Senator Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City) was having a bad enough day Friday. The conservative lawmaker saw the Legislature rubber-stamping the Executive Branch’s proposals. He watched his Republican leadership collaborate with three willing Democrats to expand government with a state debt collection agency.
And then some darned liberal blogger comes up to talk to him. Hence, his heavy heart in discussing the results of the 2015 Legislative Session:
Senator Jensen’s heartburn over education comes in part from the defeat of two measures he sponsored: House Bill 1093, which would have protected parents’ right to opt their children out of mandatory testing, and House Bill 1223, which would have erased Common Core standards from South Dakota schools. We can debate whether either of those measures addressed “federalization,” but Senator Jensen could at least take heart with House Bill 1101, which explicitly denies the state Board of Education any authority “to require the use of specifically designated curriculum or methods of instruction.”
Senator Jensen may be disappointed that the Legislature isn’t giving teachers or kids much honey, but at least South Dakotans can enjoy more milk:
After our conversation, Senator Jensen’s day only got worse. Over his opposition, the Senate passed increased taxes in the road bill and increased spending in the general appropriations bill. We progressives get little satisfaction from the South Dakota Legislature, but neither do members of the extreme right wing like Senator Jensen.