mask mandates in general are moot because the US Constitution already protects business owners from trespassers. If you have a sign on the front door of your business that says you must wear a mask and you refuse, that business can call the police and you can be prosecuted for trespassing. Those laws already exist.

I would argue that any municipal government can implement a mask mandate as long as that mandate is about private business and private property and within their 4th Amendment rights (in other words private businesses and even churches could ignore the mandate).

The 1st Amendment argument holds no water because as we saw with Trump’s Twitter ban, private business CAN limit your speech on their premises, platforms or property.

Where I would side on the 1st Amendment argument is that it would be unconstitutional for government to mandate mask wearing on their (your taxpayer funded) property.

Once again the statehouse is filling their short session with foolishness.