Only two bills have been withdrawn. None have been voted down. Most have sailed easily through their votes. The only exceptions have been Capitol-shooter HB 1156, which passed the House 46–20, on the edge of veto-overridability, and permit-repealer HB 1072, which struggled out of House State Affairs last week 7–6 and has been deferred twice in the House to end up on the calendar today, Crossover Day, the last day on which each chamber can pass bills to send to the other chamber.
Gun groups have gotten five of the six bills they want from the House. That’s a better success rate than I’ve ever enjoyed on any particular agenda. Yet National Association for Gun Rights lobbyist Jordan Mason says that the delay of HB 1072 is Speaker G. Mark Mickelson’s effort to “kill our Second Amendment rights!” Mason also says Speaker Mickelson is treating him poorly:
Apparently – some think I’m being overly “aggressive” on Constitutional Carry with Speaker Mickelson.
I have been polite and courteous to all of our Representatives, including the Speaker. In fact, in early February when I first approached Speaker Mickelson on this bill to schedule an appointment to speak to him – it was Speaker Mickelson, that after asking if I was the “gun guy,” began ranting about how he would do “everything he could to kill our bill,” and then kicked me out of his office before even giving me the courtesy of allowing me to personally introduce myself. To be fair, I did ask him if I could at least introduce myself after he asked me to leave – which he allowed me, and then showed me the door. Even further, after Speaker Mickelson was absent in House State Affairs all morning on Feb. 15, walked in on our bill – without hearing testimony – only to vote “No.” And then, today, in his introduction of HB 1200 – a bill designed to intimidate members of organizations by compelling the disclosure of their affiliation – Speaker Mickelson named the organization I represent by name, clearly directing his intimidation efforts at our organization and attempting to shift the discussion to an ad hominem attack on our organization – not the issue or policy he presented.
In all of this – I have only asked vehemently that we only focus on the issue and to encourage Speaker Mickelson, our organization has simply reached out to his constituents about his actions and statements. If Speaker Mickelson doesn’t like hearing from his constituents, I believe there are other lines of work available for him to pursue where that isn’t a requirement.
I make no apology for continuing my oath to defend our Constitution and the rights within. I have done so honorably and I have no reason to apologize, nor do the people I represent [Jordan Mason, Facebook post, 2017.02.23].
The sad trend I see here is the gun absolutists unwillingness to compromise. Every little bill is a Constitutional crisis, a refighting of the Revolutionary War. Every tiny procedural delay is a sign of treason, a cause for mass electoral mobilization.
Get a grip, gun nuts. You’re already taking up more Legislative oxygen than your issue practically deserves. The concealed pistol permit is a reasonable requirement that helps us weed out bad actors. And the permit does not take away any of your Second Amendment rights: you can all strap a holster on your hip and proudly display your pistols around town all you want.
HB 1072’s delay is not the end of the world (though its provision allowing kids to carry concealed pistols with their parents could be the end of a few lives). HB 1072 is just another opportunity for impractical absolutists to grandstand about shiny toys that they will never use to resolve a policy debate, put food on the table, or raise anyone’s wages.
Forget Governor; Stephanie Herseth Sandlin wants to be President… and she will be… at Augustana!
Augustana University will introduce former congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as its 24th president at a news conference at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Edith Mortenson Center Theatre.
The appointment, made by the Augustana Board of Trustees following an extensive national search, marks the first time in Augustana’s 157-year history that a woman will serve as president.
Herseth Sandlin is currently serving as general counsel and vice president of corporate development for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls. She served as South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative from 2004-11. When elected in 2004, she was the first woman from South Dakota to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the youngest woman serving in the House during that time.
Herseth Sandlin will assume office this summer and will succeed President Rob Oliver, who announced his plans to retire last fall after more than 25 years of service to Augustana [Augustana University, press release, 2017.02.22].
Stephanie, that’s great! Congratulations! Running Augie is a great job in a great town, with great opportunities to make a meaningful difference in the lives of lots of bright young people. I’m thrilled for you and your family.
* * *
Now, that said, Democrats, what are we going to do about candidates to run for Governor and U.S. House?
I could be completely wrong. There could be plots grander than my fervent imagination and limited intel can conjure up. But as I read it, President of Augustana University is no larkish interim job. Stephanie is taking this job, she intends to do it and relish it, and Augie expects her to stick around and do it well.
Taking the Augustana presidency sends a 95%-certain signal that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is not running for Governor in 2018.
Make Aberdeen happy, spend no state money—who votes against that? Well, legislators who sponsor and vote for anti-science legislation like SB 55 (Frye-Mueller, Howard, Brunner), a small coterie of other cranky conservatives (Haugaard, Marty, Livermont, May, Pischke)…
I grew up in Madison. I lived and taught in Spearfish. I now call Aberdeen home. I’ve thus lived in all three of South Dakota’s small liberal-arts college towns. (DSU was DSC when I was growing up, and it was liberal arts; I felt the agony of the liberal arts profs when Janklow computerized everything.) Despite my attachments to all three college towns, I could vote against increased state funding for various programs at any of those campuses if the budget were tight. I could listen to an argument for folding one of those three small colleges into another institution (although geography turns that target toward Madison first). I could tell any campus president No, even
But if any campus president walks up to me and tells his or her school has all the private money they need to build a new facility that will improve education, research, and recruitment, and all they need is my say-so to go, I don’t say no. I vote yes and milk that freebie for all the good press and donations I can get from that college town.
Senate Education amended Senate Bill 134 yesterday. What was originally a blanket ban on any political speech in public schools is now a slightly more targeted but still problematic ban on political advocacy.
Proponent testimony in committee yesterday revealed that SB 134 really is just backlash against those darn teachers and the sales increase we passed last year to raise their pay. A clutch of Black Hills conservatives clucked about teachers and administrators sending e-mails and messages from their students urging legislators to vote for last year’s sales tax hike.
Prime sponsor Senator Lance Russell (R-30/Hot Springs) brought an amendment to committee that got rid this overly broad sentence:
No public school resources, including personnel time, supplies, communication systems, or facilities may be used to affect the outcome of any political vote [SB 134 original].
…and replaced it with this only slightly less overbroad sentence:
No public school resources, including personnel time, supplies, or written electronic communication systems may be used to advocate for an outcome of any partisan election or any vote of the Legislature [SB 134 amended].
Now I’m not sure about the full legal import of the word including, but grammatically, I contend that “No public school resources” is still the governing phrase. “Including” gives examples, but it does not exclude other public school resources. Russell’s amendment may not mention “facilities,” but facilities are still public school resources and are still banned from use for advocacy by the amended SB 134.
“Advocate” appears to alleviate the concern that SB 134 would ban civics class and debate tournaments, which educate students and affect the outcome of all of their future votes by making them smarter, more articulate citizens. However, SB 134 still prevents any public school from hosting a crackerbarrel or candidate forum at which participants might advocate for votes one way or another.
SB 134 still bans students from presenting papers or speeches in school advocating for political candidates or Legislative issues. It might even ban students from wearing their favorite candidate’s t-shirt to school, since students would still be taking advantage of the school’s space and time to advocate for their choice for Senate or Governor.
The new language also creates an odd gap that exposes the partial redundancy of SB 134. As amended, SB 134 seems to say it’s o.k. for teachers, administrators, and students to campaign on school time for school board, city commission, judge, and sanitary district candidates. Of course, such advocacy, along with partisan campaigning, is already sufficiently covered by SDCL 12-27-20, which bans the expenditure of public funds to influence elections.
But what about us non-Republicans? If the election were held today, with no Democrats announced and Mike Huether equivocating and yucky, should we pick a favorite between the two Republicans?
For the moment, I’d pick Jackley over Noem. Jackley has allowed corruption to run rampant in state government (he was there when the state was dealing with its first EB-5 lawsuit, before Benda and Bollen inked the crazy privatization deal), but he also has executive experience in the Capitol. Kristi Noem looks nice, but she doesn’t have to run anything as one meager voice among 435 in the U.S. House. I won’t like Jackley’s leadership, but at least he’d provide leadership.
But Dems, don’t stick me with that choice! Get Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, get Joe Lowe, get me a Democrat who can ride the anti-Trump wave and take the Second Floor in 2018!
Senate Bill 141, the unnecessarily beleaguered update of our child support laws, finally passed Senate Judiciary yesterday. Prime sponsor and Child Support Commission member Senator Arthur Rusch (R-17/Yankton) brought an amendment that decreased the increases in child support obligations for a fair swath of income brackets.
The big change comes in the new formula’s smoothing out of a couple of bubbles in three monthly income ranges: $3,351 to $3,800, $4,151 to $7,100, and $7,451 to $12,500. As you can see in the charts below, everybody in those ranges will still have higher child support obligations upon passage of SB 141 (the green amendment line is above the blue status quo line), but not as high as prior to the amendment (the green line is below the red original SB 141 line).
Basically, the Rusch amendment grinds down those increase bubbles to 4%.
Recall that since we last updated the child support formula in July 2009, the Consumer Price Index has risen 10.73%. Neither the original formula in SB 141 nor yesterday’s amendment imposed that big of an increase on any parent pairs making less than $22,151 per month ($265,812 per year). For parents of two children, the original formula imposed an average increase of 3.13% on parents making $20K or less per month and 22.90% on parents making more. Yesterday’s amendment still soaks that upper bracket, but the average increase on parents supporting two kids on $20K or less per month (the vast majority of parents) is now 2.17%.
Under the original SB 141 formula, 13.44% of parents netting $20K per month or less saw their child support obligations increase 7% or more. Now the only parents in that income range who see increases greater than 4% are parents supporting six kids on $15,401 to $15,450 a month… and their anomalous 10.9% increase arises from a typo in the current statutory formula (LRC typed “3,360” instead of “3,630”).
Senator Rusch included an automatic cost-of-living adjustment to the obligation formula in his amendment has compensation for the fact that the immediate increases created by SB 141 are lower than inflation over the eight years since our last adjustment. Senator Kris Langer (R-25/Dell Rapids) expressed concern that wages might not keep up with the cost of living and moved to strike that automatic annual increase. That amendment passed (4–2: Langer, Netherton, Kennedy, and Russell aye; Greenfield and Rusch nay).
Senate Judiciary then passed SB 141 as amended (5–1, only Netherton nay; Nelson excused). The child support update thus heads to the full Senate with two days to spare before the crossover deadline Thursday.
A federal civilian hiring freeze ordered by President Donald Trump has forced at least two Army bases to indefinitely suspend some child care programs.
Officials at Fort Knox, Kentucky, notified families Feb. 17 of the suspension to the on-base part-day child development center (CDC) programs, its hourly care program and the enrollment of new families into the CDC.
“Effective immediately, no new children will be enrolled in the CDC,” states the letter, signed by Fort Knox garrison commander Col. Stephen Aiton. “Also, effective 27 February 2017, the CDC will no longer accommodate childcare for our hourly care and part day families until further notice.”
The CDC’s part-day programs include its part-day preschools. Many military families, including some CDC workers, rely on hourly care for child care during part-time jobs or school hours, or when the full-time day care program is full. One Army spouse at Fort Knox reported that the wait list for her 1-year-old is estimated through July [Amy Bushatz, “Federal Hiring Freeze Suspends Some Army Child Care Programs,” Military.com, 2017.02.21].
Democrats, if Ravnsborg is the SDGOP’s only offering for Attorney General, your chances of winning the Attorney General’s seat in 2018 just increased 50%. Any smart, articulate young Dem with a law degree can easily outshine Ravnsborg on the campaign trail and in debates. Let’s start recruiting!
Less than two weeks after lawbreaking Saudi agent Lederman wrests the SDGOP chair from sitting chair and mainline SDGOP pick Pam Roberts, Ravnsborg announces his bid for a nomination that will be decided at the Lederman-controlled 2018 SDGOP convention.
All 300 lost farms and ranches were making $100,000 or more in agricultural sales, according to NASS. That leads [MTI farm/ranch management specialist Will] Walter to believe producers relying solely on the land for income are the most affected.
“More than likely, if their sales are under $100,000, they are providing their living from off-farm income as well,” Walter said.
Those under the $100,000 benchmark remained unchanged, but there was some mobility between more specific sales classes, like a 100-operations increase in the $1,000 to $9,999 sales class and a 100-operations decrease in the $10,000 to $99,999 class.
The largest producers remained the same. South Dakota still has 3,500 operations making $500,000 to $999,999 in sales and 2,400 selling $1 million or more [Jake Shama, “New Report Shows S.D. Lost 300 Farmers Last Year,” AgWeek, 2017.02.21].
The U.S. lost 8,000 farms last year. Nationwide, the average farm size grew by an acre to 442 acres. In South Dakota, average farm size grew 14 acres to 1,397.
According to the AgWeek article, one key to keeping farms alive is being open to new products. House Bill 1204 would allow South Dakota farmers to raise one such product, industrial hemp. The environmental and economic data on hemp are mixed, but House Agriculture and Natural Resources passed HB 1204 9–2, over the objection of our state Department of Agriculture, which is supposed to be working to expand production opportunities for South Dakota farmers.