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South Dakota State Legislature Coffee, Feb 8, 2020

South Dakota State Legislator from Sioux Falls proposes a bill for mental health evaluations for his colleagues

I spoke with the legislator last night about his proposal, and at this point he wants to remain anonymous, but promises me that he will have several sponsors for the bill.

The bill, if passed would implement a law that requires all current and new legislators to undergo a mental health evaluation and IQ test. They will also have to take a UA (drug test) and undergo an addiction screening.

I asked Legislator ‘X’ why he is proposing this.

“Well, do you need to ask? Every year we are faced with more ridiculous bills, in this year alone there has been bills introduced that would limit surrogacy, limit transgender treatment, allows people to avoid vaccinations for their children, and take taxes off of guns and ammo (instead of food).”

I reminded him of what Hunter S. Thompson once said about that, why would people want to hoard food for an apocalypse? You want to hoard guns, because the people with the guns will have the food.

After a brief chuckle from Rep. ‘X’ he continues, “Many times these laws are unconstitutional and that costs taxpayers money to fight them in court, which brings us to HB 1004 which would allow the legislative body to ’employ legal counsel other than the attorney general…to represent the Legislature in any court of this state or the United States.’ In other words more kooky right wing groups interfering in our court system.”

So what do these bills this have to do with the mental health evaluation?

“Because the legislators that are proposing this crap are batsh*t crazy!”, exclaimed Rep. ‘X’ “They are either crazy, stupid or on drugs, and this bill addressed them all.”

Well you cannot argue with that.

So what are the repercussions if they fail one or more of the tests?

“If they are newly elected, they will be ineligible to serve to begin with, if they are already serving, they will be removed. In both situations they will also have to pay for the testing.”

I asked him how many legislators he suspects that will leave us with and Rep. ‘X’ said this, “A handful, and they will probably all be Democrats.”

So what would happen after this mass exodus of crazy folks? He said the first thing that would happen is we would have to increase the funding to the state hospital ‘significantly’ and secondly we would have to have a second emergency election to fill those seats. Rep ‘X’ is not certain how that would work, but he said in order to make the legislature viable we would probably have to leave ‘Republicans off the ballot’ in the emergency election.

Some have argued with Rep ‘X’ that this proposal is crazy and goes against personal choice of the electorate. “Yes, it does go against ‘personal choice’ and this may be why they just might support it”, says Rep ‘X’. “Because if the state legislature in South Dakota is good one thing, it’s taking away your personal choices.”

A majority of both houses just may be ‘crazy’ enough to support it.

*This piece is satire and only meant to inflame the nutty right wingers in Pierre.

State Legislature looks to strengthen stalking laws in reference to politicians

Could have seen this coming a mile away;

Stalking penalties could be getting stiffer for newcomers to South Dakota who have similar convictions in other states.

This winter, state lawmakers will consider whether or not South Dakota courts should be able to enhance the severity of stalking charges if the person accused has previously been convicted of stalking in a different state. 

In other areas of South Dakota criminal law, like driving while intoxicated or assault charges, state law provides language that allows out-of-state convictions to be used to justify enhanced charges.

“Like in these other areas of the law, if people are breaking that same law multiple times, then it shows that you’ve got a career criminal on our hands and society needs to be protected from those individuals,” Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) told the Argus Leader. “This bill provides harsher punishment so hopefully it’ll keep that person from doing that again.”

More: Felony stalking charge reduced against Sioux Falls man accused of harassing mayor

Hansen said the measure stems from a recent case involving Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken and his convicted stalker, Christopher Bruce, who was found guilty on misdemeanor stalking charges after a three-day trial in 2019.

While I disagreed with The Living Man’s use of hyperbole in his written threats against the mayor, the council and his family, I still think it was just a bunch of bark with little bite, and protected by his free speech rights. I don’t think that elected officials, especially elected officials, should get special laws written for them so they can restrict free speech if they ‘think’ they are being threatened. Notice that The Living Man was not arrested until after he took on 5G in a Federal suit. I felt the arrest had to do more with repercussions for that suit. The Living Man was not able to prove that in court. But he did have this great quote;

Bruce told the Argus Leader Monday that he isn’t surprised to see his case earning attention from the State Legislature because “every time someone beats the state,” the state changes the rules. 

“This is how they get these kind of laws into place,” he said. “It’s not about our safety anymore, it’s all about protecting government officials and public servants.”

In 2014 when rabble rousers in Illinois felt their free speech rights were being violated, they got the Sheriff to arrest the politicians;

In what was one of their most epic displays of political crime-fighting, which was captured on video, Allen and Kraft held the entire Clark County Park District Board under citizen’s arrest on May 13, 2014, for violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act, a Class C misdemeanor.

When asked if there would be public comment, one of the board members said, “I vote no.” Followed by five other board members.

Deputies were dispatched to the scene, but instead, Clark County Sheriff, Jerry Parsley, personally responded that night. Parsley said he knew it was a heated situation and felt it would be best if he handled it. He said that Kraft handled the citizen’s arrest responsibly, and the board was definitely in violation of the Open Meetings Act by not allowing the public to speak.

“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”

The sheriff arrested six of the board members. The seventh board member was not arrested because he voted against the other members. As they were escorted out of the building, the crowd cheered.

This is what should happen when politicians limit our free speech rights. They seem to assert their power of arrest when they feel they are being threatened, shouldn’t we as citizens have that same right when our rights are being violated?

GOP controlled South Dakota Legislature continues to pass unconstitutional laws

Isn’t it sad? Riot boosting, petitioning, etc. Why does our state legislature continue to pass laws that are violations of our 1st Amendment rights? I will tell you why, because we are allowing a super majority to legislate us.

I have often been baffled by how South Dakotans vote for initiatives that overturn the foolishness and inaction in Pierre yet continue to send these same fools to Pierre.

Want to have fewer initiatives on the ballot? Start electing legislators that pass laws that benefit you and that can hold up to a constitutional smell test.

I told Cory when he first announced he was suing the state over this issue he would win, I considered it a ‘slam dunk’ and if you read the opinion of the judge, it is very apparent. Cory pointed out to me that this paragraph says it all in the ruling;

And that’s all our legislature really does, put’s regulations on our rights to petition the government. And instead of apologizing and vowing to stop passing these restrictions they argue they are right;

Rep. Jon Hansen, a Republican from Dell Rapids, sponsored the bill to regulate petitioners last year. He disagreed with the ruling and said the law was intended to prevent out-of-state petitioners from influencing South Dakota laws.

If Hansen and his fellow lawmakers were so concerned about out of state influence, maybe they should stop taking marching orders from ALEC and the NRA. The party and it’s members also receive millions in donations from out of state entities. I would go so far to say that Noem could not have been elected if it weren’t for out of state contributions. It’s the norm with the SD GOP, it’s okay for them to not follow the rules, but the rest of us minions have to. This time they got their butts handed to them, and rightfully so.

Weekly Tidbits

CORY & SD VOICE WILL WIN THEIR CASE

Let’s just chalk it up to another failure in state government;

To refresh your memories, I am challenging two main points of state petition law: first, 2019 House Bill 1094, Rep. Jon Hansen’s (R-25/Dell Rapids) circulator badge and registry scheme now mostly encapsulated in SDCL 2-1-1.3–2.1.1.9, and the state’s requirement that initiative petitions be submitted a full year before the election at which you would get to vote on them.

There are so many constitutional issues with the legislation, I don’t even know where to start. If I had to make a bet on this, I would put $1K down in the first Aberdeen telephone booth video lottery casino I could find that they will win, and win huge.

I sometimes wonder if SD State Legislators take there pocket US Constitutions (if they have ever had one) and burn it before the first day of session.

MINNEHAHA COUNTY COMMISSION SAYS ONE EMT IS A-OK

I still have not figured out why they decided to go for this in the biggest county in the state;

AMBULANCE ORDINANCE HEARING
Mr. Gearman gave a briefing on the proposed amendments as follows: Article 2, Section 6 updating language to align with South Dakota law and administrative rule; Article 6 to remove the requirement of consent and a written agreement between two licensees for special events; and Article 14 updating language to align with South Dakota law and administrative rule regarding minimum personnel requirements Other minor changes were made for the purposes of consistency and formatting. Speaking in favor of the amendments, Dr. Jeff Luther, Rural Ambulance Quality Assurance Director, explained that he believes reducing the requirement from two emergency medical technicians (EMT) to one EMT would not cause a decrease in quality. Tim Haight, 3403 W 93rd Street, Sioux Falls, inquired about the proposed amendment to Article 6. Maggie Gillespie, Senior Deputy State’s Attorney, responded to Mr. Haight’s question explaining that he would need to contact his own legal counsel if he had legal questions, and that the change to Article 6 only removes the requirement to obtain consent from the existing service area ambulance service for a special event. Jay Masur, 25968 476th Ave, Sioux Falls, Med-Star Paramedic Ambulance President & CEO, spoke in opposition to lowering the number of EMTs. Dr. Luther responded to the concerns brought forward by Mr. Masur explaining that smaller ambulance services struggle to find enough people to serve. Therefore, the requirement of two EMTs made it hard to operate. Additionally, many Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Deputies are trained EMTs with impressive response times. Mr. Gearman explained that the ordinance is a minimum standard. Ambulance services may choose to set their standards at any level they want as long as the minimum is met. MOTION by Karsky, seconded by Barth, to approve Ordinance MC31-6-19, the 2019 Ground Ambulance Licensing Ordinance. By roll call vote: 5 ayes. The entire Ordinance is on file and available for inspection at the County Auditor’s Office.

I think it is a cost saving measure for the for profit ambulance services. It will be interesting to see how staffing changes.

SOUTH DAKOTA DEMOCRATIC PARTY FINALLY GETS THEIR SH*T TOGETHER

So this was pretty cool;

The state party’s Central Committee elected Randy Seiler to serve as the chair on Saturday, according to a party announcement. Seiler, the party’s vice chair, has been serving as the interim chair since Paula Hawks resigned as chair in September. SDDP Executive Director Stacey Burnette jointly resigned with Hawks.

Isn’t it crazy that stuff is not so bad with the Dem party in SD?  I kind of wonder what kind of BS has been concocted over the past couple of years. I hope in the name of transparency the party tells us what has been going on and how they are going to fix it. This could be a great moment for them rooting out the corruption. As an Indy, I have never liked the party system. It just seems like a system that needs to go away and make government on all levels non-partisan. I had a friend tell me once that he doesn’t belong to ‘clubs’ because they seem to ‘clubby’ with lots of rules and other stupid crap. It always made me laugh, because I agree.

CITY SHUTS OFF EMERGENCY SIRENS FOR THE WINTER

I just think this is weird. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure they work all year long? There are other ‘disasters’ you might want to warn citizens about in the winter besides tornados. I almost wonder if this has to do with the embarrassment of the tornado warning system failing this summer and they are trying to minimize the failure. Hey, McFly, that is over and done with, time to move on and make sure they work moving forward. Don’t people learn from their mistakes anymore?

WHO IS BEHIND THE STACE NELSON CASE

The rumor mill has been on full cycle that the SD GOP is behind going after Nelson about blocking people of FB. They have been wanting to get Stace for his big mouth for years, and I think they want to bury him with this Federal case. I think it is funny how the SD GOP is concerned about the 1st Amendment when they want to hurt someone, but the rest of the time they are the most secretive party of all time. And corrupt. If you want to apply these rules to Nelson, which I think that is a good thing, you also have to follow them to. So if you want to make sure politicians are not blocking people on FB, maybe in the next session you should pass sweeping open meeting transparency laws . . . wait, maybe that is why Stace in trouble, he told us about the warts of the GOP.

Half-Penny Sales tax increase was a bad idea from the get go

Noem keeps up with the tradition of past Republican Governors in our state, telling us how poor we are right before the legislative session, then once it is over they start spending money on pet projects (mostly corporate handouts). Oldest trick in the book. This even comes after added revenue from online sales and the half penny increase;

Noem announced her budget plans Tuesday, which urged state departments to tighten their belts as they head into a difficult financial year. That plan included not having any discretionary inflation increases for overall K-12 education, Medicaid providers and state employees.

But that means there will be no change between target teacher salaries from 2020 to 2021, making it the third year the state has fallen behind on its promise to keep teacher pay competitive if the budget passes

I said it was a bad idea to raise taxes because I knew this would happen, the money went straight into the general fund for the Governor and legislature to waste. Even after several years, it still makes me livid that the legislature didn’t find the money elsewhere (that they have in investment funds) to pay teachers more. Now we are back to square one, and an unneeded tax increase to boot. Don’t get me started. Our State government has been inept for decades, and gets worse by the day.

Someone needs to tell some state legislators that they take an oath to the US and State Constitution, not the Bible

This quote says everything you need to know why laws coming out of Pierre are so ‘whacked’;

“Is it perfect? There’s only one thing I know that’s perfect, and that’s called the Bible,” he said.

It was in reference to the proposed hemp legislation. I have told legislators in the past if you want to live in a theocracy, move to the middle east, and let us govern this state and country with laws that MAN created.

Kloucek endorses Mentele for Nelson’s open seat

November 24th 2019

Governor Kristi Noem

500 East Capitol Pierre SD 57501

Dear Governor Noem

I ask your consideration and appointment of Melissa Mentele to the open District 19 Senate seat.          

Melissa Mentele has all the qualities needed to be an outstanding senator for District 19. She is honest, well known and respected, has no prior involvement in either the Gear Up or EB 5 Fiascos, has no conflict of interest issues concerning legislative audits, is a strong supporter of family farm agriculture and small business, and is in tune with issues affecting  pocket books of every South Dakota. Governor Noem once again I ask you to appoint Melissa Mentele to the District 19 Senate seat recently vacated by Stace Nelson. Her integrity and bi partisanship will serve our area and South Dakota well as a State Senator.

Sincerely;

Frank J Kloucek

Liquor Licensing needs a full overhaul in our state

While I understand the concern and the intentions of Sioux Falls City Councilors Erickson and Selberg, I think instead the legislature needs to overhaul the entire system;

“It’s just created this crazy investment for some that have seen incredible return on it, and it’s not supposed to be that way,” Erickson said.

I agree that to often developers and business owners have been using the current licensing system as an investment with big returns instead of actually using it for it’s intended purchase. I agree with this line in the proposal;

“Use it or lose it!” Once offered the license, the individual or corporation must purchase the license. If unable to purchase, they will no longer be able to remain on the list.

And while that will be a good fix in the short term, in the long term I have suggested a better solution, giving out yearly licenses like we do for beer and wine, something other states have done for years. In Nebraska they do yearly licenses. For example, you can either buy a beer and wine license for the year or a full alcohol license for the year. That price tag would also depend on the population of the city. For example in Sioux Falls it could be $10,000 a year but in Dell Rapids it could be $1,000 per year or less.

Some ask ‘what about those with licenses already?’ You would give them a ‘credit’ on the license that they could use against the yearly fee, that price would be based on the current value of a new license. So let’s say it is worth $200K, that means you could avoid the licensing fee of $10K for 20 years. But you could not transfer that credit to another bar or another owner. Once you sell or close, the grandfathered credit would end. I would also suggest a limit like our current system, but it would be way more competitive because new licenses could become available yearly because of businesses closing or not renewing their licenses. This also helps the business owner who may go out of business, decide to close on their own or just say after a year, they really don’t see the value in having the license. This way they are not ‘stuck’ with something they need to sell on the open market. It also makes the bar and restaurant business more competitive so that people that don’t have the means to compete now with the current system can with the new system. It evens the playing field. And with more competition, it gives consumers a better value. I also see it as a better revenue stream for the city on two fronts. You are collecting yearly licensing fees and probably collecting more taxes from alcohol sales, which in turn could be shared more fairly with the counties. This is a far better approach then just changing a few rules in our city.

While most South Dakotans barely scrape by, $355 Billion sits here in tax free trust havens

How much is $355 Billion? It is 710 times the City of Sioux Falls yearly budget. Yeah, it’s a lot of dough, and most South Dakotans don’t have a clue our legislators are allowing this while our benefit to the state coffers is virtually ZERO;

In recent years, countries outside the US have been cracking down on offshore wealth. But according to an official in a traditional tax haven, who has watched as wealth has fled that country’s coffers for the US, the protections offered by states such as South Dakota are undermining global attempts to control tax dodging, kleptocracy and money-laundering. “One of the core issues in fighting a guerrilla war is that if the guerrillas have a safe harbour, you can’t win,” the official told me. “Well, the US is giving financial criminals a safe harbour, and a really effective safe harbour – far more effective than anything they ever had in Jersey or the Bahamas or wherever.”

That means legislators are nodding through bills that they do not understand, at the behest of an industry that is sucking in ever-greater volumes of money from all over the world. If this was happening on a Caribbean island, or a European micro-principality, it would not be surprising, but this is the US. Aren’t ordinary South Dakotans concerned about what their state is enabling?

“The voters don’t have a clue what this means. They’ve never seen a feudal society, they don’t have a clue what they’re enabling,” Wismer said. “I don’t think there are 100 people in this state who understand the ramifications of what we’ve done.”

That’s what we get with ONE party rule in South Dakota (and it doesn’t even matter which party). If we could even implement a teeny-tiny tax on this wealth, it would help us out tremendously in education, road funding and healthcare as well as many other things. We could eliminate video lottery, the food tax, reduce property taxes and help address our drug crisis in the state. But we continue to elect the greedy and the stupid (who are one in the same).